Have you ever been in an unpleasant situation when you needed to buy a product or service and you were fooled by the customer service? I was and I can tell you I wished I had some recording device in order to prove I was right, because, as you know, you can’t file a compliant and be believed without proof.
Although is many countries such a recording wouldn’t help much in court without having a reputable lawyer to stand out for you when it comes to the other person’s consent for being recorded, I still feel the need to present you a hidden camera solution that might help. Besides this, as I love watching action movies with secret agents, I’ve always been curious about spy gadgets and this time I have the chance to play with a digital pen camera, thanks to MiniInTheBox, who sent one over.
Having a long name like the Rechargeable Digital VGA-Quality Pin-hole Spy Video Camera +USB Drive Disguised as Working Pen (4GB), this small spy gadget comes in a smart shape of a black, refillable ballpoint pen that attaches to your shirt’s pocket easily.
Inside the pen you can find 4GB USB storage, the integrated pinhole camera module, the audio recording module and the pen functionality for writing notes on the go without anyone knowing what you’re actually doing. Besides these, you can use the spy pen to record presentation meetings so you won’t need to write everything on paper, while it also makes a friendly PC companion during video conferences, as it doubles as a web camera as well.
The built-in pinhole camera allows you to record video with sound at a good resolution of 640 x 480 pixels in the popular AVI format, which means you can play the videos with any media player application and on any portable media player device. You also can take 640 x 480 JPEG photos. To activate these functions you only need to press the button on top. When you’re done you need to plug the USB drive part into the USB 2.0 interface of your computer and transfer the files with drag-and-drop. On the included CD there is the PC Camera driver, the software for Windows 98 and a small tool for setting the time and date to be printed on the video.
The pen has a size of 5.91 x 0.6 x 0.6 inch at 5.71 oz and powers from a rechargeable Li-Ion battery. You can charge the battery either via the included AC adapter, or directly via USB. According to the product’s specifications, the spy pen provides 2-hour recording time from a full charge.
In the box
The spy gadget comes in a nice black box that reads „MP9 Digital Pocket Video Recorder” and features a magnetic closure. Inside you can find the product manual, the driver CD, an AC adapter, the USB cable and the two pen parts that have to be assembled.
Using the spy pen
Using the spy pen couldn’t be easier. Although I wasn’t able to take photos yet, I only had to keep the button on top pressed for three seconds to start recording. As I tested the video recording capability in daylight, the orange and blue lights on the back were not visible.
I used the spy pen while attached to my husband’s shirt pocket and on a paper notebook. It works the same both ways and when you’re done recording you can discretely turn the device of by pressing the button for another three seconds.
The video and audio recording quality
The most important aspect when using a spy gadget is, of course, the video and audio quality. You can’t do anything if the conversations and image are not clear.
I can say I’m satisfied with both features. The video image is clear and the audio as well. I’d give them 8 on a scale from 1 to 10.
Here is a sample video recording I took while in the park:
This spy pen is available at MiniInTheBox.com for a reasonable price of $29.99. I consider it affordable, because where I live it costs double.