HAWKRAY M2 Mini Trail Camera Review

HAWKRAY M2 Mini Trail Camera

The HAWKRAY M2 is a great mini trail camera that offers exceptional performance. This new, updated version of the popular and affordable HAWKRAY M1 mini trail camera,  has a wide range of features and comes with a price that is hard to beat.

If you like to be stealthy with your trail camera setups and don’t want to alert any passers-by to the presence of your camera, a mini trail camera is the way to go, and the M2 could be just what you are looking for. So let’s find out.

Introducing the HAWKRAY M2 Mini Trail Camera

HAWKRAY M2 Mini Trail Camera

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The HAWKRAY M2 mini trail camera is a pretty impressive trail camera. Not only do you get a 20MP camera, which is nothing to sneeze at, and the ability to record 1080p video with audio, but you also get a long list of other features that you would expect on more expensive cameras.

Here is a quick summary of the camera with a more detailed analysis of its features further below.

Pros

  • Compact size
  • 20MP camera
  • 1080p HD video
  • Fast trigger speed
  • Wide detection angle
  • Color LCD screen
  • 32GB Memory card is included
  • IP65 weatherproof
  • Great price
  • Batteries are included

Cons

  • Low glow flash
  • Uses microSD cards

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Review of Key Features and Benefits of the HAWKRAY M2 Mini Trail Camera

Camera

The HAWKRAY M2 is a great option for anyone who is looking for a trail camera that can take a variety of pictures and videos. This camera has a 20MP camera, which is a nice upgrade from the 14MP that the previous version had. If you want to capture more pictures the photo burst setting allows you to take up to three pictures in rapid succession each time the camera is triggered.

It can capture videos in 1080p HD resolution. Plus, in addition to the standard photo and video modes that you expect on all cameras, the M2 also has a photo + video mode, which is my personal favorite.

Motion (PIR) Sensor

This HAWKRAY M2 mini trail camera has a single centrally located PIR sensor with a 120° degree detection angle. The detection range is a great 65 feet, which is about the average for trail cameras these days, but about what you would expect for a mini trail camera in the M2’s price range. The sensitivity of the sensor is adjustable to allow you to customize the camera for its environment.

Its wide detection angle and adjustable sensitivity will not only help ensure that you don’t miss a shot but will also help you minimize the chances of false triggers.

Trigger Speed

The trigger speed of this mini trail camera is impressive. It takes only 0.2-seconds to start recording. This speed makes the camera among the fastest in the market. This is even more true when you compare the M2 to the other min trail cameras on the market.

This fast trigger speed combined with its large 120° detection angle (that we already mentioned) will make it hard for anything to pass by the camera without being captured.

Flash

The Hawkray M2 mini trail camera comes with a 22-piece 850nm low glow IR LEDs that give it a 65-foot flash range. This flash range compares favorably with most other mini trail cameras.

The intensity of the flash is adjustable, which can be very handy as it helps you to customize the camera for its environment. I typically start out with the camera on the highest setting especially if I have the camera posted in a large open area. Then if you end up with a lot of activity that is super close to the camera you might find that things looked washed out and need to turn the flash brightness to a lower setting.

The low glow flash that is found on the M2 (and a ton of other trail cameras) shouldn’t spook the vast majority of game animals and doesn’t visibly illuminate the area they are directed at. However, it should be pointed out that these low glow infrared LEDs on the front of the camera will briefly give off a slight red glow when they are in use in use as the camera is capturing a picture or video. This means that if a person, deer, or other game animal is facing the camera during the time the flash is in use they could make out the location of the camera, which could be an issue for some people who want to use the camera for security purposes or plan to post it on public land and are worried about it getting stolen.

In my experience, even though I know that deer have noticed the LEDs glowing, it hasn’t seemed to spook any animals away. This includes big, old, experienced bucks. That said, to be fair, some people on the internet say that they think some bucks have been scared off by cameras with low glow flash.

It would be great if there were mini trail cameras out there that had now glow flash as an option, but at this time if you want a mini trail camera low glow flash is what you are going to see available. You can check it out for yourself with our tool that helps you find trail cameras with the feature you are looking for and you will see that mini trail cameras with no glow flash just isn’t an option at this time. You can learn more about the different types of flash available on trail cameras in our trail camera buying guide.

Dimensions

If you want a trail camera that has a slim profile and a camo exterior that makes it very easy to conceal and hide in its surroundings the Hawkray M2 mini trail camera won’t disappoint. Measuring 4.3 inches high x 3.6 inches wide x 2.4 inches deep, it can literally fit in the palm of your hand.

Time-Lapse Feature

Like most trail cameras that have been released since 2020, the M2 has a time-lapse feature that allows you to set the camera to take pictures at specific time intervals. For nature enthusiasts using the time-lapse feature is great for documenting slow-moving natural processes like a flower blooming. It can also allow you to monitor a large area, like an open field, that is well beyond the camera’s detection range.

However, it should be pointed out that as with almost all trail cameras with the time-lapse feature, turning it on disables the PIR sensor. In other words, you’ll need to choose between getting pictures at the time-lapse intervals you selected or capturing pictures or videos when the motion sensors are triggered.

Some people who are struggling with false triggers may opt to use the time-lapse feature to help them combat false triggers, but that would be my last option. Instead, I would use these tips for combating false triggers first.

Hours of Operation Timer

The HAWKRAY M2 mini trail camera comes with an “hours of operation timer” option in the settings menu. If you use this setting you can choose specific times of the day that you want the camera to be active. This hours of operation timer will help conserve battery life and storage space on your memory card by letting you only capture and save the images and videos that you care about.

LCD Screen

When you open the cover of the camera you will be able to view the 2-inch color LCD screen, which allows you to adjust the camera’s settings and view images and videos in the field. It is a small screen, but it is more than adequate to make setting up the camera quick and easy.

Some mini trail cameras don’t have an LCD screen at all so the fact that the HAWKRAY M2 mini trail cameras has one is a nice bonus. For those people who wished the screen size was bigger, you should know that there really isn’t much room to put a larger LCD screen on the M2 without increasing the size of the trail camera, which is the case for virtually all mini trail cameras.

Memory Card

Just like all trail cameras, you will need a memory card to store your photos and videos. The HawkRay M2 uses microSD/SDHC memory cards up to 32GB in capacity. The HawkRay M2 comes with a 32GB microSDHC memory card, which is great. However, as we discuss in our articles about how often you should check your trail camera and letting trail cameras soak, it is best if you have two memory cards for each trail camera so you spend less time in the woods and create less of a disturbance for the wildlife when checking your camera(s). So you will still probably want to pick up another memory card.

We should also point out that we are not big fans of microSD memory cards since they are small and easily lost and misplaced. This is doubly true, especially if it is cold outside when you are trying to remove or insert these cards into a camera. That said, a lot of mini trail cameras use microSD cards. So I wouldn’t let this stop me from buying this camera.

We recommend using Class 10 memory cards. If you are looking for a memory card that will perform great in the HawkRay M2 we suggest the SanDisk Ultra 32GB microSDHC memory card. Remember to format any memory card before first using it in the camera.

Password Protection

This camera comes with a password feature that you can use to restrict the use of the camera.

To use this feature you simply go into the settings menu where you will be given the option to create a password that you will use in the future to access the camera’s settings and the photos and videos it has taken.

Batteries

The HawkRay M2 is powered by 4 AA batteries. If you want to get the longest battery life from this trail camera we recommend using Energizer AA Ultimate Lithium batteries.

If you want to learn more about why we recommend the batteries we do you can read our article on the Best Batteries for Trail Cameras.

Sale
Energizer AA Ultimate Lithium batteries
  • 24 Pack of Energizer Ultimate Lithium AA Batteries
  • Leak proof construction protects the devices you love (based on standard use)
  • Powers your most critical devices ideal for your smart home devices, outdoor surveillance systems, digital cameras, and handheld games
  • Holds power up to 20 years in storage for trustworthy backup energy, so you’re always prepared. Warning: Risk of fire. Battery can explode or leak and cause injury if installed backwards, disassembled, charged, crushed, mixed with used or other battery types, or exposed to fire or high temperature
  • Performs in extreme temperatures, from -40F to 140° F, for year round, indoor and outdoor use

Input for External Power Supply

If you want to extend the amount of time you can leave the camera in the field unattended so you can let the camera “soak” you will be excited to know that the HAWKRAY M2 has an input for an external power supply.

There are lots of affordable external power supply options out there with one of them being the HAWKRAY Trail Camera Solar Panel that was specifically designed to be compatible with HAWKRAY trail cameras.

HAWKRAY Trail Camera Solar Panel
  • 【COMPATIBLE WITH MOST TRAIL CAMERAS】 The trail camera solar panel is compatible with almost all 4G/3G hunting game cameras, such as: Kool, Spartan, Snyper, Bushnell, CreativeXP, SPYPOINT, APEMAN. Its also suitable for outdoor security cameras powered by solar energy.
  • 【LARGE CAPACITY battery】 The solar panel built-in 5200 mAh high-capacity battery, the angle-adjustable base makes it fully absorb the energy of the sun, providing continuous power for hunting cameras. If the battery is insufficient due to extreme continuous rainy days, the lithium-ion battery supports USB charging.
  • 【6~12V VOLTAGE】 In order to adapt to various tracking camera models, this solar panel uses a wide voltage design and is compatible with 6v~12v devices. It can make your old trail camera work again.
  • 【EASY TO INDTALL & USE】 You only need to use bolts (included in the package) to fix the solar panel battery to the tree trunk or the wall of the forest wooden house. The 10ft cable allows you to put the solar panel in the highest position to better absorb sunlight.
  • 【QUALITY ASSURANCE】 As a professional manufacturer of outdoor trail cameras and accessories, we have full confidence in the quality of solar panels. If you have any questions about this product, please contact us, we will give you a satisfactory reply.

Image Stamp

The image stamp feature provides a lot of useful information about your recordings. Included details are the date, time, temperature, moon phase, and camera name (a 4 character name of your choosing).

It is also worth pointing out that you have the option to turn the stamp on or off. However, unless I was using that camera purely for nature photography, I would personally leave this setting turned on, as it is really helpful when you sort through your recordings to figure out patterns of behavior or if you plan on using the M2 as a security camera.

Included Accessories

In addition to the camera itself, the following items are provided in the packaging of the HAWKRAY M2.

  • 4 – AA batteries
  • 1 – 32GB memory card
  • 1 – Mounting bracket and screws
  • 1 – USB Cable
  • 1 – Mounting Strap
  • User Manual

Areas of Use

The HawkRay M2 is a versatile trail camera that offers a variety of uses including monitoring game animals, home security and surveillance, and nature photography. Its adjustable PIR sensitivity levels and adjustable brightness allows you to customize the camera to its surroundings.

Thanks to its compact size it is much easier to conceal than larger “traditional” sized trail cameras. However, if you plan on using the M2 in a way where it is critical that its location be concealed at night you need to remember that it has a low glow flash which could give away the camera’s location if the subject happens to be looking at the front of the camera when the flash is in use.

Pricing

The HAWKRAY M2 mini trail camera is a great affordable trail camera that offers a lot of value for its low price tag. It has a wide detection range, adjustable PIR sensitivity, and adjustable flash to go along with its small size and lightweight, making the M2 a great value.

Whether you are looking to buy one or multiple trail cameras, the M2 won’t break your budget.

Other Options

Campark T20 Mini Trail Camera

Campark T20 Mini Trail Camera- 16MP 1080P HD video

The Campark T20 mini trail camera is a great option if you are looking for a mini trail camera.

The T20 has a lower picture resolution (16MP) and a slightly slower trigger speed (0.5 seconds) than the HAWKRAY M2. That said, in the very recent past we considered the Campark T20 to be the hands-down favorite in the mini trail camera category.

All that said, the T20 offers some things that the HAWKRAY M2 doesn’t First it has a smaller size to help you conceal its location. Second, instead of using the tiny microSD memory cards, it uses the larger traditional sized SD cards not, which is much more convenient especially if you have big fingers or if it is cold outside.

When comparing these two cameras you should check the prices. Sometimes there are sales making one lower priced than the other.

If you want to learn more about the T20 you can read our Campark T20 review. Otherwise, you can check the price of the Campark T20 and buy it directly from Campark here. Note: Campark often has deals for first-time buyers or buyers who purchase multiple cameras.

HAWKRAY M1 Mini Trail Camera

The HAWKRAY M1 min trail camera is the predecessor to the M2. Typically priced lower than the M2 the only difference between the M1 and the more recently released M2, other than the slightly different camo patterns on their exteriors, is the 16MP camera on the M1 compared to the 20MP camera on the M2.

Beyond that, the included memory card with the M1 (also known as TCM-24N on Amazon) is 16MB compared to the 32GB card that is included with the M2. If you want to let the camera soak for extended periods you may want to use a 32GB card, especially if you like to record video.

Since these cameras are so similar you may want to compare prices and as you decide which one to buy. You can see the current price of the HAWKRAY M1 here.

Final Thoughts

When thinking of compact, weatherproof trail cameras, a lot of times we think of it as a camera that’s either too expensive or lacking in features. However, there are some very good reasons for someone who’s on a budget to consider the HAWKRAY M2 mini trail camera. It’s small, lightweight, super-affordable, and packs an incredible amount of features into its tiny frame. There’s no denying that this is a high-quality trail camera that is worthy of consideration from anyone considering getting a mini trail camera.

You can check the current price of the HAWKRAY M2 here.

Last update on 2022-01-14 at 15:02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API