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Spypoint Force Pro S

Old 08-09-2023, 02:42 PM
  #1  
Fork Horn
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Default Spypoint Force Pro S

Has anyone else tried one of these yet? I was hoping this was going to be an upgrade over the Solar Dark. It definitely is not. I've been using the Solar Dark series for at least five years and have always liked the layout of the menus and just the general functionality, although the durability hasn't been all that impressive. I really liked the fact that they had a solar panel which meant that battery replacement was pretty much eliminated. I always used Energizer Lithium batteries as backups and they would last for multiple seasons. The cameras had a two year warranty and that's about as long as they would last. The weakest link seemed to be the lifespan of the internal lithium battery pack. Makes me want to run right out and buy an electric car. NOT!


I will admit though that I would always set them to take one photo and then a 30 sec video. I'm sure that put them under a lot more stress than single photos would have but, hey, there is nothing saying you can't or shouldn't use them that way. It's kind of a moot point now since that model is no longer available.


Anyway, when the new Force Pro S went on sale recently I ordered one from Sportsman's Guide. The menu and functionality are really a step backwards from the Solar Dark in my opinion. Just like everything else, it probably has something to do with computer chip shortages. And so far the reliability has been horrid. The label on the side does say "Made In China" so no big surprise there.


This new camera doesn't let you combine photos and videos so I set it to take 30 second videos. I got a grand total of 48 videos before it apparently died. I can turn it on but it will not recognize any of the SD cards I have tried, including the card that came with the camera. The display screen lights up and then says "Please Format SD". So, after reading the instructions on SpyPoint's support website pages I did that and formatted the supplied SDHC 16 GB card. I first tried a quick format which didn't work and then a long format with the same result. I'm still getting the "Please Format SD" error.


I also downloaded the latest firmware from their website but that was a total waste of time since the camera won't read the SD card the firmware is stored on.


Next I opened a chat session on their website and after at least half an hour of back and forth messaging with me trying multiple suggestions all they would say was is that it looks like the camera will have to be replaced.


So I've sent the proof of purchase and now I'm waiting for confirmation of a replacement. I would honestly rather just get a refund but I'm not even sure if that is an option.
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Old 08-13-2023, 04:52 AM
  #2  
Nontypical Buck
 
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I have owned many cell cameras, from expensive to affordable, Spypoint has great cell rates, but lack customer service and their cameras when working are good but it seems no matter the model they end up having issues, which brings you back to poor customer service. Overall the best camera and customer service in my opinion is Tactacam
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Old 08-15-2023, 06:32 AM
  #3  
Fork Horn
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Thanks for the suggestion. I haven't gone down the cell camera road just yet. Not saying there's anything wrong with that it's just not my cup of tea. The Force Pro S is solar powered but has no cell or wi-fi capabilities which is similar to the discontinued Solar Dark. As a very helpful customer support guy at Spypoint once pointed out, not every place that people use trail cameras has cell service.

Unfortunately, in today's world it seems like both prices and quality are completely out of control. Whenever almost everything you buy is either built by or has components that were built by people whose lives are completely out of there own control what else can you honestly expect?
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Old 08-23-2023, 09:13 AM
  #4  
Fork Horn
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After sending Spypoint the proof of purchase info via email back on 8/9/23 I was expecting some sort of confirmation that they had at least received it or were planning to ship a replacement camera. Nothing.

So, today I called their customer service number and after about 20 minutes of them reviewing my case and getting my shipping address at least twice they have finally confirmed that I will be receiving a replacement. God knows how long that will take and I honestly have no reasonable expectation that the replacement will be any better.
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Old 08-24-2023, 11:07 AM
  #5  
Fork Horn
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Today I ran into another problem with one of my old Spypoint Solar Dark cameras. When I turn the camera on all I see is a bright white blank display screen for a few seconds and then it goes totally dark. I've had the same problem with the same model camera in the past. I purchased this camera almost two years ago to the day (8/25/21) and they come with a two year warranty. Imagine that!

I've been on the phone with their Chinese customer service for at least two hours! At this point they are in the process of creating an RMA for the replacement. Unfortunately, the Solar Dark has been discontinued so I chose to "upgrade" to the what I consider the inferior Force Pro S for a small fee. Not too happy about that but the other, more popular solar powered cell models are all sold out. Good grief...I can guarantee that I won't be buying any more Spypoint products in the future.
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Old 09-01-2023, 05:48 AM
  #6  
JW
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I tried Spy Point. I also was not happy with their product. Great idea to have a SD card plug in to make any camera a cell camera. But the quality of product is not there.

So I went Reveal X and XB. And have been extremely pleased.

JW
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Old 10-04-2023, 01:07 PM
  #7  
Fork Horn
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I need to update the issue I was having with the Spypoint Force Pro-S. I discovered completely by accident that the reason I could not format the SD card was because you have to do the formatting process kinda twice. When you go through the setup process on the camera's display screen the last option is "Format". Once you get to that option you have to hit the "OK" button. Then you hit either the up or down arrow which changes the display from "No" to "Yes". Then you have to hit the OK button again. You might think you're done but you're not. At this point the display now shows an "N". Hitting the up or down arrow again changes that to a "Y". If you hit the OK button now the display changes to "Succeed". Now you are done formatting the SD card. Clear as mud, right?

BTW, "Succeed" is a verb. Success is a noun which more clearly describes what you just accomplished. But I digress. They are made in China after all...
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Old 12-02-2023, 01:41 PM
  #8  
Fork Horn
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I guess I've had a couple of these Force Pro S cameras long enough now to do a review. I've only purchased one Force Pro S from the Sportsman's Guide but I have also received a couple of others as replacements for the older and similar Solar Dark cams that failed before their two year warranties had expired.
One of the biggest issues I have with this new model is the life of the internal battery which is supposed to be charged by the built-in solar panel. Compared to the old Solar Dark model these things are pitiful. I realize that a big part of the problem is that during this time of year there is the least amount of daylight, while at the same time, the greatest amount of nocturnal activity by wildlife, especially deer. That means the camera sees its greatest use during the time of day when there is basically no charging light available. I could excuse that except for the fact that I never had as bad of an issue with the discontinued Solar Dark model. Either the solar panel is less efficient or the internal battery has less storage capacity or both. I have had multiple instances where the camera has shut down after only a few days of use after being fully charged by connecting the camera to my desktop computer via a USB cable. I have one connected right now after only two days of use. Never had that bad of a problem with the Solar Dark. I suppose the new model just uses more power but I find that hard to believe when it has fewer capabilities. Now I will admit that I have these cams set to take a 10 second video with no interval between vids. However, I always set the older Solar Dark to take one photo and then a 30 second video with no interval. Sign of our socialist times, I guess. New product equals lower quality for about the same or higher price.
There also seems to be a problem with the use, or lack of use, of the backup batteries. I only use Energizer Ultimate Lithium batteries in any of my trail cams. I have yet to see a reduction of available charge on any of the backup batteries in any of the Force Pro S cams I have. That would seem to indicate that the backup batteries are simply not being used. I have also had multiple incidents where the internal battery has lost enough of its charge that the camera simply stops taking photos but yet the backup batteries still show that they are fully charged. Why even have a backup battery capability if the stupid camera won't use it? That brings up another thing. The old Solar Dark would actually display the percentage of remaining battery life for both the internal and backup batteries instead of the comparatively uninformative battery symbol used in the "Poor Farce" S. However, once the internal battery reaches a certain level of discharge and the camera shuts down the display does read "Low Battery". No kidding?
I also don't like the fact that there is no hybrid mode. In other words, you cannot set the camera to take both a photo and a video. You can do one or the other but not both. However, you can vary the length of videos taken. The old Solar Dark would do all of that. Again, another step backwards.
The picture quality is also inferior to the Solar Dark and especially so with night time photos. I've tried multiple photo setting options but nothing seems to help.
The Solar Dark also had a lot of other, useful features that are not available on the Poor Farce S. Like having a display screen where you could actually read the SD card and view any stored photos. More steps backwards.
So, bottom line is I will not buy this product again and would never recommend it to anyone else.

BTW, yesterday I spent almost an hour and a half in a chat session on Spypoint's "support" website trying to get a warranty issue resolved on another of my old Solar Dark cams that had finally died. No disrespect to the folks who man these support chat things but they honestly have no knowledge whatsoever of the product. All they seem to be able to do is ask a bunch of basic questions from a list they are given. Offering any helpful information is completely ignored unless it is in direct answer to their questions. And they are obviously not allowed to make any decisions on their own. The "team" finally agreed to send me another Poor Farce S as a replacement. Great. Just what I wanted.




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