We get asked a lot “what is the difference between the SmartCam and the Mini Cam?” and “Which one should I buy?” Both are great cameras and have a place in the camera world. In this article, we will cover the key differences to consider when selecting the model that is best for you.

Signal Strength

The first obvious difference between the SmartCam and the Mini Cam is the antennas. The SmartCam has 2 external antennas which can gather signal in the most remote places. It gets about 4x the amount of signal strength that a cell phone would. This doesn’t mean the Mini Cam doesn’t get good signal strength though. The Mini Cam gathers about half the amount of signal than the SmartCam, which makes it 2x stronger than a cell phone. A good rule of thumb is, if you get a signal at all on your cell phone, then either one of our camera models will work. However, if you don’t get any signal with your cell phone, you may want to consider using the SmartCam.

Camera Features

There are a few built-in features that differ in both camera models that we’ll address here below.

  • Trigger Speed
    • SmartCam – 0.35 Seconds
    • Mini Cam – 0.6 Seconds
  • Infrared Flash
    • SmartCam – 100ft
    • Mini Cam – 65ft
  • PIR Distance
    • SmartCam – 65ft
    • Mini Cam – 65ft

There are a few firmware differences between the two cameras as well. The SmartCam does offer video mode which will take and send 6-second videos to your account, while the Mini Cam will take videos of 5 sec, 10 sec, or 15 sec length. The SmartCam also offers Burst Mode which takes and sends a burst of photos (1-5) to your account, while, at the time this article is being written, the Mini Cam only takes a single picture at a time and sends it to your account (Burst Mode coming soon to the Mini Cam). Time Lapse is another feature that is only available in the SmartCam. Time Lapse allows the user to set the camera to take a picture ever so often. For example, you can set the camera to send a picture every hour if you’d like.

Built-in GPS

The SmartCam has a built-in GPS. This allows HuntControl to determine the location of the SmartCam so that it can automatically gather accurate weather data from that location. With the Mini Cam, you have to manually update the location of the camera in HuntControl by dropping a pin at the location of the camera under the Cameras/Map tab. This is important so that you can have the correct weather data on your activity charts and predictions. One thing to note about the built-in GPS is that it is not a tracking device. Yes, in a rare occurrence, you can locate a stolen camera. However, the stolen camera has to be turned on, then a picture has to be taken from the camera, and then HuntControl will update the location of the camera. 

Image Clarity

Image clarity is a bit more tricky to explain. The SmartCam and Mini Cam both take and send the highest quality photos out there. The clarity of the Mini cam is a bit better than the SmartCam. There are a couple of reasons for this. The biggest reason is due to the Infrared lens. The SmartCam offers blackout lenses on the Infrared so that you cannot see the infrared lights light up at night when it takes a picture. However, there is a negative to this. Blackout lenses cause a lot of motion-blurred images. When an object is moving through the image at a faster pace than normal, the object will appear very smeared in the photo. The Mini Cam does not have blackout lenses so the nighttime photos are much clearer and crisper. 

Another reason for the increased clarity in the Mini Cam is that it was developed a year later. The SmartCam was our original camera, it was developed 3 years ago and was the best cell cam on the market at that time. However, when we designed our Mini Cam 2 years ago, we inserted an improved lens in it, which produced a little higher quality pictures. Take a look below at the comparison photos between the SmartCam and the Mini Cam.

Firmware Updates

We do not like firmware updates. We know how annoying they can be. Unfortunately, we have to do firmware updates due to changing cellular features of AT&T and Verizon. With these firmware updates, we sometimes include camera features with them. For instance, the next firmware update for the Mini Cam will include the Burst Mode option. Doing these firmware updates differs with both cameras. As we mentioned before, the SmartCam is an older model camera which means updating the firmware is an older process that includes downloading the firmware and placing it on an SD card, and then putting that SD card in the SmartCam to update it. That process is a hassle and can be confusing. That is why we changed the process with the Mini Cam. The firmware update on the Mini Cam will be a remote process and a click of a button on HuntControl. We haven’t had a new firmware update yet for the Mini Cam but we will have a new one out soon. 

Final Thoughts

Here are a few final thoughts when deciding between the SmartCam and the Mini Cam. Are you putting the camera in a very remote area with no signal? You may want to consider getting the SmartCam. Do you need the fastest trigger speed with the furthest infrared flash? The SmartCam may be what you’re looking for, however, the Mini Cam’s trigger speed isn’t slow by any means. Do you need video mode and time-lapse? Go with the SmartCam. If you’re looking for a cell camera that takes and sends the best photo on the market? Look no further than the Mini Cam.