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Pick of the Camera Reviews

(Click the pictures for reviews & links) 

ACTION CAMS

Yi 2 - Best Budget 4K 

Gitup Git2 (My Pick)

Xiaomi Yi

Dazzne P2

SJCAM M10+
 
DASH-CAMS (CAR DVRs)
 
A119
Yi Ultra 2.7K
   
    MINI CAMERAS
Mobius (also works as a Dashcam)
Polaroid Cube+
    HELMET CAMERA
Sena Prism Tube

My favourite USB battery power Pack

This is the excellent USB power pack I use when I travel.

2 x 2.1amp outputs. 8400mAh capacity.

Two digit Led display shows battery level

 

What SD CARD should I buy?

If you want an SD Card for your camera - these are the ones I use and recommend. 

I'd strongly recommend not to buy any SD cards off ebay - I've heard about too many issues with counterfeit cards - often sold on by unwitting resellers. My inbox regularly gets messages from people who bought a £150 camera then cheaped out and bought a £3 memory card on ebay - Then when it doesn't worth they blame the camera! It doesn't make any sense. Good memory is cheaper than it's ever been - see the links above.

A lot of HD cameras will not work properly with cards larger than 32GB (cards over 32GB are usually SDXC rather than the SDHC standard used by 32GB cards. SDXC cards use the ex-FAT system rather than FAT32 - in short they are a different standard). - so don't just buy the biggest card you can afford - read the specs in the manual to see what it accepts.

UK & US LINKS & PRICES BELOW

RECOMMENDED CARDS (for action cams - see dashcams below)

CLASS 10 UHS-1 CARDS (For HD Cameras)

 

U3 CARD (For 4K cameras)

 

 

SPECIAL DASHCAM CARDS

The SD card in a dashcam is re-written over, more frequently than in other types of cameras. Some manufacturers void their guarantee if an SD card was used in a dashcam. So, no surprise, there are special High Endurance SD cards made just for dashcams...here's some.

 

 

VERY IMPORTANT. These links take you to the product, however Amazon have three different ways of selling. There's Amazon Direct - This means that you are only dealing with Amazon themselves, then there's other sellers that use Amazon's facilities - these show as Fulfilled By Amazon and finally there's Market Place sellers that advertise on Amazon, but operate independently.  I strongly recommend that you only use the first...the Amazon Direct - Sold By Amazon option. Even if it appears that you are paying a couple of £/$ more it is more than likely you are comparing the price of a real item against the price of a fake.

To give you an idea of the extent of the fake goods problem. In a 2016 survey by Apple - 90% of the 'Apple' chargers sold through Amazon - using the other the two methods..which includes the "Fulfilled by Amazon" option -  were found to be counterfeit....90%! 

            

 
« Just a quick video about Bananas | Main | My review of the Sanyo VPC-CS1 pocket 1080p Camcorder »
Friday
Feb182011

(Finally) A Real HD Mini Keyring Spy Camera #11 808

After having my hopes raised and dashed in quick succession by a number of "HD" spy cams - I've finally managed to get hold of a real one. It's the latest version of my previous favourite, the DVK808 Keychain spy camera #3, and it's unofficially known as the #11 808 camera.

First a quick word about some of the (non) HD cameras I've received in the past. Some people are still surprised that there are dishonestly advertised Chinese products available. In comments left on my youtube videos, people can't believe that my HD spy pen wasn't really HD, and my 720p Car Recorder doesn't record in 720p - they naively suggest that I must have been using them incorrectly. Surely someone wouldn't sell a jittery SD product claiming it was HD, would they? Well normal trading rules don't seem to apply in China, and to me that's all part of the fun.

If I wanted to guarantee that I got a real HD helmet camera, I could always go and spend £200 on a GoPro or a Contour HD, but where is the fun in that? I give Amazon £200 and they send me exactly what I paid for..... sounds a bit dull to me. I'd much rather send some bloke in China £30 and see if what turns up in the mail a few weeks later. Finding out if  a product lives up to the grandiose claims in it's Ebay listing is a big part of the enjoyment. It's like a lucky dip, some you win, some you lose.

This time I won big..... this camera is the real thing. The video quality on this is astounding considering the size of the lens and the £26 cost. You'll need to watch the video to learn all about this amazing little camera - I will warn you that you may shed a tear at the end, I nearly did.

 

Where can you get one from?

At the time of writing the Ebay sellers who offer this camera are all based in Hong Kong. A few example names of sellers are below (I am not endorsing any of these, but they seem to sell the #11 camera).

 -----> My order from here only took 10 Days to get to the UK!

hxelepro360

power-gps

How can you make sure you are buying the right camera?

Look for the following info in their listings, H.264 .MOV file format, 1280x720, #11 HD car key camera (or words to that effect).

If you see a 1280x960 HD camera advertised don't buy one by mistake, they aren't HD and are only 640x480 upscaled.

How do you change the time?

Here is an example of the TXT file used to set the time. Download this, open it in a text editing program, type over the appropriate time and date, save it and copy it to the memory card in the camera.

Example Photos

It takes mediocre quality photos,  nothing that any modern camera phone couldn't beat. 

Below are some thumbnails which link to the original untouched photos taken by the camera in photo mode.

UPDATE - 21 FEB 2011 - It Lives!

After the video, I retrieved it from the bin and left it on a shelf for a couple of days. I thought I'd give it one last try and put the old firmware back on a Memory stick again. Plugged the camera into a wall charger and tried to switch it into webcam mode. To my surprise it came on and then re-flashed the old firmware. Pushing my luck, I decided to try flashing the date removal firmware again and it worked this time. I now have a time & date free camera. I may even upload the new firmware to the site now.....but don't come running to me if it all ends in tears.

Update 22 FEB 2011 - Firmware!

OK, I've relented. For those people who want to try and delete the Time & Date stamp - the firmware is uploaded on my Files & Drivers page or you can just Click Here to download it directly.  Just a couple of pointers, make sure the camera is fully charged. Put the firmware on a memory card  (preferably using a card reader). Just put the FW96630A.bin file in the root directory - not into any folder & also don't change the filename. Insert the card into your camera. Tap the On button and then wait a few secs - the orange light should flash, wait another couple of secs and then switch the camera off. Remove the card, put it back into your computer and delete the firmware file from the card (if you don't delete the firmware, the camera will just try to re-flash it every time you switch it on). I take no responsibility for anyone who kills their camera trying this....good luck.

(Too many people were reporting errors with these firmwares - so I've removed them)

Update 20 MAR 2011 - Video Editing Issues.

I've come across a strange problem with the .MOV files that this camera creates. iMovie sometimes wants nothing to do with the video files and refuses to import them. This only happens with the 20 minute files that the camera has closed off itself. If I start and stop the recording manually, then the resulting video clip imports fine. So for example if I were to record 30 mins of footage in one go with the camera, the first 20 min clip wouldn't import, but the last 10 min one would. This is weird, its as though the camera is corrupting it's own clips when it closes them. I've get the same results with both my cameras (one with the date stamp firmware and one without). The only way I could get my footage into iMovie was to transcode it first. I tried a few transcoding programs that refused to touch the video, erroring out with unrecognised/unsupported file type messages. Luckily I found that Handbrake was happy to transcode the file into an MP4 which I could then proceed to import and edit in iMovie. 

This might not be an issue to many people, and if the above paragraph means nothing to you then you are probably one of them. If all you want to do is capture video and then play it back through Quicktime or VLC then you are fine - but if you actually want to edit the footage you have shot, you should be aware that it is likely you will need to transcode it first.

Update – 25 March 2011 – New Continuous Recording Firmware

I have uploaded the ‘continuous recording’ firmware to the Files & Drivers page HERE. I have successfully installed and tested this on my second camera. 

This firmware fixes a number of problems. 
  1. It removes the time and date 
  2. When the battery dies, the current recording is now saved, rather than lost. 
  3. Rather than creating a new file every 20 mins, it now creates a new one every 4GB. 
  4. The video files created can be edited as normal - no transcoding required.

A 4GB file will be contain either 50 or 75 mins of video – dependent on the bitrate that your camera records at (there are two versions of the camera, one that records at 7000kbps and one at 10000kbps – the video quality is indistinguishable between them). As the battery life of this camera is approx 45 min, in normal use the camera will record one file until the battery dies. 

If you attach the camera to the supplied car charger, it will keep recording 4GB files until your memory card is full, however if you power it with a normal USB lead, it will only record one 4GB file and then stop recording. This is because of the non-standard way the camera USB power plug is wired. 

Installing the firmware is done in the same way as before – download and extract the zip file. Get the file called "FW96630A.BIN" and copy it to the root of your memory card. Put the card in the camera. Tap the On button and then wait for the yellow light to come on, this should take about 5 seconds. Turn it off again and remove the card from the camera and then delete the "FW96630A.BIN" file from the memory card. That’s it. 
If you ever want to reinstate the time and date – you could re-flash the original firmware – but due to the various drawbacks with the original firmware, I wouldn’t recommend it.

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Reader Comments (265)

^ 1638 == 1628

one of two shows in win7 device manager in the "imaging devices" tree, the other in "other devices".

when I'm in front of the ubuntu box I'll post what shows in disk manager

April 21, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterstewie

how can I DUMP the current firmware to a file?

surely this would help identify the devices.... short of cracking open what seems to be a heat welded plastic container

April 21, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterstewie

What is the best wrist watch spy camera in the market today? A saw a bunch in the web but which one is HD and compared closer
to the mini key ring 808#11?

April 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAl

Hello tech,

I own this cam and the biro one. However after a lack of use they charge but they do not power on. Can you help me with this matter please thanks.

May 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJimmy

I'd imagine that your LiPo batteries has died....quite a common issue I believe.

May 8, 2012 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Hi Matt,

thank you very much for your reviews, I like them!!!
Based on your reviews and detailed descriptions of the 808s I bought an 808 #16
and a spare LiPo accumulator.
Unfortunately the footage goes glarish afdter a while for a reason, which is unknown to me, and got a slight
pink spot in the middel when recording in slightly dimmed conditions.
I follow your advice and cleaned the lens (glas lens or plastic lens?) with a glasses tissue carefully which
does not help. The camera module is one which can not be refocussed...
Is there anything else I can do to get the clean and crisp footage from the beginning back?
By the way: What is the best way to store the spare LiPo accumulator I bought?
Thank your very much for any help in advance !
Best regards,
Meino

May 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMeino

@Meino I think your level of knowledge about this camera is the same (or better) than mine. I treat these as disposable cameras, when they go wrong unfortunately I don't think there is anything that you can do other than throw them away.

May 20, 2012 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Hi Matt,

thank you for your reply! :)
Unfortunately these little camera has a higher ideal value for me than its price.
But may be I will get the chance to order another one...or find a way to fix this one.
Best regards,
Meino

May 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMeino

Thank you a lot! I bought this camera a month ago, and it didn't work. But after the firmware update it's like anew one!

June 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterIgnacio

The 808 cameras are junk. I can't tell you how many i've gone through. They over heat, they lose power, they just don't do what they're suppose to which is record. It's a cheap toy, to be played with and thrown away. If you want to throw money away, buy an 808 keychain camera

June 3, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter808cam

Thanks for the great review. Based on your video, I assume the hd808 #11 works for both MAC (Snow Leopard) and Windows?

Thanks.

June 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew L

@Andrew Well they are just video files, so they'll work with any OS as long as you have the right codecs and playback software. OSX should be able to play them without any additional software being required.

June 6, 2012 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Hi Techmoan
You doing a great job with all this reviews.
Would you be so nice and tell me, if you know, of course, which of this 808 keychain cameras is better:

#11 http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Mini-DV-808HD-11-Spy-Car-Key-Chain-Camera-Sports-DVR-Original-No-time-Track-NO-/270975656873?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3f176863a9

#15 http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/HD-720P-Mini-DVR-Key-chain-Cam-808-Video-Recorder-Camera-DV-02-0-11-16-18-N7-/200748777320?pt=UK_CCTV&hash=item2ebd8f3f68

#16 http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Mini-DVR-808-Car-Key-Chain-Micro-Camera-16-Real-HD-720P-H-264-Pocket-Camcorder-/180776698380?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2a1721820c

#18 http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/HD-808-18-KeyChain-Camera-Looping-recording-AV-out-H-264-AVI-Driving-Recorder-/110880824330?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item19d1031c0a

or there is maybe some other, newer, better model. Forget for #3, its too old :)

thx a lot

June 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJakob

when i attach my keychain security cam with my computer it asks general immage device driver. from where i can get this driver, please advise where i can get this driver.

please send this information in my mail.

best regard

Mohammad Anwar

July 13, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermohammad anwar

8G HD 1080P SPY IR Night Vision Car Key Chain Camera Hidden DVR Motion Detection

How about review on this, I just ordered two from ebay...not delivered yet

August 10, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterfan from oz

Hi,
Love the video's. Could you please tell me how to open up video files on my imac and is it a particular lead supplied which will allow me to upload from the device or do i need a card reader and open the file up in a different application.

Cheers

George

August 31, 2012 | Unregistered Commentergeorge k

I'd just use a card reader, it's a lot less hassle. Just double click on any file to play it in QuickTime, or import into iMovie etc.

August 31, 2012 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

I have just bought a 808#11 and all seems ok, the picture quality is not to bad but only using a standard sd card at the moment (any suggestions), I found that it does not have sound and have reset it etc but still no joy, any solutions or do you think I need to send it back and replace it???

September 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAndy T

@Andy T The sound will likely be a playback rather than a recording issue. Try updating the Codecs on your computer using the K-lite codec pack.

September 11, 2012 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Thanks for the quick response, will look into the codecs etc, what about the card!!! i am using just a standard sandisk sd 16gb card, what would you suggest to get a better recording as its supposed to be HD so would like to use to its full potential. love the site by the way, informative!!!

Andy.

September 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAndy T

Well you'll be ok if it's a class 4 or higher card.

September 11, 2012 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Thanks for the info, higher class will improve image quality. I have the class 4 so will look for higher. Thanks for your help and will be in touch if I need more info as you seem to be in the know etc...

Andy T

September 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAndy T

Image quality will be identical whatever the class. Class just relates to read/write speed...too slow and the card can't keep up with the camera and misses frames of video.....creating jerky footage.

September 11, 2012 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Nice one, this camera is small in size as shown in the pic but very usefully. We can take it with us at anyplace & no one can detect it. I want more like this for security purpose.

Hi Techman

this was such a amazing Review, thank you very much
I purchased one of these, I find that I really struggle to get clear images in darker areas

is it possible to share with us any helpful applications that could improve the after video and try bring some detail out of Dark shadowed areas

Keep up the good work mate
thanks again

October 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKnight

Hi Techman

this was such a amazing Review, thank you very much
I purchased one of these, I find that I really struggle to get clear images in darker areas

is it possible to share with us any helpful applications that could improve the after video and try bring some detail out of Dark shadowed areas

Keep up the good work mate
thanks again

October 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKnight

Sorry I don't really really know about post processing video. I just tend to convert and edit it. The only tip for low light is to hold the camera as steady as possible.

October 16, 2012 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Thanks for the Reply Techmoan, you are awesome
looking at all the comparison videos I am sure I have a dud cam, as my recordings are never so clear
I got mine from internet365 shop, does anyone recommend a Seller that I will get the real deal from :)

also looked at your #16 review which was Fantastic, but I don't know if this is a good idea for me if I am already struggling with low light Chromatic Noise and artifacts

November 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKnight

can it record and be veiwed at the same time?

December 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlan

hi, Great info, i was wondering if this a genuine hd 808 : http://www.ebay.ie/itm/Latest-808-18-11-HD-Keychain-Camera-Looping-Video-Recording-AV-out-H-264-AVI-/181044208600?pt=UK_CCTV&hash=item2a271363d8

thanks

December 23, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterll

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