Best Cellular Trail Camera of 2020: Top 5 Recommendations
Outdoor enthusiasts and wildlife photographers know that we can not always be around to capture those rare moments in nature. Thankfully, the invention of trail cameras makes this possible. Cellular trail cameras allow for the images and videos that they capture to be transmitted directly to your smartphone.
They also let you manually control them whenever you want, from anywhere, provided you have a working cellular connection. We’ve put together this list of some of the best cellular trail cameras out there to make buying your next one a little easier.
- 1 Comparison Chart
- 2 Best Cellular Trail Camera Reviews
- 2.1 Moultrie Mobile XV7000i Cellular Trail Camera
- 2.2 CreativeXP 3G Cellular Trail Camera
- 2.3 Spypoint Link Micro 4G Cellular Trail Camera
- 2.4 Bigfoot 3G Trail Camera
- 2.5 Browning Defender Wireless Cellular Trail Camera
- 3 BUYER'S GUIDE
- 4 F.A.Q.
- 5 FINAL VERDICT
Best Cellular Trail Camera Reviews
Moultrie Mobile XV7000i Cellular Trail Camera
Moultrie is one of the most popular manufacturers of mobile trail cameras out there and is known for its high-quality products. The XV7000i is no exception and features some of their latest trail camera technology, which is why we’ve included it on this list.
The XV7000i is a combination of the reliability and quality of mobile trail cameras that Moultrie is known for. This camera is capable of delivering the images, videos, and sounds that it captures from the field straight to your phone, tablet, or computer.
It runs on Verizon’s 4G network and uses a 20MP camera to capture some of the most high-quality imagery ever. It features an invisible night vision flash, a detection and flash range of 80 feet, and a 0.3-second trigger speed.
The XV7000i is designed for use with the Moultrie mobile app for iPhone and Android. All you need to do is download the app and begin receiving images from the field directly to your mobile device.
The app is packed full of features that make it super user-friendly and makes managing your images a walk in the park. You can customize your payment method, data plan, and camera settings, all from the comfort of your mobile device.
The XV7000i also has one of the longest battery lives on this list and runs on 2 AA batteries. These small batteries will provide you with over three months of great quality images.
The camera’s features are not the only things powered by the batteries, as they are also used to power the built-in cellular modem. This means that your camera will remain functional even if you are not able to monitor it for extended periods.
On the topic of high-quality imagery, the XV7000i uses its specialized ILLUMI-NIGHT 2 sensor to capture night time images and videos. Many of us know that there are many game animals that only become active during the night time.
This is why the specialized sensor is so important, as it allows you to capture those rare nocturnal moments that would otherwise be impossible.
There is a lot to like about the Moultrie XV7000i. Perhaps its most appealing feature is its straightforward, user-friendly mobile app. While most cellular trail cameras have a mobile app, it is difficult to come across one that is as user-friendly as Moultrie’s.
The extended battery life is also what draws most people to this trail camera, as it provides an impressive 3+ months of power. This means that, if you wanted, you wouldn’t have to physically check up on the XV7000i for months.
The recovery time for the XV7000i is slightly unconventional. When the camera detects movement, it will remain active and continue to take photographs for as long as it detects motion.
This can either be a good or a bad thing. While on the one hand, you are receiving an interesting sequence of images, if a thief sees the camera, they can turn it off before the photos reach you.
CreativeXP 3G Cellular Trail Camera
While this is one of the more expensive cameras on this list, the CreativeXP cellular trail camera is packed with a wide variety of features, some of which are not often found in trail cameras. This is why we have decided to include it on this list.
The CreativeXP cellular trail camera features IR night vision, which is difficult to come by in trail cameras these days, especially the cellular variety. The night vision on this camera is full-HD, and it has a decent detection range of 65 feet.
The videos that this camera records are of crystal clear quality in 1080p. It is capable of taking 12mp photos in daytime or nighttime, making it one of the more versatile trail cameras out there.
The Wi-Fi cellular feature of the Creative XP cellular trail camera allows you to receive the photos and videos it takes instantly. You can choose to receive these images via phone or email, and the camera comes with a free Simhero Card and a 32GB SD card.
CreativeXP markets this camera as not only suitable for capturing wildlife imagery, but as a security camera as well. This is thanks to its wide Dynamic Lens that features a 110° viewing angle. It also has an incredible 0.4 second trigger time, which allows you to capture up to five photos every time the camera triggers.
The CreativeXP cellular camera allows you to adjust most of its high-tech features to help meet your goals. You are able to select the time-lapse feature to receive photos every 3 minutes, or you could set a timer to record action within a time frame that you specify.
The company also prides itself on making its cellular trail cameras as easy to use as possible. With this camera, you simply activate and purchase a data plan, and wait for the motion sensor to be triggered.
This camera from CreativeXP records some of the most high-quality night vision imagery and videos out there, which is rare amongst cellular trail cams. It also has a super short setup time, taking only 10 minutes from start to finish.
The fact that you receive a SimHero card loaded with 500 free photos is also a great bonus. You are able to receive the photos via email or phone, meaning you can view them practically anywhere.
Unfortunately, since this camera is loaded with so many features, it does not have the battery capacity to power it for extended periods. It has an average battery life and is nowhere near the 3+ months you receive from the Moultrie XV7000i.
Its detection range is also merely average, but will still do its job effectively.
Spypoint Link Micro 4G Cellular Trail Camera
The Spypoint Link Micro is one of the more affordable cellular trail cameras on the market, which is why we have included it on this list. It is great for folks who want standard trail camera functionality without breaking the bank.
As we mentioned above, the best thing that the Spypoint Link Micro has going for it is how affordable it is. It is also extremely easy to set up, thanks to its minimalist design.
This is the trail camera for those who are not concerned about having the best performance possible. The battery life is below average, as well as the image quality, and it does not have any internal programming. However, these are the things that make the Spypoint Link Micro unique, and most importantly, affordable.
We say that the image quality is below average, but they are still very visible and easy to interpret, especially during the daytime. The Spypoint Link Micro is able to last just over one month if it were to take 30 pictures every 24 hours.
While this camera does have a low image quality and recovery speed, it makes up for it with its impressive 110° detection range. It is also one of, if not the smallest trail cameras out there. This is a great bonus for those who want a trail camera that can easily be disguised.
The setup of the Spypoint Link Micro takes no time at all. The actual camera does not feature a setup screen, so everything takes place within the app. All you need to do is download the app, select ‘Activate New Device,’ and follow the steps that are prompted.
The app also allows you to program the camera to be on or off during certain hours or days of the week. For example, you could have the camera active from 9 am to 11 pm on weekdays, and for 24 hours a day over the weekend.
This is probably the best camera for entry-level wildlife photographers and nature enthusiasts. It features a super compact design and a setup process that is quick and easy to perform by even the most inexperienced people.
It is also one of the least expensive trail cameras out there, which adds to its beginner-friendly nature.
Unfortunately, the compact design of the Spypoint Link Micro can be cause for concern. The casing can feel quite flimsy when held and can be easily broken by animals or thieves. The picture quality, battery life, and durability are all below average as well.
Bigfoot 3G Trail Camera
It would be wrong to say that we included the BIGFOOT trail camera on this list because of its name, but it was certainly one of the reasons. This is the trail camera for those who want an all-in-one experience. It is also very affordable, which is great for those on a budget.
The BIGFOOT cellular trail camera boasts a super quick and easy setup process, with it being ready to go in 15 minutes. If you do run into any problems during setup, their customer support team is always on standby to assist you.
Each BIGFOOT trail camera comes installed with a SimHero data card and 30 days of data. All you need to do is register your sim card and choose from their wide range of data plans. The camera uses AT&T as their service provider to send images to your phone or email.
One of the most appealing features of this trail camera is the numerous accessories that are included. When you purchase a BIGFOOT cellular trail cam, you receive a USB cable, 16GB SD card, mounting strap, user manual, and a quick start guide.
This is why we’ve labeled it as the all-in-one trail camera. It is great for beginners who don’t want to have to go out and buy hundreds of accessories.
As we have mentioned above, this is the do-it-all trail camera. It is great for beginners looking for an entry-level trail camera, as well as professionals looking for a great standard alternative.
With the BIGFOOT cellular trail camera, you are able to adjust the sensitivity of the motion sensor. This means that you can customize how often you want to receive photos, and the distance you want the camera to detect motion from.
The BIGFOOT trail camera underperforms when it comes to nighttime photos. Unfortunately, night time is when a lot of interesting and rare occurrences in nature take place. Sadly, you won’t be getting many high-quality nighttime pictures from this trail camera.
Browning Defender Wireless Cellular Trail Camera
While this is the most expensive cellular trail camera on this list, you are getting a lot for your money. The Browning Defender trail camera is one of the most durable trails cams out there and is powered by a 4G network.
There is perhaps no other trail camera quite as robust as the Browning Defender. It takes high-quality pictures, makes use of a very well-built case design, and has a super-fast detection circuit.
Browning is known for its high-quality daytime photos, and this camera is no exception. They have excellent color and contrast, are bright, and have above average clarity. The night images are slightly blurry when the subject is in motion, but they have great contrast and range nonetheless.
The Defender has an impressive 90 feet range of detection, which is one of the highest on this list. The trigger and recovery speeds are both very fast as well. While there is a false trigger every now and then, they are so rare that you will barely notice them.
The case design of the Browning Defender is larger than their other cameras but is average in comparison to other cellular trail cameras. The front latch is easy to open and close, even in chilly weather. All of the buttons that are used to control the internal program are simple to select.
You will need to follow the instructions to set this camera up correctly, as the only way to do so is via Browning. You are not able to use an existing sim card that you may have. However, if you do follow the provided instructions, setting this camera up will be a walk in the park.
The Browning Defender takes some of the best quality daytime pictures out there, and its nighttime images are not too bad either. It is also a very robust and durable camera, meaning that it will not be easily damaged by weather or other external forces.
The detection circuit is also of great quality and is just as robust as the case, so you won’t have to worry about it getting damaged.
There are only two major drawbacks to the Browning defender, with the first being the night vision photos. When the subject that it captures is moving, the photos tend to come out blurry, which makes them difficult to interpret.
Secondly, the battery life of the Browning Defender is merely average and will last you just under two months before the batteries need to be replaced.
There are a few things that you should understand and keep in mind before going out and buying a cellular trail camera. That’s why we’ve put together this short buying guide to make that task a little bit easier.
Before you buy a cellular trail camera, you should consider which mobile service provider they work with. If there are a number of cell service carriers in your area that can support cellular trail cameras, you should buy a camera that works with one of those services.
You should also decide on which data plan you will purchase before using the camera. Then, you should adjust the sensitivity of your camera to ensure that it is not picking up insignificant movements, thus wasting your data.
There are a few ways that cellular trail cameras are able to get your photos to you. The most common is via cellphone. The trail camera sends the images straight to your phone as soon as it captures them.
Another common method is having the images emailed to you. This is generally the option that people who do not check their cameras often select, as you can simply log in to your email and view all of the images at once.
You should note that the images that your cellular trail camera sends to you are compressed, meaning that they will not be the same quality as if you were to retrieve them directly from the camera’s SD card.
Included Data Plans
Various cellular trail camera manufacturers provide a sim card with their cameras. These sim cards usually come loaded with some data, or with a certain number of available images.
Be sure to check beforehand whether or not your camera comes with an included data plan before you purchase more data.
There are a number of features that cellular trail cameras all have. The first, and most important, is the flash speed. When a trail camera detects movement, its shutter is triggered. The time that elapses between the movement and when the image is captured is known as the trigger speed.
Related to the trigger speed is recovery time, which is how long it takes for the camera to be ready to take another picture. Also related to the trigger speed is the range of detection, which is how close a subject must be before the camera detects it and captures an image.
Finally, the resolution of the camera determines the quality of the images it produces, as is the case with most cameras. The higher the resolution, the higher the quality of the image can be.
There are only a few items that are generally included when you purchase a trail camera, such as a mounting stand and strap. These accessories allow you to place the camera in various terrains and positions to capture wherever you want.
Most cellular trail cameras also have an SD card and a sim card of some kind included. The SD card can range from any size, and the sim card usually comes with some preloaded data or a certain number of preloaded images.
Many people experience some confusion when they first purchase a cellular trail camera and often look to the internet for answers. We’ve compiled some of the most frequently asked questions about cellular trail cameras so that you don’t need to ask them.
How does a cellular trail camera work?
Cellular trail cameras work with a cell service network plan. They use a cellphone network to transmit the images that they capture either to your phone, your email address, or to the manufacturer’s website. They require a cell service signal to work properly.
How do I set up my cellular trail camera?
The process of setting up any trail camera is fairly simple, but there are a few extra steps to set up the cellular variety. First, you will need to install the batteries and SD card, then register your camera online and with the service provider.
Then you will need to mount the camera in your desired location and control it via its corresponding cell phone app. You can also control it via the company’s website.
How much is a cellular plan for a trail camera?
Cellular trail camera plans can vary in cost anywhere from free to $1,000 a year. The amount that you spend on your cellular plan will depend on the amount of data you use and the device you are using.
How do I know if my cellular trail camera has a cellular connection?
You will know if your cellular trail camera has a cellular connection if it is transmitting images. If it is not, you have likely placed it out of range of a cell service connection.
Who makes the best cellular trail camera?
This is a rather subjective question, but there are a few brands that have been known to make high-quality cellular trail cameras. These include brands like Spartan, Snyper, Cuddeback, and Spypoint.
While you could make use of any old cellular trail camera, you should try and find the one with features that suit your needs. There is no one trail camera that beats the rest, so do not listen to anyone who tells you that there is!