I am not a super technical person, but when I heard that I was going to get to test a mini surveillance camera, I was pretty excited. Visions of Mission Impossible and 007 movies whirled through my head. But the more I played with the Mega Mini Spy Camera, the more everyday uses (both anticipated and unplanned) for this type of product occurred to me. The Mega Mini Spy Camera Pro Built-In DVR, $145.95, is a high resolution miniature camcorder primarily used as a surveillance camera or portable camcorder. Because of its size, it’s designed for covert recording because it fits almost anywhere and is completely wire free so you can place it literally anywhere.
Inside the box along with the the Mega Mini Pro, is a charger, a short instructional manual, a neck strap, a clip, a cleaning brush, Velcro, a SD card, and a USB cable. You may not need to use all of the accessories.
The Mega Mini Pro measures in at around 1.5 inches tall and 3/4 of an inch wide, which makes it one of the smallest spy cameras available. This camera is perfect for covert recording or spur-of-the-moment events you may want to capture thanks to its small size and portability. I can imagine carrying the Mega Mini Pro in my backpack or purse all the time. I also like that it’s battery powered and wireless, so all it takes is pressing a couple of buttons to start recording.
Besides the actual camera, the additional accessories make the Mega Mini Pro a versatile camera. For example, there’s a flexible bracket that holds the camera so you can mount it in your car, in your home, or clip it on your clothes or backpack. The accessories also allow for hands-free and body worn recording.
I used the manual to guide me through the set-up process, but it’s so straightforward I won’t need it next time. Since the camera has a built-in DVR, it requires a micro SD card, so make sure you insert the included 2Gb SD card before you start recording. There is a picture diagram imprinted on the side of the camera telling you which way to insert the SD card. After you record some video and are ready to transfer it to your computer, connect the camera to your computer using a USB cable (also included). Of the ten videos I took, that range from a few seconds long to around 30 seconds, it took less than five minutes to upload all of them onto the computer. It will prompt you to open up JPG, WDP, and BMP. I wasn’t exactly sure what this meant, but I clicked on JPG and sure enough my videos were there.
Recording with the Mega Mini Pro is pretty basic, since it uses the green light system of alerting you if it’s recording. Flip the switch on the top of the camera to “on” and a blue light on top of the camera should go on if the camera is charged. Then hit the button on the top, and you’ll know you’re recording if the light is blinking green. To stop recording, hit the button again, which will turn back to blue. Overall, simple and clear.
The Mega Mini Pro can be a stand alone camera, or you can put it in the holder that has a clip. At first I tried clipping the camera to the neckline of my sweater, but it is top-heavy so it was pointing down and would have only recorded my feet. It would have worked better if I clipped it on a heavy coat or jacket. I wasn’t wearing anything magnetic, so first I opted to use my hands and secondly the Velcro to attach the bracket to my clothing. The camera actually fell off my sweater, so I tried putting it on my jeans, where it stuck perfectly, even while I was walking.
When viewing the handheld recordings, sometimes there were flashes of white light and other times white things had a yellow tint. I believe it had more to do with my shaky camera skills than the actual camera. When the Mega Mini Pro is steady, the colors are pretty normal. I think the best results would be when recording outside during daylight hours, although it does work in low light situations. That being said, the resolution was extremely clear especially for such a tiny camera.
When I viewed the recordings on my computer, the audio was clear during all my footage. This is a great tool because if you are in a hectic moment like coming across a celebrity on the street and you forget to hit the record button, the device will automatically start recording when it detects audio. The Mega Mini Pro picked up voices very clearly from about 8 feet away, and in one of my videos it picked up cars beeping from 3 stories below. The drawback of using the Mega Mini Pro as a handheld camera is that it picked up the noise of my fingers hitting it, a muffled tapping noise. Keeping the device in one hand or using the accessories gets rids of this extraneous noise.
The Mega Mini Pro’s rechargeable battery lasts up to 2 hours.
I have never used any type of hidden camera before, let alone one this small. But after using the Mega Mini Pro, I would recommend it even to the least tech-savvy of us. From recording a bike ride to capturing an unanticipated moment to recording a source for a journalistic report, anyone can find a use for the Mega Mini Pro. To get the highest quality video and audio from someone, attach the camera somewhere on your upper torso. If you are wearing a jacket, clip it to a front pocket. Being as close as possible will pick up the audio the best and utilizing the accessories will minimize shaking.
I’d suggest trying the whole process, from recording to transmitting the footage to the computer, before a planned event so you can practice using the Mega Mini Pro, especially if you have little to no camera experience. It’s like tying your shoes; once you’ve done it right once, you’ve got it. This way you can also find out the audio range so you can better plan where you need to be.