#68: DVR Mini U8 Covert Spy Camera Review

I don’t remember how I stumbled across the DVR Mini U8 camera, but when I did I immediately ordered it.   I purchased this spy camera for less than $20.00 on Amazon and received it in a few days because I’m an Amazon Prime member. Yeah for me!

Shape of the Mini U8U8 spycamera

The DVR Mini U8 camera is shaped like a rectangle and slightly longer than the 808 Car Key Camera.  The length of the camera can easily be cupped in your hand and hidden relatively easy when obtaining video.  The camera shell is made of a smooth plastic but will not slip out of your hand.  I like the shape and texture of the camera.

Color of the Mini U8

The camera is black and the plastic is shiny/glossy.  This really doesn’t make a difference one way or another in my opinion.  There is an aqua colored strip that comes down the middle of the camera and really serves no purpose as far as I can tell.

Pictures, Video and Audio on the U8 DVR Camera

The video is not extremely sharp as there can be some slight pixilation on the video (at least indoors).  The video has good brightness unlike some covert cameras that will make video seem darker then they really are.  With that being said on a sunny day outside some video may look washed out.  I have seen worse video but I have also seen better.

The audio was pretty decent with the camera at arms length.  The audio did not crack and would be audio recording source if in close proximity of a conversation.

The pictures of the wall I took turned out great.  Though to be honest I never typically recommend using a spy camera to take pictures unless you have no choice but to use the spy camera to do so.

Is the DVR Mini U8 easy to Operate?Operation u8

I skimmed through the operations manual and was able to get the camera into video mode and begin videotaping very quickly.  By just pressing two different buttons you begin video tapping.  The same applies to taking pictures with the camera as well.

What I don’t like about the camera operation is that once you are in video mode there is no light or indicator to let you know if you are videotaping after an extended period of time.  There is no small flashing light (like many spy camera) that let you know all is well.

What I like About the Mini U8 Camera

I like the size, shape and the easy operation of the camera.  I don’t want to have to think very much while obtaining spy camera footage.  It has to be second nature or else I will worry too much about the camera and not on videotaping the individual.

The shape and size of the camera is a good fit for my style of obtaining covert video.

What I Don’t like About the Mini U8 Camera

I don’t like that there is no ongoing indicator light to let the user know the batter hasn’t died or that it is videotaping.  Another concern is the slight pixilation when videotaping indoors.

Other than those two concerns there isn’t a whole lot that I don’t like about the camera.

The U8 Camera has the Following Functions

Video

Camera

Motion Detection Video Recording

Audio Recording

DVR Mini U8 Camera Specs

The following specifications as indicated on the box:

Image Sensor – 1/3 COMS

Pixels – 30W

Weight – 60 grams

Encoding – MPEG – 4

Video Resolution – 1280*960, 720*480, 640*480 VGA

Frame Rate – 30 Ftp

Video Format – AVI

Battery Inside – 320mah

Work Time – About 2 Hours

Charge Time – About 3 Hours

Operation Voltage – 3.7V

Charge Voltage – 4.2 – 5V

Work Circuit – 110ma

Operating Temperature – <50 degrees

Camera Size – 120x95x44mm

Conclusion

Only time will tell how the camera holds up in actual surveillance conditions.  If anything changes regarding my opinion on this camera I will let you know. Other than my aforementioned thoughts this camera should be on your radar for consideration.

At the top of this article is the video review which shows the basic operating instructions and how to set the time on the DVR Mini U8 camera.

Here is an Amazon affiliate link for this product.

 

 

12 comments

  1. Specs say: Video Resolution – 1280*960, 720*480, 640*480 VGA

    Do you know how can I select one of these?

    • I do not know. I don’t recall my instructions saying that. You are likely only going to the lower video resolution.

    • From what I’ve read, hook up the unit to your computer via USB, create a text file in the root directory of the unit named “framesize.txt”

      In the text file just put a zero “0”.

  2. Regarding the U8 camera as a surveillance tool: I have two of these, and in motion detect mode (and possibly in all other modes) the camera shuts itself off in just over an hour, making it useless for keeping an eye on perps even overnight.

    Another concern: these cameras pack a lot of high tech software and hardware into a package that sells for less than $10. Has anyone investigated the possibility that when plug into your computer it may be installing spyware that sends your computer files back to China?

    • Alex,

      These cameras are not designed to be long running surveillance cameras. It is a cheap hand held spy camera alternative for private investigators and anyone else that needs it for similar purposes.

      As for spyware it could possibly be installing spyware. Keep your software up to date and have a spyware defender.

      Though I think it would likely have come to surface with as many people that purchase this type of stuff.

    • A simple hack to get this nifty little camera to work for extended durations is to open the plastic shell, remove the tiny LiPo battery, and solder a 9 volt pigtail and solder another 9-volt pigtail to a readily-available 3.7 volt LiPo battery (Sony 18650’s are cheap and have 2600 mAh). Just get your polarity right and you can have theoretical overnight surveillance.

      If you want to get fancy, drill a small hole in the plastic case, feed the pigtail ends through, then solder. This way you have up to 8 times the run-time in a still transportable formfactor.

      I’m not sure if the unit can charge a larger battery through USB, hence why I recommend the pigtails.

  3. FYI its not MPEG4 encoded, its MJPG encoding, about 30MB per minute of video.

  4. So. Have you found how to change to higher resolution for recording?

    • No. There is not a way to do that as far as I know. These are very inexpensive video cameras and you can’t expect to much from them.

      Andrew

  5. hi,

    my device make a lot of noise when vibrating and as the devices records and saves every 10 mins it vibrates and make its noticeable while hiding. can we stop the vibration of the device.

    • Hi Ricky,

      I don’t recall it doing that when I used it but I probably didn’t run video for 10 minutes at a time for my needs. I use to turn off the camera after 5 or so minutes to make sure any given video file was saved and then I would resume videotaping again. I would only recommend maybe picking up a different type of camera in the same price range that does not vibrate.

      Andrew

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