Trail Camera Review: Spartan GoCam
Want the best wireless trail camera for the money? The Spartan GoCam is worth a serious look
Shopping for a wireless trail camera is a balancing act. On one hand you want a trail cam that reliably sends pics and/or video to your phone or device. And those images should be high quality enough that you don’t regret sticking your old reliable conventional camera in that buck hotspot. Finally, the game camera shouldn’t break the bank. The extra investment of a cellular cam, plus the accompanying data plan, should be reasonable enough to justify the purchase. The Spartan GoCam checks all those boxes and should be a serious contender in anyone’s “which cell cam should I buy?” decision.
Spartan GoCam Specs:
- Megapixels: 3, 5, or 8 (adjustable)
- Trigger Speed: .6 second
- Detection Range: 80 feet
- Power: 12 AA batteries
What Kind of Trail Camera Is the Spartan GoCam?
The GoCam represents a nice marriage. While it offers high quality and performance, it delivers those features at a reasonable price for a wireless camera. With more and more hunters at least dipping their toes in the cellular cam market, the Spartan GoCam is simple enough to operate with zero experience, but has enough added features to keep an experienced user interested and happy.
The Spartan GoCam trail camera takes high-quality images and sends them directly to your phone. Amazon
One aspect of cellular cams that can take some getting used to for a new user is the necessity of setting up the cam and syncing it with your smartphone. This Spartan trail camera makes this process fairly seamless. The process requires you to download an app, which will take you through the setup process and help you manage your pics once the camera starts zipping them to your phone. For younger hunters/users, this will be something of a yawner, but for wireless cam newbies and technophobes (yeah, me), it can be confusing and intimidating to get set up on a cellular trial camera, so I appreciated this Spartan camera’s ease-of-use.
The Spartan GoCam sends quality photos and videos (though a premium subscription is required for clips) to your phone almost immediately after shooting them. There’s some nice adjustability here, with three choices of image resolution for pics and two for video. PIR (passive infrared) settings are also adjustable and the camera includes a time lapse option. The Spartan management app (a free download) does an excellent job of helping with adjusting or changing camera settings and managing pics and videos.
Testing the Spartan GoCam
I installed 12 AA lithium batteries and followed manufacturer instructions for setting up the camera. Then I evaluated the unit for adequate instructions and simplicity of setup—a significant issue for cell-cam rookies and experienced users alike. When pics were delivered to my app, I noted the time lapse between the photo event and when the image appeared on my phone.
After the camera was up and running, I left it on an active food plot for 24 hours and evaluated photo quality of the pics it took of deer and other wildlife. When pics were delivered to my app, I noted the time lapse between the photo event and when the image appeared on my phone. Then I brought the camera home, mounted it to a maple in my yard and ran some standard tests for pic and video quality at day and night. I also tested the detection/flash range by walking past the camera at pre-measured distances.
How the Spartan GoCam Performed
As noted, this was a pretty seamless setup. While I’ve been running cellular cameras for a couple years, I still experience a little angst when I’m first getting a cam rolling. Directions were easy to follow, and the app is pretty impressive. It now only allows the management of settings, but will handle multiple Spartan cams. It also marks any un-viewed images or videos as “new” which is very handy when a bunch of new pics rolls in.
At just over a half-second, there are no land-speed records being set here, but that’s true of most cellular cameras. The .6 second speed is perfectly adequate, but this Spartan trail camera will perform best at deer “traps” (licks, scrapes, or bait stations) that cause critters to pause.
As with most cameras, I couldn’t quite get the as-advertised (in this case, 80 feet) detection range out of this camera. But at 70 feet, it was plenty good. I tend to place cams where I know deer will stop and linger, so I simply set the camera at a reasonable range, and the Spartan GoCam performed very well at my food plot.
Picture quality was very good in my tests. There are three resolution settings for images (3, 5, or 8 MP), and I chose the 5MP option for most tests and was very pleased. The 8 MP would result in increased clarity but would take up more memory-card space.
There are two resolution sizes for video (320×240 and 1024×576), which is perfectly adequate and video quality was very good. There are only two video length choices (5 and 10 seconds. I would have liked to have a longer option. Even though long vids eat up space, they can be nice if you’re trying to get a good look at a whitetail buck.
What This Trail Camera Does Best
The Spartan GoCam is a great choice for anyone seeking to enter the cellular cam world. It delivers solid performance at a decent price. The picture quality is very good (especially day-time pics) as is the video. I liked the Spartan App and the ability to manage camera settings. I used to prefer cellular cams that sent pics as text messages to my phone, but cameras like the GoCam have changed my mind. Images go to the app and are stored and managed there. I get notices of new images from the app to my phone, which is a much cleaner and simpler user experience. The data plan is very reasonable, and there’s a two-year warranty, which is always an attractive feature in any electronic device.
What This Trial Camera Does Worst
While the GoCam is a fine choice for any cellular cam user, there are less expensive models out there. Keep an eye out for sales, which can result in significant savings. I would have liked to have longer video options, but to be honest I rarely use wireless cams to transmit video, so this is a minor beef. For more nit-picking, the physical size (6 inches by 5 inches) of the GoCam is relatively large. Some deer notice a big camera more readily, and in some setups a larger camera can present problems.
Does the Spartan GoCam Deliver on its Mission?
The GoCam is a high-performance camera that’s not only solidly built, but offers a range of versatility. If you’re looking to buy your first cellular trail camera, you’re not going to run screaming when you set this unit up—or while you’re paying for a plan. Spartan users have two data-plan options. If you use your own carrier, buying “premium credits” from Spartan allows the transmission of HD Photos and videos at a reasonable price. (I bought mine for $36 for one year). If the data plan is purchased from Spartan Camera, $15.99 will qualify you for 500MB per month; if you exceed the allotted amount, the plan will auto-renew to maintain a data connection. If you use your smartphone as often as I do, the Spartan app is a really slick tool for managing your camera(s) and the images that roll in.
And while I’ve nit-picked on the GoCam’s price, here’s the thing: When I see cameras significantly cheaper, my gut reaction is to get nervous. When it comes to electronics, “inexpensive” often translates into “cheap.” I’ve got a box full of trail cams that I got a great deal on…and they’re now on a trip to the junkyard. I haven’t used the GoCam for very long, but my sense is that this unit will be with with me—and performing at a high level—for quite some time.