If you're in the market for a home security camera, you only have to spend a few minutes clicking around on the web to come up with a wealth of options. Many, many different makes and models are available across all kinds of price points.
That brings us to the Kasa Spot KC100 from TP-Link: if you want the basics at a reasonable price, then this is worth considering, based on the weeks we've had it keeping an eye on everything happening in our conservatory. It's one of the best cheap security cameras, in fact.
By the basics we mean motion detection alerts sent to your phone, short recordings of said events, and the ability to tap into a live feed through the Android and iOS apps from wherever you happen to be in the world. At this price though there are compromises: it's only an indoor camera, so won't withstand an onslaught from the weather, and the video quality tops out at 1080p HD.
Really though there's a lot to like. Consider the two-way audio, and the 130-degree field of view, and the night vision (apparently good to 20 feet or a little over six metres, which seems about right to us). You can set up to four custom motion zones for alerts – so you can, for example, get the Kasa Spot to warn you about motion near the window but not on the television screen. This is sometimes a paid-for extra with security cameras, so it's nice to see it available for free here.
Speaking of paid-for extras, there is, as usual, a subscription package available: for an extra $4 a month or $40 a year (roughly £3.20 a month or £32 a year) you can keep your recordings for 14 days rather than the usual two, up to a limit of 14GB for the paid plan and 1GB for the free plan. It's worth noting though that Kasa Care hasn't launched yet in the UK, and there's no word yet on when it will – install the Kasa Spot in the UK today and you get the premium package for free, until the paid-for add-on officially arrives.
TP-Link Kasa Spot review: setup and design
The TP-Link Kasa Spot is a breeze to set up: plug it in, install the app on your phone, and follow the instructions. It took us about five minutes to get up and running with the hardware, and there's no hub to connect to your router. No matter what your level of smart home expertise, you won't have a problem with this.
It's a dinky, neatly designed device, and can rotate around 360 degrees on its base plate for some extra flexibility. The USB power cable (which attaches to a mains adapter) needs to be connected vertically underneath the camera – it's a bit of an odd choice but only a minor problem in what's otherwise a neat design. It won't win any industrial design awards but it does the job.
As for the app, TP-Link isn't particularly known for its software prowess, but the Kasa app is really polished and responsive. The camera and its feed can be accessed in just a second or two, and if you've got other compatible TP-Link Kasa devices, these appear in the app too. Settings and options (like video feed quality) can be easily found.
We were only testing one camera here, but if you have multiple Kasa cameras installed, you can manage them all in the same app: the page for each device shows the live view and recently captured motion alert recordings. Notifications can be turned on or off for each camera very easily, or set to arrive inside a custom time window (e.g. office hours).
TP-Link Kasa Spot review: features and performance
We had no complaints with the motion detection or live feed capabilities of the Kasa Spot. The motion detection was perhaps a little on the sensitive side overall, but remember you can take advantage of the four custom motion zones, should you need to. We weren't constantly getting woken up in the night with unnecessary warnings.
Connecting to the video feed through the app is really simple, as is accessing features like two-way audio so you can speak to a pet or an elderly relative if needed. The 1080p HD video quality is excellent in the day, and very good at night too – the night vision capabilities aren't going to blow you away but will do very nicely.
You get more features with the Kasa Spot than you might think when looking at the price you pay: the high video quality, the night vision, the custom activity zones, the two-way audio, the 130-degree field of view, and even the rotating base so you can quickly twist the camera around to face any direction you like.
The Kasa Spot is compatible with both Alexa and Google Assistant as well, which means your video feed can be sent to either an Echo Show or a Chromecast with a simple voice command. It's not something we can imagine ourselves using very often but it offers at least some integration with your other non-TP-Link devices.
TP-Link Kasa Spot review: verdict
The TP-Link Kasa Spot is a perfectly fine home security camera for indoor use. The video quality, motion detection sensitivity, app interface and bundled two days (or 1GB) of cloud recordings all add up to a very appealing package if you're shopping on a budget.
Okay, you don't get the more advanced features that some of the Kasa Spot's rivals have, like the ability to recognise individual people, but for the price you're paying it's really an excellent deal. Remember that the more expensive alternatives often come with pricier subscription packages as well, and the Kasa Spot subscription is very much optional – or it will be, when it launches in the UK.
Apps and software can often let down cheaper hardware but that's not the case with the Kasa Spot: the bundled app here is polished and intuitive, and the integration with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant is a definite bonus.
For quick, easy and cheap video monitoring of your home, without any need for a hub or an ongoing subscription, the TP-Link Kasa Spot ticks a lot of boxes. If you already have some smart home kit made by TP-Link installed, so much the better.