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“When the Philips Key007 item first appeared, I was so...”

Written on: 14/01/2005 by stanley c wong (6 reviews written)

Good Points
Very easy to use. No settings and batteries to worry about. Very handy size.

Bad Points
Poor image quality. Does not do well for indoor shots.

General Comments
When the Philips Key007 item first appeared, I was so excited. Here was a USB thumb drive that doubles as a digital camera! I quickly found out that if it is too good to be true, it probably is.

The Philips KEY 007 is about the size of a large thumb. It has an incredibly small lens protected by a rotary cover. The cover is also the ON switch. Uncover the lens and the camera is activated. Just above the lens is the equally small viewfinder. And above that is the "shutter release". Pull off the bottom and you will find the USB jack. This plugs directly into your PC. If you use it often, I recommend you use an extension cable for ease of connection.

Though the claim is for 1.3Mp images, I found (to my horror) the actual EFFECTIVE pixels are only 300,000 or 0.3Mp. That makes for extremely small sharp images or larger blocky images. You could probably get a sharp image that fills only 1 third of your PC screen. But that is about it. So how does the claim of 1.3Mp come about? The supplied software EXTRAPOLATES the 0.3Mp image to a 1.3Mp image. Aside from taking up more space in your harddrive, I fail to see any difference in the quality of the image.

Using the camera itself is a breeze. Here is where it excels. Turn it on, look through the viewfinder, hold it as steady as you can, press the shutter (there is a blinking light that tells you that the shot is done). It is a fixed focus system (like cheaper point and shoot cameras) so anything 3 feet and beyond will theoretically be in focus. Next you plug it into you PC. The supplied software and driver you installed earlier will activate the program to copy the saved images into your harddrive. Alternatively, you can use a file manager program like Windows Explorer to access the files like a mini harddrive. It appears as a "Removable Disk" designation. Incidentally, you can use this method to dump your data files into (and out off) the 128Mb storage that is has. Though 128Mb may sound small, it actually quite sufficient for most usage. While it is being plugged in, it also charges the rechargeable battery built into the camera. Does that sound easy to use? If not, try it out and you will find that it is probably the easiest to use digital camera you will come across.

As a camera, it sucks. Poor image and fixed focus aside, the small size and disproportionate force required to release the shutter makes holding the camera steady during shutter release very hard to do. As it does not have a flash, indoor shots are very chancy. More often than not, you end up with blurred images, as the shutter remains open for longer in indoor shots (and other low light applications). In bright sunlight, the shutter speed is much faster so there is less chance of blurred images due to camera shake.

Though I found that I could take sharper shots without looking through the viewfinder, I would have little chance of actually capturing what I need to take.

In summary, the Philips KEY 007 gives poor images. It should not be taken seriously as a digital camera. BUT is it extremely handy due to its small size. VERY easy to use. And it can be used as a thumb drive (and seriously, nowadays, who does NOT need a thumb drive?). So somewhere, somehow, it does fill a niche. Besides, better a lousy camera that is with you (because you can carry it around everywhere) than a super good camera that you find too heavy/bulky to carry around.

So get it as a gadget. Get it as an impulse-buy. Get it for a fun present. But don't get it if you are looking for a good digital camera.

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