Things to Consider Before Buying A Spy Camera
Why not just buy a regular video or home security camera?
Everyone tends to be a little camera shy. There are many who won’t be comfortable around your home when a security camera has all eyes on them. While this is one way to also secure your home, some people will find ways around your camera. Just as they would if you were there, they could easily act great when in view but behave differently when out of your camera’s periphery.
With a spy camera, you’ll easily catch them in the act, whether it’s the bad nanny, a snooping friend, or a cheating spouse, the truth will set them free. Here are some of the best spy cameras in the market. If you’re still undecided after this list, keep reading to find our buyer’s guide on what to look for in a spy camera.
The best spy cameras may not always be the same for everyone. Depending on your needs, and the main reason why you are looking to get a spy camera in the first place, what you’re looking for might not be in our list of top spy cameras. However, no matter what the purpose, we can give you a few key things to look for in a spy camera.
Video and Image Storage Capacity
Before purchasing a spy camera, knowing just how many videos and images it is capable of storing is a necessary bit of information. A reliable spy camera should be able to store a few hours worth of videos. Most gadgets have a built-in ability to delete the oldest files to make room for newer videos. While this might be a good function since you no longer need to manually delete old files, it can be frustrating when you need a specific video recording from a few days back and then find that it has been deleted. If you’re looking for something that you need to only use from time to time and have no problems with manually uploading files to your computer or phone, storage capacity may not be a large factor to look at. However, if you need a spy camera that should be able to monitor your home throughout the day and night, then this feature is one to look into. Luckily, most spy cameras have expandable storage. Better yet, newer gadgets have Wi-Fi or Phone connectivity features that allow the device to automatically store the video records on your phone or computer. You have a near unlimited storage capacity in this case. Plus, the ease of being able to view the videos without having to take out the spy camera.
There are other formats that manufacturers utilize to optimize storage space and the video quality, however, these formats may require certain video software or apps to play on your device. This can be quite a hassle when you need to easily view files. However, most spy cameras that do this usually have an integrated software that you can easily download or install when you first get the device set up.
Video Resolution and Image Quality
A spy camera that is unable to give you clear videos would be unable to fulfill its main purpose of surveillance. But, again, depending on your purpose, the level of video quality can vary. You might only be looking to see how many people come and go in your business and don’t need clear and crisp video resolution. Or you might want something that could give you HD - the kind of videos you could zoom in 10 times to spot the car’s plate number. While crime shows have been setting quite unrealistic standards in terms of camera resolution, there are many options that give you great video quality.
Video Recording Time
There are actually different ways spy cameras record videos. First is through continuous video recording. A continuous stream of short clips that are time stamped and organized on file is recorded the moment you turn the device on and it stops only when you turn it off. If you’re looking for something to give you 24/7 surveillance, your spy camera should be able to record continuously. The second type of recording is when the camera has motion sensors that activate video recording only when there is motion detected. This can actually be great for your storage and it saves you time from having to browse through multiple files where literally nothing is happening.
It’s important to note that not all mini spy cameras come with audio recording capability. Most of the newer gadgets have this feature but you should always check and never assume that the piece of spy tech you are looking at does have it. After confirming that the spy camera does record audio, the next thing to look at - or in this case, listen to - is the audio quality. Most spy cameras have a decent level of audio quality. However, this is usually nowhere close to the type of audio that you would get with regular video cameras.
Most mini spy cameras also have a limited amount of space to put in a mic, so it’s quite common for these devices to only have a single mic for recording. This makes it quite easy for the mic to be muted out when items accidentally block it. An easy way to circumvent problems with audio recording if it is an absolute necessity for your surveillance is to install additional hidden mics to capture audio.
A large storage capacity will be fruitless if the camera can’t stay on long enough to capture videos. The tricky thing with spy cameras is hiding it into the background. Some cameras have a power cable that you can plug in but this would make it easy to find. People would find it suspicious when they see a random wire plugged in. Most cameras, however, depend on a built-in battery.
Ease Of Use
When you get a spy camera, you’ll have to set it up and get it in place. There can be a few devices that are difficult to use, even with the instructions. On the other hand, there are some that are extremely easy to get ready. If you’re not that good with handling complicated tech, you’ll probably have a hard time setting up and getting your spy camera working if you opt for one that isn’t user friendly. You can always get a professional or a friend to help set it up for you, but you’ll have to share the secret with them. However, most cameras come with detailed instructions and a user’s manual that, although most people don’t really bother reading, should have all the details you need to get your device working.
Mini spy cameras are relatively easy to set up. Their small size and design usually allow you to just stick them in a corner. Other spy cameras have a specific “camouflage
” that makes it appear as another object. Most common spy “items” are sunglasses, pens, and clocks. But you can even find other spy cameras that are disguised as water bottles, light bulbs, and many other objects you’d usually find around the house. The important takeaway from this is that you’ll have to consider where you are planning to put your spy camera before deciding on a final purchase.
Most of the recent spy cameras offer a waterproof feature or some level of water resistance. While you may not have any plans to bring the device out for a swim anytime soon, there can be many things that can happen in your home. A few drops from a spilled glass of water could easily cause your spy gadget to short circuit if it lacks this feature. However, knowing where you’ll be placing the spy camera and what the main purpose is should also help to determine whether water resistance is a key feature that you need.
The last main characteristic that you need to evaluate is the product’s durability. While most users have no direct way of testing this out until they actually use the spy camera, browsing through reviews and past customer experiences can give you some clue to how well the camera lasts. The materials that make up the device also factor in on its longevity. Flimsy plastic materials are unlikely to hold up with more durable polymers or metal components. Also, while there are still several spy cameras from less known brands that offer great quality and durability, popular brands often let out higher quality products that are trusted to last.
Other Features To Look For
Aside from the main things to consider, there are also a few other specialized features that can bring a spy camera to the next level. These features may not always be necessary but these are a few great things to have on a spy camera.
Spy device developers have started creating apps and software that easily connects with the actual device. This means that you can connect your spy camera directly to your phone, laptop, or desktop PC; enabling you to view the recorded videos directly or even LIVE. Added functionalities include changing views or moving the lenses of the camera to get a different perspective of the scene and basically using your phone as a remote control for the spy camera. This makes it extremely convenient. Great if you want to have more control over your surveillance.
In order to connect, most cameras rely on a Wi-Fi connection. Others, however, use Bluetooth or other methods for connectivity. The most convenient connectivity mode is definitely when the device is able to connect to the internet. For one, it saves storage since the camera can directly upload new videos into a virtual storage space which you can easily access with other devices. Plus, with a Wi-Fi connection, you are also likely to have the option to view the camera recording live.
In order to connect, most cameras rely on a Wi-Fi connection. Others, however, use Bluetooth or other methods for connectivity. The most convenient connectivity mode is definitely when the device is able to connect to the internet.
This feature is especially useful for a spy camera that you are planning to use for home surveillance. With motion sensors embedded in the device, you’ll only limit recording to when there is movement or activity in an area. In this case, you are able to avoid recording several hours of footage where there is nothing noteworthy occurring. It lessens the hassle of going through recordings when you are looking for a specific event.
Night Vision Mode
Also another feature that you should look for if you need a mini spy camera for home surveillance is the night vision mode. A handy spy gadget is one that is able to record videos even in the dark. Whether you are looking for a gadget that you can use indoors or outdoors, night vision capability is a cool thing to have. I would actually consider this a must-have feature for any spy gadget.
You’ll often find spy cameras disguised as random gadgets that you can normally find around the house. There are many different styles that are available, each fitting a variety of situations and purposes. Overall, spy cameras are a great device to have. They provide protection, surveillance, and give you a sense of safety in your home as long as you use the spy camera for your own safety, and not as a gadget to harm or infiltrate the safety and privacy of others.