What it is

A cellular trail cam.

The test

I tested two units, from October 2022 to December 2023. They were set up with a basic cellular plan,
with the app configured to send photos to my phone for the duration of the test.

What we think

The Bushnell CelluCORE cams are a bit larger than my previous cameras (Spypoint Micro units). They are also better built. The plastic body feels tougher, not as thin and stiff as the Spypoints.

I ran both cameras off AA batteries ― no solar and 12V battery pack. Both ran the entire duration of the test on the same set of batteries, and continue on them into their second winter.

The antennas have excellent reception. I placed both in locations where cell signal was very marginal. One in a ravine in my backyard where even my phone rarely ever gets a signal. The other in a remote spot just north of Parry Sound where my older Spypoints could not connect to a cell tower.
The CelluCOREs found a signal right away.

Setup was easy. The cameras come preinstalled with the SIM card so you just need to load the app onto your phone, set up your account, and then connect your cams. All fairly basic steps. Bushnell recommends buying the units from a Canadian retailer to ensure they work on our cell network. Plans start at $9.99 per month (per camera) for up to 2,000 image thumbnails. You can cancel and restart any time through the app.

Nice touches were the ability to name the cameras in the app, avoiding the confusion I ran into on other cameras. I can also place location markers for each camera. One function I wish it had was taking pictures on demand. Sadly, like on my older cams, this is missing.

Image clarity for both night and day photos was good. The default motion detection worked well. I had pretty much zero nuisance detections of squirrels, birds, or branches blowing in the wind. If video recording is enabled, videos will be saved to the memory card only. They are not sent to your phone, which is pretty standard.

Full disclosure, Bushnell sent me these cameras to test for free. I just paid for the monthly plan. I’ve
had zero issues with them and they show no wear after a year in the woods. They’re well built and will
get the job done.

Originally published in the Jan.-Feb. 2024 issue of Ontario OUT of DOORS magazine

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