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Spy Pens: What to Look for in a Spy Camera Pen

written by: Kumara Velu•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 6/28/2011

Are you planning to buy a spy camera pen? Here are tips you should consider before making a purchase.

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    What to Look for in a Spy Camera Pen

    If you’re intending to capture video footage secretly for use as evidence for legal purposes, you would want to use a spy video camera. Spy video cameras come in such forms as sunglasses, watches, key chains and even packets of gum. The trick to choosing a spy video camera is going for a type that doesn’t draw attention to it or arouse suspicion.

    To this end, a spy camera pen is an ideal choice as people generally don’t pay much attention to pens because it’s a pretty common item.

    Spy camera pens come in different makes with different price tags according to the specifications. The one thing you must bear in mind is a spy camera pen is not a replacement for a dedicated video camera. Its main purpose is to capture video you would normally not be able to with a dedicated video camera. So, don’t expect video or audio quality you usually get from a camcorder.

    Here are some tips that will help you make an informed decision when buying a spy camera pen.

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    Ease of Use

    Before you even look at the other features of a spy camera pen, you will want to determine how easy it’s to turn the spy camera pen on and off. It’s no use having a sophisticated spy camera pen when you have to struggle with turning it on and off,

    Difficulty in turning the pen on and off may even arouse suspicion of those around you. Ideally, the pen should have the on/off switch at the top of the pen or around the clip section so that you can turn it on and off easily without arousing suspicion.

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    Recording Format

    What format does the spy camera pen record in? This is especially important if you want to edit your recorded video later or burn it to disc. As long as the video is recorded in a popular format like MP4 or 3GP, you shouldn't run into problems. Avoid spy camera pens which store video in little-known proprietary formats.

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    Battery Power

    How long will the battery last? If you’re going for continuous recording, then you can expect a longer battery power. However, if you’re going to make a new recording every now and then, expect battery power to run out faster. There are models that allow up to six hours of recording. However, entry-level models promise you not more than two hours of recording.

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    Storage Capacity

    Spy camera pens come with built-in memory ranging from 2GB upwards. At the time of writing, there are models with storage capacity of 32GB, allowing you to store 12 hours of video at a resolution of 352 x 288. These models are generally more expensive and you would have to consider whether you need that amount of storage space.

    Ideally, you will want to buy a spy camera pen with a low storage capacity but which comes with a Micro SD card slot which allows you to add extra storage space if the need arises.

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    Other Considerations

    If you intend to use the spy camera pen as a regular pen in the long term, you should look for a model which comes with a standard refill cartridge, especially if you don’t fancy carrying more than one pen around.