Getting affordable CCTV or security cameras installed is now easier than ever thanks to the Google Home and Google Assistant ecosystem, and the TP-Link Kasa Spot indoor security camera is arguably one of the best affordable options on the market right now.
Security cameras are arguably one of the biggest growth areas within the Google Home and Google Assistant ecosystem. The introduction of the Smart Display portion of the Assistant last year has opened up a portal for Wi-Fi enabled security cameras to latch on and give you round-the-clock home security.
TP-Link has wholeheartedly embraced the Google Home and Nest Hub with the Kasa line of smart home tech. Not only does the networking brand know how to make quality Wi-Fi connected hardware, they know how to make it affordable too.
As far as entry-level indoor security cameras go, the TP-Link Kasa Spot camera might be one of the best cost-effective options to get you started. Here’s why.
Design & Hardware
Unlike the TP-Link Kasa Cam KC120, the Spot is a much more bubbly and friendly-looking smart security camera. It’s much smaller for a start but that doesn’t mean it lacks design quality. The same glossy black front with the centrally placed camera hole and lens is somewhat retained from the KC120.
I would have to say it does remind me of a webcam more than a security camera in all honesty. Part of that is the size, and part is because the TP-Link Spot camera is made from plastic. Personally, I would have to say that this is both a good and a bad thing. Firstly it does help save on costs, it also means it’s lightweight and easy to place without damaging walls, shelving units and more.
The bulbous head that contains all the necessary camera tech can be adjusted and tilted to aim at a specific point in your home, making it ideal for usage for just about any room in the house. It doesn’t come with any sort of magnetic stand though, so for certain placements, you will either have to hook the Spot camera or stick it to a wall or adjacent plinth.
I will say that I personally find the diminutive camera just a little less noticeable than it’s bigger brother the KC120. Although conversely, I’ve had house guests ask what it was more so than I did with the KC120. As I have said previously, the simple design is neat and tidy.
As always, a security camera — in my eyes — can be one of two things: a visual deterrent or a hidden evidence gathering tool. I am not advocating using the Kasa Cam system as the sole piece of home security that you add to your property but they are helpful for a multitude of reasons.
At the back of the rounded square camera head, you’ll find a sole micro USB power port, which is great as it opens up the ability to power the Kasa Spot camera via a power bank. This is especially great for those wanting a cheap baby monitor as this camera does include two-way audio on top of the camera features.
Unlike many other smart cameras, the Kasa Spot doesn’t require any local storage, as all footage is stored in the Kasa Cloud companion app. No need to fumble around with micro SD cards and worrying about overwriting clips.
Installation & Set up
Installation really is a breeze with the TP-Link Kasa Spot camera, the only major frustration is having to reconnect to a Wi-Fi network that you may already be connected to. That is likely a security feature in and of itself, so I can forgive and forget.
Heading into the Google Home app allows you to add the Kasa service to your device and it really is the best way to manage smart home tech in my opinion. During the set up process, you can make adjustments to how you get notifications and adjust the resolution of your camera recordings.
You can go down as low as 480p for your video recordings or as high as 1080p. To get the most out of your 1GB of free cloud storage you may think that 480p is wise. I would advise against doing that and keep video resolution at 1080p as you can always download any footage if it contains anything of note.
Once you have added the camera to your Google Home account and it is all set up and ready to go, you’ll have to name the camera. My advice would be to use a nice simple name. This helps mainly as an intricate name becomes difficult for voice control systems.
Control & Integration
As with all products in the line, the Kasa app acts as the hub for all of your camera system controls and video management. To link to your Google Home account, you simply need to access the Home app and link your account from within here.
You can ask Google to perform basic commands like show you the camera on your Nest Hub or on your TV (via a Chromecast device), the more advanced controls will need to be managed via the dedicated Kasa application.
Genuinely, the camera viewing feature is one of the neatest additions in my opinion as this can link with your Google Home devices, Smart Displays, and even your Chromecast so that you can view live streams direct from your Spot camera.
When viewing a live stream of your Kasa camera, you can activate the microphone button to broadcast directly out of your camera speaker and interact with those in the shot. In my opinion, this is what makes the Kasa Spot camera one of the best smart baby monitors on the market right now.
The rest of the application controls offered by the Kasa app give you a decent level of management all for free. At the point of set up, you’re able to adjust when the application notifies you of movement and at that point, the camera starts recording and video and audio.
If you set camera sensitivity to high, then expect a constant barrage of notifications which can become pretty annoying after a short while if you point your camera at a pet for instance. My advice would be don’t do that but I understand that as a baby monitor it would be worth the frustration for peace of mind.
One benefit of this is that you’re able to set up to four motion-detection zones to limit these notifications or simply set the camera to monitor one area of a room. This could be useful for simple things like monitoring your mailbox, therefore giving you a notification when you receive a package or the mail. It really opens up a multitude of home tracking options. It’s definitely worth pointing out that you don’t often get these kinds of camera control features on such affordable home camera systems.
Clips, when recorded, are presented within the app in a chronological list that allows you to quickly and easily scroll through the entire recorded feed and you can play those right away or download them by pressing the ‘more’ button.
It’s worth noting that the Kasa Cam is able to store up two days worth of video recordings or the equivalent of 1GB of video without the need for a subscription. You can increase storage and the time that the Kasa app holds videos via either a $4 a month subscription or a $7 a month subscription — per camera.
The ‘plus’ subscription nets you a 14-day recording history and space for up to 14GB of video clips. The ‘premium’ subscription keeps up to 30GB of video clips for up to 30 days. I am personally happy with the ‘free’ tier as with notifications I understand that I can simply download the video without ever needing to pay for cloud storage.
With the de facto King of smart cameras from Wyze now being compatible with the Google Assistant and Google Home devices, it would be easy to simply concede that the Wyze camera is the best way to add security camera functionality to your smart home for less than $50. While the Wyze system has its benefits, the ease of integration and extra tools that come with the TP-Link Kasa Spot indoor security camera make it a solid alternative — that doesn’t cost much more.
You get two-way audio and night vision capabilities, although being limited to 15fps footage at 1080p might not be ideal for some — even more so if you want an outdoor security option. That said, for basic security tracking, I have found it more than enough. Having a wide 130-degree field of view is great for placement in the corner of a room and getting almost blanket coverage with little-to-no black spots.
Where the Kasa camera system and the Spot camera beats out all other options, in my opinion, is the free cloud storage. You would think that 1GB is not enough but if you download any notable pieces of footage to your phone using the notification feature, it really doesn’t seem necessary to pay extra for storage you’ll likely have filled with useless footage.
Where to buy the TP-Link Kasa Spot
Naturally, there are a ton of places that you can pick up the TP-Link Kasa Spot camera. The ever reliable Amazon has prices starting at just under $50 for one camera. Grabbing a multi-pack of three security cameras is a cheaper option though, as at just under $120 you can get pretty substantial home coverage.
B&H Photo offers the Kasa Spot at the same base price but often has 25% off coupons should you be patient when looking to purchase. You can get the Kasa Spot camera from stores such a Best Buy too, with pricing starting at $50.