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★★★★☆

“A great little key fob based camcorder”

Written on: 20/11/2012 by Freeky (41 reviews written)

The 808 series of camera's are camcorder's mounted in a key fob case only available from ebay and have improved & developed over a long period. They are manufactured in China & generally have to be purchased from there.

The 808 camera variants have been identified by Chuck Lohr's site and I`m reviewing a #15 here. I would put its main use as either for in car traffic evidence recording (in case of accident) or for recoding from a model aircraft.

This key fob camera is about standard size for a key fob, it has 4 buttons, but only 2 are used, one for power/mode, the other recoding/still image trigger.

Despite its tiny size this camera records in 720P HD quality (1280x720 pixels) onto a micro SD card (it accepts upto 32Gb cards, class 4 or above) it can also take still images at an up-scaled 2592x1944 (sensor is 1280x800) but unfortunately the up-scaling actually degrades the image making them poor quality. Lens angle of view is 54 degrees which makes it nearly wide angle.

Video quality is OK, but I would regard as slightly soft for HD, it also drops frames (replacing with previous ones) more depending on video content, sound is acceptable, though a little quiet. Recordings are made in 5 minute chunks with a few seconds lost between each, if the SD card fills up the oldest recording is auto deleted to make room for the new. An 8Gb card will give just over 1 hour of record time. Recordings can be overlaid with a timestamp if wished. Low light sensitivity is reasonable.

Settings: Only options are to set the time and to turn on/off timestamp (add text file called STAMPYES.TXT or STAMPNO.TXT to SD card root).

Battery Life: Just over 30 mins after a few charge cycles, but modifying a USB lead can allow powered recordings (the camera is charged via USB) to create such a lead, remove insulation from a small section & cut the white & green wires, to use, turn on camera then connect your modified lead, if the red light flickers during use your USB point has insufficient power, use a better one or a in car USB adapter.

Webcam use: As a bonus this can be used as a very creditable webcam, to do so, remove SD card, connect to PC, turn on, press record button. It can also be used as a card reader for the micro SD card, but is slow, so best not bother. It is compatible with Windows, Mac & Linux systems.

Considering the current low price these are excellent value for money, however note the 808 #16 is much improved, but the 808 #15 can be bought for around half (or less) the cost of a #16.