Spark ProCam Review: The Real Deal or Just Hype?
The Spark ProCam is a motion-activated security camera that doubles as a USB charger to provide discreet, HD recordings.
While the camera looks like a simple device, it has multiple functions and options for use that we’ll talk about later in this review. It has a camera on the front and a microphone on the back.
For now, we wanted to let you know that the Spark ProCam is the brainchild of Shop Modern, a company who sells a variety of electronic devices that range from a smart backpack to an electronic pain relief patch and a personal air conditioner.
In the next few minutes we have, we’re going to show you how the Spark ProCam works, talk about its pricing and then cover a few other important things like what the return policy is and how much similar cameras cost.
How the Spark ProCam Works
To get a sense of how this security camera works, we read through the device’s user manual.
When you first get the camera, you’ll unpack it and plug it into a wall socket. Then, you’ll connect the camera to your computer via a USB cable.
The ProCam should show up as “USB Drive” or “SD card”, the manual says. At this point, you’ll want to click on the device’s icon. Once you have it open on your computer, you can do two important things: set the resolution for recording and watch videos and download them to your computer.
To set the resolution, the manual says you’ll need to click on a document title “SETTIME” or ”TAG”. This document will have a time and date written in it along with a code that reads A1, A2, A3, B1, B2, or B3. Each one of these is a recording and resolution setting...here’s what they represent:
- A1: Continuous recording at 1920x1080p
- A2: Continuous recording at 1280x720p
- A3: Continuous recording at 640x360p
- B1: Motion-activated recording at 1920x1080p
- B2: Motion-activated recording at 1280x720p
- B3: Motion-activated recording at 640x360p
Choose which one you want then replace the existing setting with that one. For example, if the document’s text says A1 and you want B1, delete A1 and replace it with B1.
If you choose the motion-activated recording, the camera will start recording when it senses motion and will shut off automatically 3 minutes after the last motion is detected.
We contacted the company to find out how sensitive the motion detection is and they told us the camera records as soon as it senses movement and won’t stop recording for three minutes. Based on this, we believe the camera is highly sensitive and may not be able to distinguish between a one-time movement and a series of movements.
The second option you have is downloading recorded video. To do so, you’ll connect your camera to your computer, click on its icon and then click on “Record” or “Video”, the manual says. From here, you can click on a video and watch it or you can drag and drop it onto your desktop to save it.
Now, there’s one huge issue with this camera: storage. According to a company representative with whom we emailed, the camera comes with a built-in 8 GB Micro SD card that can hold up to 1 hour of 1920x1080p video.
We see this being a drawback to the camera, as it really limits your ability to do continuous recording. Even motion-activated recording is limiting in the sense that you’d only be able to record, say, 12 five-minute increments of video. If you’re using the camera to monitor a babysitter, that may not be enough storage space. However, if you’re using it to monitor your home while you’re away, it could work.
Just keep in mind that the device will start deleting the oldest videos to make space for the newest ones. Also, the instruction manual did not provide any directions regarding how to change out the built-in card, so we’re guessing it’s not something they intend for you to do.
If you want to increase your recording time, the representative said, you’ll have to go into the camera’s options and decrease the video quality.
Spark ProCam Pricing and Return Policy
At the time of publishing, the Spark ProCam varied in price depending on how many you bought:
- One camera: $57
- Two cameras: $104.50
- Three cameras: $142.50
- Four cameras: $171
- Five cameras: $204.25
You’ll get bigger discounts when you buy more cameras. For example, you’ll pay about $40.75 per device when you buy the five-camera pack.
According to the fine print, you can only return your Spark ProCam if it’s damaged or defective. You’ll have to do so within 30 days of your purchase. Email customer support at email@example.com to begin your return. Based on what we read, we don’t see any provisions that would allow you to return your camera simply because you don’t like it or have buyer’s regret.
Comparing the Spark ProCam to Similar Devices on Amazon
One of the places we like to go to compare products is Amazon, especially in the case of niche electronics like the Spark ProCam. We tend to find a lot of similar products on Amazon, which helps us (and you) figure out if the pricing and features of the product you’re deciding on are fair.
We searched the site for “usb plug in security camera” and found a camera that was quite similar to the ProCam called the “Hidden Spy Camera Night Vision” from Dream Co. It cost $36.86 with free shipping.
The camera looks exactly like the ProCam but has some distinct differences:
- Night vision
- Micro SD slot that can support up to 32 GB
- Doesn’t record audio
Some quick research revealed a 32 GB Micro SD costs $8 and below, so buying the Dream Co. camera along with the added memory would cost you around $44, which is still $13 cheaper than the Spark ProCom.
That being said, the Spark ProCam offers the huge advantage of recording audio, too, which is an important feature if you’re recording a babysitter. You want to know what the person is doing and saying, something the Dream Co. camera can’t do.
There are multiple other options on Amazon for similar cameras that range in price between $20 and $40. Some come with Micro SD cards, some don’t. Some record audio, some don’t. If you head to Amazon to research before making a purchase, make sure you have a checklist of features you want out of your camera.
Our Final Observations About the Spark ProCam
Based on our research of this product, we believe it has some clear strengths and weaknesses.
What we like about the camera is that it records video and audio, which is something that you aren’t going to find with all similar products on Amazon. As we mentioned earlier, we believe this is a key feature if you’re recording someone who is babysitting your children. In this situation, what’s done and what’s said are important.
If you’re just using it to surveil your home when you’re gone, then audio might not be as important as video if someone breaks into your home and steals things.
The downside of this camera is that its storage capacity is pretty weak and, based on what a company representative told us, there’s no way to upgrade the camera’s memory because the Micro SD card is built-in.
Based on our research, we believe that this camera is a good fit for those who need video and audio recordings who do motion-activated recordings as opposed to continuous recordings. The camera’s 1-hour memory capacity is best suited for a series of short clips as opposed to long recordings.