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iSmartAlarm Spot review: iSmartAlarm's next-gen security camera does more for less

iSmartAlarm's $99 Spot security camera offers a lot of the basics, plus sound-specific push notifications for smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.

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Megan Wollerton
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Megan Wollerton Senior Writer/Editor

Megan Wollerton covers renewable energy, climate change and other environmental topics for CNET. Before starting at CNET in 2013, she wrote for NBC Universal's DVICE (now SYFY). Megan has a master's degree from the University of Louisville and a bachelor's degree from Connecticut College, both in international relations. She is a board member of the Louisville chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. When Megan isn't writing, she's planning far-flung adventures.

Expertise Science, Home Credentials Society of Professional Journalists 2022 Louisville Metro Journalism Award for Feature Writing, Society of Professional Journalists 2022 Ohio Journalism Award for Science Writing
2 min read

iSmartAlarm's $99 Spot is a cute little indoor security camera with a magnetic base. It's power-adapter-dependent and offers 720p HD video resolution, free 30-clip rolling cloud storage and a built-in microSD card slot (it can accommodate up to a 64GB microSD card, but that isn't included), as well as night vision and motion and sound alerts. Spot is definitely worth considering, especially if you're looking for a lower-priced DIY camera that's big on features.

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7.4

iSmartAlarm Spot

The Good

Spot can integrate with iSmartAlarm's broader security system, it offers advanced features like smoke-alarm-specific audio alerts and time-lapses. And, it only costs $99.

The Bad

Spot's plasticky design feels a little flimsy and, unlike many cameras with local storage, it doesn't come with a microSD card. The app is a little confusing to navigate and it doesn't yet work with IFTTT or any third-party products.

The Bottom Line

The $99 iSmartAlarm Spot is a cute and functional HD security camera that you should definitely consider if you're in the market for a DIY option that won't break the bank.

iSmartAlarm's Spot can 'hear' your smoke detector (pictures)

See all photos

Spot is actually the third camera to come from the iSmartAlarm brand. Its first model, the original iCamera, is still sold as a $150 optional add-on to the sensors that accompany the standard security kit, but it was glitchy during our testing.

The second-gen $150 iCamera Keep was generally more reliable than its predecessor, making it a much better option if you want to add a camera to your iSmartAlarm system.

At the same time, the Keep camera didn't wow us due to its lack of local or cloud storage. That put it at a serious disadvantage as a standalone security camera when models like the $150 ArcSoft Simplicam, the $190 Samsung SmartCam HD Plus and the $200 Nest Cam all offer either local or cloud storage -- or both. And some brands, like Netgear's $220 Arlo Q , as well as its $180 Arlo, the $70 Ezviz Mini, and the $279 Icontrol Piper NV have free cloud storage services.

Now, the iCamera Keep has been updated and it can store up to 30 clips for free, but Spot brings iSmartAlarm even closer to the DIY security camera mainstream with its suite of new features and ease-of-setup-and-install.

Spot performed well overall, too, delivering prompt motion and sound alerts that I could view on the related app. One drawback is that the app doesn't clearly differentiate between motion and sound alerts when you're scrolling through the saved video clips.

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Spot knows the difference between a regular noise and a smoke or carbon monoxide alert.

Screenshots by CNET

But, the night vision was pretty crisp and its advanced "sound recognition," designed to detect a smoke or carbon monoxide alarm and issue a custom alert worked very well. (iSmartAlarm plans to add more sounds in the future, like glass breaking or a baby crying.)

iSmartAlarm's $99 Spot security camera has more to offer than the $70 Ezviz Mini, but still manages to cost about $100 less than many of today's high-def models. Definitely consider Spot if you're looking for a smart and simple DIY security camera.

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7.4

iSmartAlarm Spot

Score Breakdown

Features 8Usability 7Design 7Performance 7.5
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