HikMicro M15 4G Trail Camera on test
Mat Manning puts the HikMicro M15 4G Trail Camera to the test
HikMicro M15 4G Trail Camera
Price as reviewed: £165
HikMicro M15 4G Trail Camera – a useful addition to your kit
Using a trail cam to see what’s going on around your shoot when you’re not there can be a real revelation. While any form of observation can provide useful information, it can be very surprising to see what quarry species get up to when left to their own devices. Of course, trail cams can also provide a valuable insight into the activities of unauthorised and unwelcome human visitors who don’t realise they’re being watched.
A lot of my shooting time is devoted to the control of grey squirrels, and I often use trail cams to monitor activity around my bait stations. Information gleaned from these cameras helps me to make sure the hours I spend in the hide with my air rifle coincide with the times when the destructive rodents are most likely to put in an appearance.
I also know lots of shooters who use trail cams to keep tabs on the comings and goings of foxes and deer, and these clever gadgets can play a very useful role in security. Photographs captured on a motion-activated camera helped me to put a stop to the repeated vandalism of my squirrel feeders a few years ago.
Earlier this year, HikMicro launched its M15 4G Trail Camera, which I’ve been putting through its paces over recent weeks. This unit retails for £164.99 and uses 4G cellular connectivity to send still images and videos directly to your phone. A free basic data plan allows you to receive 300 free photos per month until the end of 2023, and other packages costing between £4 and £13 per month are available through the HikMicro Sight app.
Need to know
- Manufacturer HikMicro
- Model M15 4G Trail Camera
- Price £164.99
- Dimensions 112x86x143mm
- Weight 440g
- Trigger speed 0.5 seconds
- PIR detection range 25m
- Supplied with fastening strap, SIM card, antenna, USB cable and quick-start guide
Simple set up
As someone who doesn’t like to spend too much time working out how to operate sophisticated electronic kit, I am pleased to say the M15 is very simple to set up. You begin by opening the weatherproof cover and inserting either six or 12 AA batteries and an SD card, none of which are supplied. The trail cam can then be synced with your phone at the press of a button — this facilitates connection to the Sight app and access to features including remote set-up and a cloud album.
The Sight app’s menu enables you to choose whether the camera is set to capture videos, photographs or both. You can also adjust PIR sensitivity and flash output, as well as selecting from delayed shot and scheduled shot modes. The camera can be set to run for two working times per day — either for short periods or right around the clock. This can all be done via your phone, so you can adjust settings and view captured photos and videos from anywhere.
As for how well the M15 actually works in real terms, I was very impressed with it. As already mentioned, I do a lot of grey squirrel control — and a squirrel is a comparatively small and flighty target to trigger a trail cam. Nonetheless, I captured a lot of very useful images and information during the weeks of my test period. (Read Mat’s advice on summer grey squirrel control here.)
Variety of wildlife
The colour daytime photographs and videos looked very good to me, and the discreet on-board 940nm IR light also enabled me to capture some really interesting black and white images after dark. The M15’s sensitive PIR trigger has a delay of just half a second, which proved to be fast enough to capture a variety of wildlife visiting my bait stations. The camera was even triggered by mice coming to raid peanuts at night. Admittedly, I had the camera set up just a few feet from the action, but if its trigger can be activated by tiny mice, it should have no trouble picking up foxes, deer and people out to its stated 25m detection range.
The M15 doesn’t just show you what’s going on around your shoot, it also tells you when it’s happening. Images and video recordings are stamped with the date and time of capture as well as moon phase and air temperature. I know from experience that this information can make a big difference when trying to build a picture of your quarry’s behaviour and habits, and how those habits change through different stages of the day and night and in different climatic conditions.
I used the supplied strap to attach the M15 to a tree next to my bait station, but the unit’s camo-finished armoured casing is threaded for the attachment of tripods and other camera mounts. Whichever option you choose, make sure the unit is securely fixed because — as with most trail cams — its motion sensor will be triggered if it sways in the breeze.
The proof of the pudding is in the eating, and the information I gleaned from the M15 helped me to bag no less than 14 squirrels during my first session in the hide. Not only had the camera confirmed that lots of bushy-tailed diners were pilfering peanuts, it also revealed that their activity was peaking during the last two hours of daylight — so that’s when I set up for my inaugural ambush.
Trail cams aren’t for everyone, and there are lots of shooters who may never have a need for one. For those who do want to take advantage of the insight they can provide, the HikMicro M15 4G provides a reliable solution at a sensible price. And if you’re concerned about having to shell out extra money for the monthly connectivity plans, you can always bypass that option and download images and videos directly from the memory card instead.
This is the smallest cellular trail cam on the market and manages to pack a lot into its tiny frame. It can capture still images and videos by day and night and send them to your mobile phone via the Spypoint Link app. Features include 0.5-second trigger time, low-glow LEDs and seven-day schedule set-up. Price RRP: £199.95
COVERT TRAIL CAMERA MP30
This offering records 30MP still images and 4K video and has a 25m detection range. It runs on eight AA batteries and trigger speed is just 0.2 seconds. Other features include 2.4in display, one to 10 shot burst and time, date, temperature and moon phase stamp. Price RRP: £165.99
Bushnell CORE No Glow Trail Camera
This camera shoots 24MP photos for sharp daytime images and videos and also has a 25m night range incorporating no-glow technology for improved stealth. Housed in a tough weatherproof casing, it’s covered by a two-year warranty, has a 0.3-second trigger speed and battery life of up to one year. Price RRP: £180