Home Reviews Wireless Trail Camera Review | Cellular Game Camera Guide

Wireless Trail Camera Review | Cellular Game Camera Guide

This is a list of the best wireless trail cameras for outdoor and home security use. Trail cameras have come a long way and now have the option of using cell services to automatically send photos and videos through text messaging and email.

Some are ready to go out of the box, some require a little bit of configuration from the user’s end, and then the more complex ones require a deeper understanding of the technology involved. Prices vary quite significantly between different wireless trail cameras, and often features found in higher-priced models are available in the lower priced ones, with the lower-priced ones having even better support. LCD screens are also a big part of the equation, as cameras that don’t allow you to change the settings remotely may not be user friendly for certain situations.

The big factor is always going to be the wireless support, which, depending on the chosen company or setup, can be a nightmare or a blessing. Even with the perfect setup, it is still up to the user to determine whether they will go with a pay-as-you-go plan (if supported) or a simple season-by-season plan. There are many options to choose from, and in cases where the signal is weak, a signal booster can be purchased to alleviate some of the weight from the trail camera.

Solar panel accessories are also available for some devices, allowing for extended use for months and even up to a year without maintenance. With the option to extend standby time on many devices, the choice comes down to how much work the user wants to do upfront to make sure that the camera is functioning 100% from Day 1.

Wireless Trail Camera Review

This review walks you through 12 different wireless trail cameras and highlights their features, uses, and applications.

  • 3.5 Customer Rating
  • 119599C
  • Brand: Bushnell
  • Dimension: 1 x 1 x 1 inches
  • Megapixels: 8
  • Trigger Time: 0.6 second
  • Weight: 1 pounds
  • Batteries: 12 AA batteries required.
  • Warranty: Manufacturers
  • 2.5 Customer Rating
  • Tiny WBF
  • Brand: SPYPOINT
  • Dimension: 6 x 6.2 x 4 inches
  • Megapixels: 8
  • Trigger Time: N/A
  • Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Batteries: 6 AA batteries required.
  • Warranty: Manufacturers
  • 3.5 Customer Rating
  • SG580M
  • Brand: HCO
  • Dimension: 6.8 x 4 x 5 inches
  • Megapixels: N/A
  • Trigger Time: N/A
  • Weight: 12 ounces
  • Batteries: 8 AA batteries required.
  • Warranty: Manufacturers
  • 3.5 Customer Rating
  • MCG-12597
  • Brand: Moultrie
  • Dimension: 7.5 x 9.5 x 5 inches
  • Megapixels: 8.0
  • Trigger Time: 1 second
  • Weight: 1.6 ounces
  • Batteries: 8 C batteries required.
  • Warranty: Manufacturers
  • 3 Customer Rating
  • SR1-WCDb
  • Brand: HCO
  • Dimension: 10 x 8 x 4 inches
  • Megapixels: 8
  • Trigger Time: 1 second
  • Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Batteries: 12 AA batteries required.
  • Warranty: Manufacturers

Bushnell 8MP Trophy Cam HD Wireless Black LED Trail Camera with Night Vision

The Bushnell 8MP Tophy Cam HD Wireless is one of the few no-hassle setup wireless trail cameras that comes with wireless connectivity straight out of the box, with unlimited thumbnails for the first month. A SIM card and data plan are already included, and all prepaid plans starting from $9.99 are renewed through Bushnell, saving the user the hassle of a contract with AT&T. The camera settings can be managed through the camera itself, or through a computer or smart phone. Four to twelve AA batteries provide three months of usage, and with programmable trigger intervals, as well as other user-defined settings, the battery life can be extended. This is an HD camera with full video and photo capability, with videos having a max duration of 60 seconds with sound. A 0.6-second trigger on this weatherproof model gives the spacious 60-foot range maximum clarity, and is useful for both home security as well as outdoor use for gaming and scouting.

The optional web interface to handle the wireless plan as well as other camera options makes this a great camera for beginners, and also has the option of being used through several compatible smart phone applications. The full color LCD display is a spacious 2.4 inches, so in the case where the user wants to manually change settings and check images, it is still a very viable option. The Bushnell 8MP Trophy Cam HD Wireless Black LED Trail Camera also has the unique feature of being able to simultaneously run time-lapse and live trigger options, and with geotagging availability, photos and video are very descriptive.

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Spypoint Tiny WBF Wireless Trail Camera

This is an 8 megapixel camera with 38 invisible black LEDS, which can not only record in HD video and take HD photos, but also send those same photos and videos remotely to a black box for later viewing. The price is exactly in the mid range, and technically speaking the setup and maintenance are meant more for mid-level to advanced users. A good component of the package is a 2.4-inch viewing screen on the camera itself, that is both vibrant and crisp and a good size for checking out media.

The Spypoint Tiny WBF Wireless Trail Camera is the same as the Tiny-W2, except this version has black LEDS included. The black box unit that automatically retrieves media from the camera is operational up to 250 feet, and is an ideal solution in case of camera theft and saves you from having to disturb the unit’s setup. The wireless functionality is good to go once set up, but may be a pain for less technical users. And because of the size, this is an excellent camera for outdoor sporting use as well as home security when placed correctly.

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HCO SG580M IR Wireless Camera

The HCO SG580M IR Wireless Camera is another trail camera that operates on older cellular functionality, and requires either an intermediate or advanced user to set up. Its small compact design makes it ideal for home security, but not a reliable outdoor gaming or hunting camera. Battery life is superior and requires 8 AA batteries, with one set lasting for months at a time. It is a little pricey, and has the slowest operation on the list with a trigger speed of 1.5 seconds and recovery time of 5–8 seconds with MMS turned off. the unit weighs about 12 ounces but is still compact and easily hidden.

The unit is not waterproof or weatherproof, and under adverse conditions both the wireless connection and signal will suffer greatly. The camera can be set to take pictures at different intervals in order to conserve the battery for longer. There is limited support for this model from HCO as it is discontinued, so repair or parts will require a lot of foresight from the buyer. As this uses old cellular technology, once the GSM signal is lost it will require the user to manually fix the issue. This of course means the MMS and email function will not operate correctly and will not auto-recover like newer models.

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Moultrie PANORAMIC 150 Game Camera

Unlike the other trail cameras on the list, the Moultrie PANORAMIC 150 Game Camera does not come with wireless capability right out of the box but is wireless capable. Through the separate purchase of a Wi-Fi card called Eye-Fi connect X2 or Pro X2, users can transmit images via the Wi-Fi network. This is a separate card and is not officially supported by Moultrie, making this unit ideal for intermediate to expert users. The price is mid to high, and is pushed even higher when you include the price of the card. The camera also supports panoramic view, and is excellent for getting an entire field in one shot. The 150-degree detection angle is guided by three motion sensors, and with 5 operational modes, manually setting the camera to get the perfect shot is quite easy. The functional modes are time-lapse, motion detection, and HD.

Although meant for game scouting and hunting, it functions well as home security. The built-in Illumi-night sensor is perfect for night ops, and takes bright and clear photos up to 100 feet. The 1-second trigger speed captures great moments and does a good job of eliminating blurred photos. The unit uses 6 C-cell batteries that can last up to half a year, and supports SD cards up to 32 GB. In a situation where multiple game are present, the hybrid mode is a nice function that allows for both the passive infrared motion sensor and time lapse program to run simultaneously.

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HCO Outdoor Products Camera Wireless

Another on the list from HCO is the HCO Outdoor Products Camera Wireless, which works good as an outdoor hunting and scouting camera and for home security. This is a SIM-powered camera on AT&T’s GSM or compatible networks that can send photos to multiple cell phones or email addresses. Users also have the option of remotely changing settings in the camera through text messaging, and although this can take a while to get used to, it’s fairly easy and innovative. This model is ideal for intermediate users and up, and is on the higher end of the price spectrum. The LCD is feature rich and intuitive, and the entire setup doesn’t require any computer software. Once the SIM card is inserted, all necessary fields are automatically filled for a worry-free installation.

The trigger speed is 1 second and the unit supports 1080p video up to a full minute, with live preview capability. Photos are stamped with time, date, temperature, and moon information, and stored on an SD card up to 32 GB. The password protection is built in to prevent unauthorized access, and overwrite settings can be turned on or off on the unit itself. Extended power is an option while the original unit takes 12 AA batteries, for a lifespan between 1 and 6 months depending on what options are enabled. While setup is fairly easy, the unit is still recommended for intermediate users and up due to spotty support from the parent website.

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Spypoint Tiny-W2 8MP 5X Wireless Infrared Surveillance Camera, Camo

The Spypoint Tiny-W2 8MP 5X Wireless Infrared Surveillance Camera transfers pictures from the main camera to the box through the use of a wireless black box, without the aid of a network. What this means is that a SIM card is not required, but also that users won’t have the benefit of a notification function typical of cameras that do use a network. The built-in wireless range is up to 250 feet and ideal for most conditions without disturbing the natural area. The camera functions well as an outdoor gaming and scouting camera, and the easy setup is ideal for beginner users. With USB and TV ports it is possible to view everything on the camera on a larger screen, even though the 2.4-inch viewing screen on the camera is one of the more user friendly ones on the list.

This unit also features solar power ability and can recharge lithium battery packs for unlimited power on a single set. Optional external trigger jacks are available, and the price for the package hovers around the low to mid-range area. Three motion sensors and 38 infrared LEDs take great color pictures by day and black and white pictures by night, with a video duration of up to 90 seconds. Optional configurations include changing the wireless transmission power to save battery, infrared level adjustment, multi-shop mode, and period of operation adjustment. The maximum SD card memory is 32 GB, while both the receiver and black box require 6 AA batteries each. As a bonus, USB cables, an installation strap, and video cables are included in the package.

LTL Acorn 12M MMS Wireless No-Glow Trail Camera, Camouflage

This 12-MP camera is meant for intermediate to advanced users, because of the in-depth setup and lack of support and documentation. Through the use of a compatible GSM SIM provider, users can have photos texted or emailed to their personal accounts, with the ability to add multiple cell numbers so they can be shared automatically across several devices. Both video and pictures can be taken simultaneously per trigger event, and the no-glow flash works superbly up to 30 feet. The trigger time is 0.8 seconds and through the customization on the 2-¼-inch LCD screen, users can set time lapse configurations, shot configurations, and can load images and video with support for SD cards up to 32 GB in size. Shots can be taken in 5 to 12 MP, so you can store more photos and video on the card.

Eight AA batteries are required, and the battery life is pretty standard at 3–6 months depending on use. The item is light and only weighs 10.4 ounces, making it compact and easy to hide. The camera’s makeup makes it ideal for home security use as well as outdoor gaming and hunting. Website support is non-traditional, and once again will require a lot of work on the user’s end to get everything up and running. The price is a little on the high side, but the unit contains many features found in other high-end cameras. Pictures on the LTL Acorn 12M MMS Wireless No-Glow Trail Camera are guaranteed to be clear and easy to view on the LCD screen.

Spartan GoCam Verizon IR

The Spartan GoCam Verizon IR is the only other camera on the list apart from the Reconyx SC950C Cellular Enabled HyperFire Security Camera that has full support for both AT&T and Verizon compatible networks. Unlike that model, this 3G camera is HD, with user-defined 3.5 or 8MP options that shoots video in 720p. It comes in at about the second most expensive on the list, and because of the easy setup it’s fantastic for beginners. Features include live preview on the spacious LCD screen, with a 60-foot night flash distance that sends motion triggered or time lapse photos automatically to email or cell phones. The unit is compatible with the HCO GoWireless web and mobile portal, one of the premiere camera and photo management solutions on the web.

This system is fully certified to work with Verizon and AT&T, and with a multitude of mobile apps, PC applications, and numerous support sites, this is the most user-friendly product on the list. Regardless of which provider the user decides to go with, no long-term plan is required, and it is easy to deactivate or reactivate a plan when needed. This item is on the heavy side at 3 pounds but works wonderfully as home security or outside as a game and scouting camera. Twelve AA batteries give the camera a couple of months of standby depending on usage and settings.

BolyGuard/ScoutGuard SG550M-8M 2012 Game Scouting Trail Hunting Camera

This trail camera fully supports both GPRS and MMS transmission to email and mobile phone through compatible providers that support SIM and GSM services. With compatible services configured, the camera can send pictures to a cell phone or to an email service of the user’s choosing. The setup can be a bit long-winded depending on the selected provider, and thus this camera is meant for intermediate to expert users. It takes powerful images and video at 8MP, with audio-enabled 640 x 480p video recordings. Features include long range detection and illumination, a 1.2-second trigger time, and adjustable sensitivity levels. The entire package is waterproof and should hold up well in many different types of environments.

The unit is on the high-priced side, and is constructed of high-end materials with a 15-foot color display with USB and TV out ports.  Image details can be viewed on bigger devices; once connected, the sampling size more than doubles. Because of the long range technology, more area is covered by a single camera, and an entire house can be covered with ease. This also allows for it to be mounted in places higher and more difficult to reach where other trail cameras would fail. This particular product has many test videos and sites showing the authenticity of the range, and they all give positive results. This definitely works well for home security and doubles as an outdoor gaming and scouting camera.

HCO Uway GSM Wireless Scouting Camera

The HCO Uway GSM Wireless Scouting Camera has an optional external battery jack that works with 6-volt external power as well as a solar panel for maximum efficiency. The camera is SIM-compatible with AT&T GSM and compatible networks, and is easy enough to set up for a beginner. Images are texted or emailed to the user based on their preference, and in areas where there is no cell service the camera supports SD cards up to 32 GB in size. The standby power consumption is one of the lowest on the list, and even when using the default 12 AA batteries, it can last a couple of months with heavy use. The color display is spacious and great for viewing pictures as well as changing camera options. The overall price is on the high side when compared to other products on the list with the same features.

The resolution is locked at a respectable 5 MP, and even at 1.2 pounds the product is light enough for outdoor use for scouting and game, as well as home security. It takes great pictures at day or night without disturbing the surrounding environment. Although there can be a bit of a learning curve to making adjustments on the screen, it is still easy enough to where most users will have no problems. Options include time lapse mode and the ability to set what time of day photos are taken.

Little Acorn Hunting Game Camera with AT&T or T-Mobile Text Messaging

This is a mid to high-priced camera that can send picture notifications via email and text messaging. The setup for the wireless service through compatible SIM card providers is more hands-on than others but very painless, and ideal for beginners. The user has to purchase a SIM card from a compatible provider and then place it in the camera, after following the step-by-step instructions on the included CD; everything works without a hitch. The 2.25-inch LCD screen has a 4-digit passcode that ensures no unauthorized access to the camera’s settings. The unit requires just 8 AA batteries. The camera can take photos at 1.3, 5, and 12MP, and video recording has a max duration of 60 seconds. When paired with the max size SD card of 16 GB, plenty of photos and videos can be stored on the same card.

The entire unit works well day or night as an outdoor gaming or scouting camera or as home security. The no-glow infrared technology provides crisp images without any shutter sound, and with proper setup, multiple positions are available to get the best shot, with or without the included tripod mount. The screen shows battery level, available SD card memory, as well as manual setup options for time lapse functions and wireless capabilities. Depending on the SIM and company chosen, an additional internet booster may be required to make sure the signal is strong enough to send the photos wirelessly.

Covert Special Ops Code Black 3G Cellular Trail Camera

Voted by Inside Archery as the 2012 Best Buy and one of the most popular and most-sold trail cameras of 2015, the Covert Special Ops Code Black 3G 60-LED Wireless Game Camera has 60 invisible flash LEDs to get the most of its surroundings without disturbing wildlife or people. And with a trigger speed of 1.2 seconds, this is a good speed wireless camera when compared to other models of the same price, which is high. The makeup of this unit is ideal for both game scouting and hunting as well as home security.

Through the use of an activated SIM card from AT&T, the Special Ops has MMS features allowing it to automatically text photos to the user’s cell phone or email address.

The resolution can be set to 3, 5, or 8MP and has a range of 60+ feet. It supports SD cards up to 32 GB, with lower resolution photos giving the card more space. The 2-inch color viewer can be used to control time lapse, a 2-phase timer switch, sensitivity levels, and for viewing battery usage and remaining memory. With the required 12 AAs, the unit lasts a very long time, and is ideal for intermediate users and up. It supports any cell provider that uses AT&T towers like T-Mobile or H20 wireless, but official support isn’t available if the user runs into problems. Several user forums and online videos give step-by-step instructions of the process, and range from simple to advanced setup depending on the user’s competence.

Reconyx SC950C Cellular Enabled HyperFire Security Camera

As the most expensive item on the list, this camera specializes in home security usage and has an incredible set of unique features. This is one of only two cameras on the list with full support for both AT&T and Verizon, as well as other compatible carriers. The SIM card and wireless features are installed by Reconyx, taking the hard configuration issues out of the standard camera setup. This is good for beginners, and with a 0.2-trigger speed and SD storage options of 32 GB, you can take no-glow color photos by day and black and white photos by night. The wireless module can send large 384 x 512p images to multiple cell phone and email accounts. Mapview professional software is included and powered by Google maps, for great geotagging and perfect photo organization. The Mapview program is Windows only, but the most powerful geotagging program on the list.

Options include loop recording, allowing the user to overwrite older images and replace with newer images, and the scheduling program built into the camera has both day and night operations. There is an optional solar-power panel that can extend the life of the batteries up to 40,000 images. Properly configuring the rapid-fire mode will take up to 10 images per trigger with a trigger speed of 1/5 a second. The flash ranges up to 60 feet and it should also be noted that this is a standard definition camera, that takes images at near-video level speed (3 frames per second) but not actual video. The resolution is 3.1MP with a non-color LCD display for changing settings.

HCO SG580MB Blackout Invisible GSM Cellular Wireless Scouting Camera

Through the use of a GSM SIM card, this device can send pictures via email or text message at set intervals. The carrier technology used in this device is old, and may not be available in all areas as it is in the process of being phased out. The setup is definitely meant for intermediate to advanced users, as it requires an unlocked SIM, specifically a 2G or 3G version, and even then, there may be other roadblocks. The unit is a little pricey but does include a wireless controller for awesome convenience, and has a completely invisible black flash when taking pictures. The enhanced high-gain antenna is ideal in situations where the unit is left in a desolate location, and has better signal than most other devices. At 1.2 pounds the camera has a very nice LCD display that is capable of showing clear picture and smooth video straight from the device. Detailed image info such as temperature and moon phase stamps are available and easy to comprehend on the screen.

Even without cell coverage, the HCO SG580MB Blackout Invisible GSM Cellular Wireless Scouting Camera functions well without the wireless functionality and supports SD cards up to 32 GB in size. Durability, size, and functionality make it ideal for outdoor game scouting and hunting and home security use. Along with SIM setup, GPRS email setup may take some getting used to, as the device does not support SSL or TSL connection. Because such email providers will not be able to support the email feature from their end, this forces users to find a workaround or change services completely. The resolution of texted photos is capped at 640 x 480p while for email-transmitted photos it’s 800 x 600p.

Best Wireless Trail Cameras Comparison Chart

NameWireless TypeTriggerPixelsRangeRating
Bushnell 8MP Trophy CamTrophy Cam HD Wireless0.6 second8MP60 feet4.5
Covert Special Ops Code Black 3G3G Cellular 1.2 seconds3-5-8 MP`60+ feet4.2
Little AcornN/A1.1 seconds1.3MP, 5MP, 12MPN/A4.5
HCO Uway GSM GSM WirelessN/AN/A50 feet4
Moultrie PANORAMIC 150PANORAMIC 1 second8MP45 feet4
BolyGuard/ScoutGuardGPRS/GSM Wireless1.2 seconds8MP60 feet3.7
HCO SG580MB Blackout IR WirelessN/A8MP10-15 feet3.6

Wireless and Cellular Trail Cameras Overview

1. Wireless Trail Cameras

Wireless trail cameras have an in-built transmitter, which transports images using a wireless network. You need to choose the wireless network of the receiving device in the camera to connect both of them. Wi-Fi cameras are relatively innovative but extremely user friendly and relevant to today’s consumer needs. They have fewer attachments and no wires, which is an appealing feature for indoor or semi-indoor use.

Advantages:

  • They have a simple installation process and today’s tech-savvy individuals will find them very easy to operate.
  • Sharing pictures is facilitated by the Wi-Fi feature without needing USB cords and millions of other attachments.
  • They are user friendly
  • They are almost wireless and well camouflaged, but not totally suitable for outdoor environments.

Disadvantages:

  • The main disadvantage of this camera is that a naturally exposed environment can hamper the wireless signal and so its use in an outdoor setup is not recommended.
  • For transmitting images, a seamless, strong signal is required, which completely depends on your internet network and wireless device. If you are outside the Wi-Fi range, which in itself is limited, the transmission feature will just not work.

Transmitting wirelessly makes this camera vulnerable to cyber attacks. You cannot use the transmitting feature of this camera on the go unless in a Wi-Fi enabled environment. This limitation also makes them unsuitable for isolated areas that do not have phone or internet signals.

2. Cellular Trail Camera

Cellular trail cameras record images and transmit them to your phone and tabs via the internet. A SIM needs to be inserted in the camera’s slot and then it uses it just like a phone. Most of these cameras work on GSM networks and you need to buy a data package for the SIM. These cameras come with motion sensor nowadays, which is activated by movement in front of the lens’ span. A cellular camera is a hassle-free gadget, very easy to install, and does not have tonnes of wires running around it.

Advantages:

  • They usually come in compact sizes and are ideal for indoor as well as outdoor use.
  • They are portable and therefore apt for conditions where they are required to be moved from one place to another frequently.
  • These are very inconspicuous in the woods, easily camouflaged simply because they have no wires hanging down.

Disadvantages:

  • The major disadvantage of this type of camera is that it runs on batteries. If you are buying one, ensure that it has a battery indicator. Also, assess the amount of battery it exhausts in terms of hours.
  • The SIM needs a service provider network; if it is not available, then the transmitting function will not work. So, if you are in the wilderness and want to transmit pictures, it will not work if the network is unavailable.

Another downside of cellular cameras is that they can be hacked via the internet connection to your phone. However, you can take reasonable precautions to protect your camera and its data from any such incident.