I have recently acquired a 2GB MP9 Spy Pen Camera. The sole purpose of this was to record the stupidity of certain users at my workplace, because nobody really believes the bullshit i go through while doing my job, along with a discrete way to record a certain user that has not caught on to my work pranks.
Below is a pic of a few pens and a highlighter, for you to compare the size of these things. If you cannot tell, the MP9 camera is the 2nd from the top.
Off the bat, i thought this camera was going to be cool. It does look like a rather stylish pen if your not really paying attention to it. If you do pay close attention, you can see the three of the four holes, and the odd button on top.
To access the USB connector, you simply unscrew the lowerhalf from the upper half. I recommend grabbing the shiny silver part instead of the pen grip to seperate the two. This is how the device will charge and, of course, access your recordings. It shipped with a 5V 300-330mA charger as well, with a USB extension. Honestly i do not know how long it takes to charge at this point, but it does records for over an hour on a single charge.
Its a fairly simple device to use. To activate recording you just hit the button on top. The LED will turn amber, and in a few seconds, blue. Blue means the device is recording. In order to stop recording, push the button on top, and the light will turn to Amber, meaning Standby. If you long press the button, while the LED is illuminated , it will turn the device off. When the device is in Standby mode, if you push the top button, it will take a snapshot photo.
While the simplicity and the size of this device are some outstanding pros, it also does come for some cons. Image quality is rather poor in both snapshot photos and while videos are awesome in quality, the audio in wind is god awful. Sitting at a desk in my pen holder, it sounds fine, but once background noise is involved, you can here the horrible bitrate, especially when clipped to your shirt while riding a motorcycle. Also, when recording high speed motion, you can see that this is a cheap camera. I cannot remember what it is called, but it visibly stretches vertical objects horizontally.
Two little things i noticed with a little tinkering:
- If you hold the button and insert into the USB port, you can access the firmware files. Do not edit these files without properly backing them up. Editing these files can seriously brick your pen camera
- If you dismount the usb drive through windows, then press and hold the button on the camera, Plug and Play will prompt you to install the drivers for an “Anyka USB Web Camera”, which you can find here. SCORE! This means, you can run an USB cable from you pc, through the desk, through a pen holder, and have a very discrete webcam. Then using something like Yawcam, you can have a motion detecting system which will email you upon detection…
So in conclusion, was this camera worth the $20, shipped from hong kong… hell yea. Would i pay any more? probably not.