TP-Link ​Kasa Spot review: A budget security camera that really hits the spot

Night vision, two-way audio and activity zones for a very affordable price

TP-Link ​Kasa Spot
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In a crowded smart security camera market, the biggest selling point of TP-Link's Kasa Spot (KC100) is the affordable price.

It may not have all the bells and whistles provided by its rivals, but it does roughly the same job while setting you back significantly less cash.

It's part of growing number of solid, affordable home security devices from TP-Link, too. The Chinese company isn't the most well-known in the US and UK, but it's been churning out quality gadgets for years now. In short, this isn't one that's suddenly going to disappear.

Read next: Best cheap smart home devices

Here, you're getting all the basics you would expect from a home security camera: it lets you view a live feed of the camera at any time, from anywhere, using your phone. It'll also alert you if motion is detected.

As we've said, it's a crowded market — so does the TP-Link Kasa Spot do enough to stand out? Here's what we found from our testing.

Kasa Spot: Design

TP-Link Kasa Spot review: Budget home security camera really hits the spot

The design of the Kasa Spot isn't bad, exactly, but it's certainly not going to win any awards.

A curved, square camera sits atop a little white stalk, which clips into a stand that allows a certain degree of flexibility when it comes to positioning and pointing the camera.

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It's fine, really, but no more than that (and white and black is your own colour choice, by the way). It doesn't have the premium feel of something like, say, the Nest Cam IQ Indoor, or the Arlo Ultra. It's also, as we mentioned up top, cheaper than those two competitors, so you'll have to weigh up just how much you care about build quality.

The device is powered via a microUSB cable and a mains adapter, which are both supplied in the box.

The port placement is a little awkward on the Kasa Spot, but it's hardly a deal breaker.

Kasa Spot: Features

TP-Link Kasa Spot review: Budget home security camera really hits the spot

You have to give credit to TP-Link for cramming so many features into such a small and cheap camera. It works with Alexa and Google Assistant, for a start, so you can ping the footage from your Kasa Spot up on a Fire TV device or Chromecast device with just a voice command.

Fortunately for our home, which is heaving under the weight of smart home kit to review, the Kasa Spot doesn't need a central hub or anything else plugged into your router – it just connects straight to the web.

Setup is a breeze, too, and only takes a couple of minutes using the accompanying app for Android or iOS.

Take it outside: Best outdoor smart security cameras

The 130-degree field of view is generous for a device of this price, and you get night vision (which, as you can see below, works fine), as well as two-way audio, should you want to calm a pet or talk down a would-be burglar through your phone.

Those apps for Android and iOS we mentioned are slick and smart, so you don't have to put up with substandard software with the Kasa Spot. The same can't be said for all affordable cameras, either - here's looking at you, D-Link.

TP-Link Kasa Spot review: Budget home security camera really hits the spot

The apps let you set up activity zones (so you can watch for movement near the door, but not on the television, say), and adjust the motion detection sensitivity. It's refreshing to see these sorts of features on something at an entry-level price.

Speaking of price, many a home security camera tries to get you to sign up for a cloud storage subscription after buying the hardware.

The Kasa Spot does have one, but it's hardly essential. You can keep up to two days of recordings (or up to 1GB of footage) for free, which should be enough for most people.

Spend £3 a month or £31 , and you can keep your recordings archived for 14 days and up to a limit of 14GB of storage space.

This Kasa Care service hasn't actually launched yet in the UK, so, if you buy a Kasa Spot now, you get access to the premium package for free until it's properly rolled out.

Kasa Spot: Video quality

TP-Link Kasa Spot review: Budget home security camera really hits the spot

We were impressed with the monitoring capabilities of the Kasa Spot. Video quality tops out at 1080p HD – some other cameras go up to 4K, which is obviously great to have, but 1080p HD, in our view, is fine for most users.

The camera was adept at spotting major movements in front of the camera, while ignoring minor ones, and you can always adjust the sensitivity in the app, if you need.

The app is clean and responsive, giving you access to as many Kasa Spots as you've got, plus whatever else from the Kasa brand you've invested in (like a smart plug, for example).

Buy now: TP-Link Kasa Spot - $43.99

Sifting through recordings was both quick and easy, and the camera was able to grab plenty of detail – a little less at night, but still good enough.

You get a few useful customization options, too: you can opt to set do not disturb hours when you don't get alerts, for instance. While other cameras might have more high-tier features, like the face recognition that the Nest cameras offer, the Kasa Spot just covers the essentials.

TP-Link Kasa Spot
TP-Link's Kasa Spot covers all the basics and covers them well, performing flawlessly during our testing. Considering the ultra-low price, this should absolutely be on the shortlist for your next home security camera. It's not quite in the elite tier in terms of video quality, hardware design or software options and extra features, but it comes close in every category. And, for most, it should be enough.
  • No hub required
  • Good quality video
  • Slick apps
  • No 4K recording
  • Cheap-ish design
  • No Kasa Care (yet)

TAGGED    security cameras

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