HCO Panda GSMS 6 MP black flash digital camera review
As we have done with others we are going to refer readers to the
standard HCO Panda camera review
for all the particulars and this review will only deal with the
GSM function. Unless otherwise noted trigger results and flash
results are identical on this model to the standard camera.
This company has some very good experience in Cell based systems and
systems that are in the hands of the users are working well. We
expect this camera will also fall into that category.
The over all appearance and assembly of this camera displays a high
degree of attention to detail. The gasket seal is very tight and
there are three latches to ensure that there is pressure all the
way around the door. The small size and great dark color will
make it fit in the woods very well, except maybe on a very light
grey barked tree. The box included the strap and USB cable along
with a small antenna for the Cell function. The balance of this
review will be the screen shots and setup procedures needed to
get this little camera working on the air and start sending
pictures back to our computer.
Battery life will be done by
one of our friends once we finish with all the necessary review
work. I do not think anyone will be disappointed with this
The Setup exe:
12-17-2012 update: Using the user
guide supplied with the camera, I was easily able to follow the
documented instructions to get the GSM features configured.
After you get the camera loaded with batteries and an sd card,
you use the camera menu to "download" the set up program.
This download menu choice will place a copy of a Windows
application used to create a set up BIN file that the camera
uses to load its settings. Turn off the camera, pull the
sd card and place it in the sd card reader. The program is
zipped so the next step is to unzip it. I right clicked
and told Windows to extract here. There will then be a
copy of the setup program on your sd card. You can remove
the ZIP file to reclaim that space. You double click the
set up program and use the guide to change the settings.
Essentially you choose what country you live in and whether you
use AT&T or T-Mobile, along with phone numbers and email
addresses. You then click the OK button (actually
should be called "Save"). Click CANCEL to exit with out
save.. By default it saves the BIN file onto the SD card
which is what you want. If you save the file somewhere
other than the sd card, you are not accomplishing anything.
Upon inspection you will see a BIN file now on the sd card.
When you insert the sd card into the camera, power the camera on
into SETUP. Watch the screen and you will see a message
"Update Success". This lets you know that the GSM settings
loaded properly. Complete the rest of the menus on the
camera to complete the set up as is standard practice. It
is probably best to start with a delay time of around 1 minute.
This gives the camera time to send that picture before it will
capture another one. In some areas with poorer signal, 90
seconds may be better or in optimal cases 30 seconds might work
as well. The camera is now on the hill and we are getting
photos sent to our email address.
One question I have is how does a Mac OS user
configure the camera since the setup is Windows??.
12-19-2012 update: After running a
couple of days with this camera sending to a single email I
decided to add a second one and could not get it to send.
I emailed HCO support and received a quick answer and that was
to remove any embedded spaces. I had a space after the
semi-colon separator. so make a note when you type them in
NO SPACES allowed or you will not get any pics sent. You also
type a semi-colon to separate each email address. The
photos we are receiving via email are 640x480 in size.
01-20-2013 update: Note if using the
MMS function to send photos there appears to be a fixed size of
640x480, whereas if you use the GPRS data function then the set
up screen allows for a target file size and will use a larger
resolution if the file size will fit. This give the owner
control over resolution and bandwidth consumed.
01-22-2013 update: This is a battery
life update on this camera.
I got 819
images transmitted out of 1123 before the camera stopped sending
pics which is roughly 73%. The send percentage while the
batteries were above 50% was 98% but as the battery strength
dropped so did the sent pic percentage. I suspect this was due
to the low night temps which sapped some juice from the
alkalines which was the regained as the day temps rose. I did
not receive a low battery message. The final pic count was 1984
pics of which 819 were transmitted. 861 pictures were taken by
the camera after the batteries were too low to transmit. The
bulk of the testing was done during
temperatures between 11 and 67
degrees. The battery life test was approximately 5 weeks.