Use this forum for the discussion of all things related to the use of cellular trail cameras. The discussion of different models/manufacturers, service providers, problems, tips & hints for ease of use are all welcome here.
By bassadict69
#341353
I am looking into the cellular gamecams and need to go with a verizon cam for coverage issues and also looking to stay under $400.

I have read about some issues with the verizon cams, I think it was with the Covert cameras, but not sure since it has been awhile since I read about it.

Which of the two cams in the title will give me the best bang for the buck?

Anything else in my price range I may not have looked at?
#341355
I had a Verizon GoCam and it worked really well, I had no complaints. I switched to ATT just because of the price per month difference but the Verizon cams have gotten much much cheaper lately, especially if you have a Verizon cell phone plan, can't beat $5 a month. The next one I get will be a Verizon cam and then I'll probably try a Sprint so I can compare all three. I haven't tried a Covert so I can't comment on those. I will say the use of the portal and app on the Gocam is fantastic and you really don't know how nice it is until you try it.
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By LibbyLA
#341360
I will begin my response by saying that I am biased because I have been using Spartan cameras for about a year and a half now. I also do not have any experience with the Covert Blackhawk, only with the 2015 Covert 3G, which we kept less than 90 days because it performed poorly compared to the Spartans. (The guy who bought it is tickled with it, though, so I think we had a signal strength issue.)

List prices on the Spartan VZW cameras are $449.95 for the IR and $469.95 for the black flash. Even with a good sale, it's going to be hard to get those prices under $400. Am not familiar with Covert pricing, but the prices are likely to be close enough that price should have little or nothing to do with your decision.

Soon (should be within the next month or so), the Spartan VZW cameras can be added to an existing VZW phone plan for $5/month. I don't know what the Covert pricing is, but I'm pretty sure it's a good bit higher than that and will not likely be $5/month any time soon, if at all. Total for monthly service if you use the app (which I highly recommend) is $8-9/month, depending on how many months of premium service you buy at a time.

I started using a prototype Spartan VZW camera on 8/24/2014. I'm not sure when the production VZW cameras actually started shipping, but it was a year ago, give or take. IOW, the Spartan VZW cameras have been out in customers' hands for a good while, much longer than the Coverts. We are not running any VZW cameras now, but will be putting one out next weekend. We are running AT&T because of the lower monthly cost (the $5 plan wasn't available for VZW), plus we discovered that the AT&T Spartan cameras manage to make great lemonade out of crappy AT&T signal. One of them sometimes reports no signal strength at all but it still manages to pump out the photos. The AT&T Coverts we used had problems.

Looks like testing of the Spartan web portal and GoWireless app started in January of last year, so the app has been out and in use since spring of last year. It is mature and tested (although still undergoing development as features are added), not a prototype.

One of the hidden gems of the app is the ability to set up to 10 events. Well, you can actually set 9 because one is used to send you a daily status report (at a time you select, with info on battery status, signal strength, picture count, SD card, etc.), whether you want it or not. Several of our cameras are in low-traffic areas so I like being able to tell the cameras to send me pictures at 9 AM and 9 PM. That way, I get two pictures a day, regardless. I don't have to worry if the camera doesn't sent pictures for several days that it is down or missing.

Covert may have changed by now, or may change with the app, but the closest I could get with the Covert to "security blanket" pics was to set time lapse to 8 hours. I could tell it when to take the pictures and the 8 hours was 8 hours that started after the picture was sent so the times gradually changed a couple or three minutes each shot.

The 2-year warranty on the Spartans is also something to take into account.

I hope some of the Blackhawk owners will share their experience so you can hear from users of both brands of cameras and make your decision based on the factors that are important to you.
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By LibbyLA
#341364
I liked (NOT!) the comment in the review that HCO shouldn't charge for premium service. Yeah, they should just give it away, because programmers don't require payment and it doesn't cost anything to maintain servers... (I'm being sarcastic, in case anyone is having trouble figuring that out.)

I'm a programmer, although not that kind of programmer, and programming anything is seldom that proverbial 15-minute job, so I have a lot of respect for how much time and energy and effort it took to plan, design, and program the web portal and the app, and I know that development on those things continues.
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By Roscoe
#341370
This is the one I am leaning toward...

http://www.trailcampro.com/collections/hco-trail-cameras/products/hco-spartan-gocam-noglow

I'll add one comment on this review where it's starts with, "If you have good cell service."

At least with the ATT product (and I see no reason why it would be any different with Verizon), if you have cell service at all these cell cams will work very well. I have one camera in a spot that my phone struggles to get signal. The GoCam pretty consistently shows 2 bars and has no problems sending larger resolution 1280x960 pictures or the hi res images when requested from the camera. What I'm saying is these cameras have better reception than the most cell phones.
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By LibbyLA
#341374
I'll add one comment on this review where it's starts with, "If you have good cell service."

At least with the ATT product (and I see no reason why it would be any different with Verizon), if you have cell service at all these cell cams will work very well. I have one camera in a spot that my phone struggles to get signal. The GoCam pretty consistently shows 2 bars and has no problems sending larger resolution 1280x960 pictures or the hi res images when requested from the camera. What I'm saying is these cameras have better reception than the most cell phones.


Ditto to what Roscoe said.

The AT&T cameras for sure seem to be able to wring more signal out of poor signal areas than the other brand of camera we used. They can't work miracles but functioning where there isn't any cell service, but the one we have that sometimes shows no bars and sometimes has to be walked to another area of the property to get it online before I walk it back to its location and turn it on manages to crank out pictures quite reliably.
#341378
The guy that own the property I hunt as well as his grandson both have ATT and they both say they have trouble with cell service out there. I have verizon and have had no problems at all, which is the reason I am leaning towards Verizon.

Anyone with Blackhawk experience. I found what I read again where they were having problems with the Covert verizon cameras a few years ago. I want to make sure that has been fixed before pulling the trigger.
#341379
This is the most active thread I could find on the Blackhawk cams. All the others seem to not have been updated with any type of results. This is from November of last year.

viewtopic.php?f=61&t=43358
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By LibbyLA
#341381
I think you must mean a few months ago since the Covert Verizon camera hasn't been out for even a year, much less a few years. Sounds like you are now leaning toward the Covert now.
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By Roscoe
#341386
The guy that own the property I hunt as well as his grandson both have ATT and they both say they have trouble with cell service out there. I have verizon and have had no problems at all, which is the reason I am leaning towards Verizon.

Anyone with Blackhawk experience. I found what I read again where they were having problems with the Covert verizon cameras a few years ago. I want to make sure that has been fixed before pulling the trigger.

There really has never been a Covert Verizon camera for sale before. They have not been for sale to the public for much more than a couple months.

Spartan has had Verizon's longer, but I don't think there has been a huge following because they were so much more expensive to run. With the Verizon monthly cost coming down so much, I think we'll see a lot more feedback on them this year. I have no reason to think the Covert versions won't work great, but I know the Spartan versions do work great. :mrgreen:

Whichever you decide to go with, please keep us informed. I'd really be interested in feedback on their phone app as well. Thanks!
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By LibbyLA
#341790
At that price, you can buy a security box or camo it yourself by using a sponge to dab some paint on it :mrgreen:. (Since we use security boxes, which I hit with camo paint, I actually prefer the plain old brown ones, although the Lost Camo is nice. Kryptek is pretty but doesn't blend well with pine tree trunks and sticks out like a sore thumb in the security boxes.)

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