This new model T40 from Toguard arrived devoid of all product packaging but was delivered in a plain bag inside of which was the camera itself, semi-rigid carry case, retaining tree mount strap, micro-USB to USB cable, User Guide. The lack of proper packaging must seriously reduce the appeal of the item as a gift, a great pity. Although the camera itself is made of plastic and is rather lightweight nevertheless build quality seems fine. The User Guide is large, reasonably well printed and in understandable English. I include key sections scanned to the end of my unboxing video. Switch to full screen and pause as needed to read it.
The camera takes six AA batteries, a lot but it means it can be left to operate untended over extended periods. Take note that if used intensively the batteries will quickly run down but in normal use should last up to six months. The batteries are housed in a compartment in the main body of the unit. It has the option to use an external 6v power supply (not supplied). On the front of the device are the lens, infrared LED panel, wide angled motion sensor and the flap protected LCD screen. On the bottom are clips to secure the access panel to the ports and battery chambers, the clips work well but I would prefer it had they been more robust. When the clips are released the flap reveals the micro-USB memory card slot, micro-USB port, and power switch. The power switch has three positions for Off/TEST/ON. Set it to TEST to access the settings screen. Fitting the memory card can be a little tricky particularly when on site and the camera is probably best removed from the mount and inverted to make the task easier. On the underside is a metal tripod screw and on the top, a grommet protected external power supply input. The camera is rated IP56 which means it should withstand heavy rain but not water immersion.
Some trail cams just have a standard motion sensor on the front, others have front and side sensors. This one has a single sensor but it has a 120-degree wide angle view so it should be able to match the multi-sensor rivals whilst consuming less power to do so. When positioning the camera be to ensure that the lens, LED panel and sensor are not obstructed. You can secure it to a tree or post using the supplied belt. It is a pity no tripod is included as the camera cannot stand up unsupported.
Although there are plenty of refinements and fine-tuning that can be made in fact the camera can be up and running very quickly with the default settings. However, for best results and to conserve the batteries it is worthwhile taking care to position the camera correctly and to fine tune the settings. Take note that the only way to change the settings is using the remote control (housed in a panel on the rear of the device) and if the remote is lost then you cannot change the camera configuration. The remote can also be used to take pictures and video but since it is a simple line of sight unit it can only realistically be used to change the camera settings. After inserting the batteries and removing the gels covering the lens and sensors and screen, switch it to TEST mode and press the MENU button on the remote. From here you can now set the image and video resolutions, video recording lengths and other parameters such as time stamping, time lapse, scheduling etc. One particularly useful feature is that you do not have to choose between Video or Stills as you can set it to record both at once.
The batteries will last up to six months on standby but because I did not take care when positioning the camera and configuring the sensors I found I was down to 50% in one day. Avoid setting camera where it can be triggered by moving foliage and reduce the sensitivity of the motion sensor to the minimum needed. Due to the one second minimum delay between the trigger and the camera starting try and position it in a place either where wildlife moves towards the camera or where it may remain in place. If a subject just passes quickly through the frame you may miss it.
I was pleased and not a little surprised by the photo and video quality, too often budget trail cameras fall down here by using cheap hardware to save production costs, but not so here. Image quality is excellent for both Video and stills.
This camera can be great fun if you have a big garden and wonder what goes on there when you are away. Those with more sophisticated needs might prefer rival but more expensive products.
Good image quality
Good build quality
Simultaneous stills and video option
wide-angle motion sensor
Good User Guide
Audio recording option
Date/Time/location/temperature stamp options
IP56 water resistant
Heavy battery drain when used intensively
32GB maximum card
Fitting the memory card can be tricky
Top heavy when batteries fitted
Can only be controlled with remote