Teton Webstores reached out to me at the end of 2015 and asked that I conduct a review of their Spy Pen Camera from www.penrecorderpro.com. Their particular model for this camera is the HD500. Though I have reviewed a spy pen camera in the past I was particularly interested in their version of it because their model allowed for covering up the camera lens and did not have a blinking light in the back of the camera when videotaping.
Below are some of the highlights of the HD500 Pen Camera that will make you consider this device for your next spy cam purchase.
Look and Feel of the Camera
The camera is larger than the previous pen camera I reviewed several years ago. It feels sturdy and heavier and doesn’t have a cheap feel to it. It’s as if some serious thought went into designing this camera. I can imagine this camera lasting a long time.
The button on the top of the camera does not look like a button and complements the design of the pen.
2 Extra Ink Pens Refills Included
It’s almost as if they knew you might not carry the pen camera around if it didn’t function as a pen. On the other pen I reviewed the ink eventually dried up or ran out. Either way it could no longer function as a pen in the traditional sense.
Having extra ink will make the owner of this pen happy knowing it will pass as a true pen if needed and they will have back up ink when it eventually runs out. It is very thoughtful that it was added to the package.
Hidden Lens Cover
This function in particular was one of the reasons I asked to review this pen instead of something else. A lens cover helps to keep this pen covert when needed and protects the lens from water or dust when it is not being used.
This is such a simple yet effective addition to the pen that every one making spy pens will likely follow this design.
I know a lot of people that are concerned about camera holes in spy cameras being visible close to other individuals and this will put them at ease. They were truly listening to consumer concerns about spy cameras.
I give to thumbs up to the feature!
Internal Memory (16GB)
Honestly I didn’t know how I felt about it only having internal memory but after testing the camera and pulling video from it I felt as though it was better for my needs and gave me one less thing to worry about.
With this camera I don’t have to worry about losing the small micro SD card or purchasing one in addition to purchasing a camera. And 16GB of memory is plenty of space for a typical surveillance investigator’s needs (In my opinion of course).
No Blinking Light in the Back of the Camera While Videotaping
One of the biggest complaints that I see with spy cameras is blinking lights on them. This isn’t my personal complaint but many others have expressed their dissatisfaction. Many people in the past has asked how to disable it and I have no answer other than to stick some tape over it.
I think their thoughtfulness of removing the blinking light when videotaping is again a reflection of a company listening to consumers concerns and acting on them in the right way. I give to thumbs up to the feature as well!
Customize Settings and Set the Time with Ease
Never have I reviewed a camera that has an entire dashboard for you to customize how your video camera operates when it comes to spy cameras. By just going to the settings you can change the following features:
- Date and Time Automatically (love this feature)
- Image Quality
- White Balance
- Time Stamp (On or Off) (For those who want the option)
- Video Frame Size (1080p or 720p)
- Frequency of Optical Source
- Audio Volume
Many people hate setting the time and the ability to configure it with ease will make many people happy.
I have heard many people ask over the years how to turn off a time stamp (because spy cams aren’t always used by private investigators) and I never have an answer for them. If they purchase this camera they won’t have to worry about time stamps anymore.
I really enjoyed this dashboard.
Video Quality and Photo Quality
Both the video and photo quality were very good in my opinion. It isn’t perfect but I was pleased with it for my purposes of using this when conducting surveillance.
If I can identify things clearly (like my subject or a vehicle) then I can’t ask for much more than that. I did notice that the 1080p video setting had much better low light video then the 720p.
Specs Provided by Amazon Page
Video Format: AVI
Video Frame Rate: 30FPS | 60FPS
Video Resolution: 1080P: 1920×1080 | 720P: 1280×720
Photo Format: JPG
Photo Resolution: 2048×1536
Battery Life – Video Mode: 70-80min
Time/Date Stamp: Yes
Mac Compatible: Yes
Windows Compatible: Yes
Battery Type: li-ion
Warranty: 1 Year
What is in the Box?
– 1 HD500 Extreme Pen Camera, 16GB
– 1 USB Charging/Extention Cable
– 2 Ink Refills
– 1 Instruction Book
I am excited to start using this camera in the field and to see how the results are in real life use. The pen is big so I don’t know how I feel about walking around with it in my had when in close quarters with other but I will find out soon if it is a problem.
I can definitely see myself putting the camera in my shirt pocket as it blends in very well and doesn’t seem as big when in a pocket.
The price on this spy pen camera makes this camera a commitment and an investment. I will be actively using this camera over the next year and will report anything negative or positive as time goes on. I believe the company provides a one year warranty on the camera as well so that may give you some piece of mind when purchasing the camera.
Personally knowing what I know now about the camera I would say that it is worth the price. If it lasts 1 year it will have paid for itself many times over.
Below is an Amazon Affiliate Link for this device should you decide to purchase one. As of January 19, 2016 the camera is being sold for $139 on Amazon for the 16GB version and also on their website located at www.penrecorderpro.com.
If you purchase one please share your experience with it in the comments section of this post or on the Youtube review section.