- Created on 07 September 2009
We've all fancied ourselves as a bit of a James Bond over the years and with the new Swann PenCam you've got the chance to conduct your own undercover investigations.
The Swann PenCam (DVR-421), as the name suggests, is a discrete camera built into the shell of a ball point pen. The pen itself looks just like any other chunkier style pen and has a black gloss finish with silver detailing. The pen writes very nicely (the review was written with it!) and doesn't feel overly heavy.
All of the electronics and the camera are housed in the top half of the pen, and data is accessed through a USB interface that is found when the upper and lower halves of the pen are unscrewed from each other. The pen house 2GB of memory which allows storage of up to 80 minutes of video (640X480 in AVI format) or thousands of images (JPEG format). The internal battery allows continuous use of the device for up to 90 minutes and recharging is simply done by plugging the pen into a spare USB port.
Video and image quality are certainly nothing to write home about (as would be expected) and are on a par with mobile phone cameras, however the camera functions well in all sorts of lighting conditions and we were pleased that it worked well in relatively low light conditions. The AVI files can easily be uploaded to common video sharing websites (YouTube, MySpace, Facebook, Photobucket etc) and although quite grainy, you can be sure that anyone featured wouldn't have a clue about it!
Swann recommend the PenCam for use by everyone from law enforcers to mystery shoppers and we could easily see the benefits of such a discrete DVR device, however the pen is such a great fun little gadget that it will definitely appeal to most wannabe spys. The pen retails for ~£90 at the time of the review and is covered by a 1 year warranty.
Amazon: Swann Pen Cam