ThinkGeek is a popular online retailer distributing a large variety of items ranging from clothing to unique gadgets and gizmos. We recently ordered two of their spy pen spy cameras to give a whirl. The products shipped out of Ohio and we received our neatly packaged pen cameras within only a few days of ordering.
The spy pens are black with silver accents and he device has an overall light plastic feel which is simply not satisfying to hold (not to sound too pretentious!). The video lens is located as per most devices directly above the clip. In terms of size, the spy pen camera is chunkier than some of its competitors, but this is not detrimental to any large degree. Black ink rolls out of the pens tip with ease (if that is something you are concerned with). Overall we would rate the build quality of this device 3/5.
The ThinkGeek Spycam Video Pen Camera is equipped with a sensor capable of 640×480 resolution which records at 30fps in the .AVI format. On playback, the video was decent, colors were somewhat washed out and the frame rate was over advertised A more accurate framerate specification would be around 20fps. Low-light testing revealed a serious weakness with the device, so if you planning on using the pencam in an area without adequate lighting, be warned. Not mentioned on the website is the spy camera pens ability to take still images which are saved in JPEG format. The audio of the device is solid, and it even captured bits of a telephone conversation from another investigator in a closed office.
The spy camera pen is operated by a button located on the top of the device. Holding and pressing it in different sequences initiates recording or picture taking. Simply twist the device while griped on either end and it unscrews to reveal a USB port. Insert into your computer (works on both Mac and Windows based machines) and simply access the drive to retrieve your files. We found VLC player to as always to be our choice media program. The video pen comes with a 4GB internal memory drive, which is likely sufficient for most needs. We always prefer however the option of expandable memory to suit your circumstances.
The ThinkGeek pen pinhole camera comes equipped with a rechargeable Li-ion battery the provides two hours worth of record time. In our testing we found this to be accurate. We also noted after approximately 30 charges, the device still retained most of this power.
ThinkGeek has excellent customer care relative to other online vendors, however be warned this device can be exchanged within 30 days but there is NO warranty. That is an important thing to consider, particularly because pen cameras have notorious reliability issues. The two devices we tested are no exception, as one of the spy pens seemed to glitch out a few days before we sat down to write this review.