DOD Tec, a Taiwanese company established in 1993, manufactures and distributes this premium pen through a variety of channels, most popularly on amazon.com
The device, of which we ordered two to field test (as usual) with actual Private Investigators collecting covert video on (suspected) insurance fraud claimants, arrived in nicely packaged boxes with an easy to read manual and containing only minor spelling and syntax errors so commonly found in products develped overseas.
Spec-wise, this device boasts a number of noteworthy figures, including 720p video recording, a 12 MP sensor and an 8GB memory capacity. On playback, we found the video quality to be above average, thanks to good contrast and sharp resolution. In addition, this device posses a ’loop recording’ option which essentially allows you to record continuously. When the memory card reaches capacity the device simply copies over the video already recorded. This can be useful in some capacities, but for professionals who use video in court they may wish to double check that the option is deselected so nothing is accidentally overwritten.
Another unique feature to this device is the ability to shield the lens with a protective slider door. We found this to be a useful asset given the rough and tumble nature of P.I work (running from our vehicles, throwing equipment in a duffle bag) which can result in a scratched lens. This of course also adds to the concealment ability of the pen camera,. That being said however the pen is rather large relative to normal writing instruments and will likely be regarded with some level of curiosity under any scrunity.
An 8GB internal memory comes with this device, of which the manufactuer claims 200 minutes of HD video or 30,000 pictures (4032×3024). We of course were not able to test the picture capcity (we do have a real job to do!) but the video recording time came in around this mark. With a device in this price range, an expandable/interchangeable memory would be of great benefit to professionals who need more run time or who are required to store memory cards (that is, the obtained covert video must remain on the original source it was recorded on to avoid the possibility of digital manipulation – this is often a requirement of the courts in some jurisdictions). Loses a point in this regard.
The 190mAh,Lithium-ion polymer battery provided acceptable usage, however we found after about 30 charges the length of time the device was operational was reduced drastically. We are somewhat concerned with this and will update once we have hit 100 full recharges.
Software was plug and play, uploaded via the USB connection. The device is compatible with Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7 as well as the Mac OS (we tested OS X Lion only). Time and date stamp was somewhat difficult to set up, however the manual as stated earlier is fairly concise.
A standard 1 year warranty applies covering parts and labor. As the pen is $170.99 however, we would like to see a longer standard
Overall, this is a very solid device and one we would strongly recommend for those with quality needs or professionals. The higher price point keeps this device from being a full 5/5.