Best Spy Pen Cameras

Review & Comparison, Last Update March 6, 2020
You'll be unable to tell the difference between these spy pen cameras and ordinary pens from the first glance. The differences are there though. The best spy pen cameras will let you record hidden footage without any inconveniences and unnecessary exposure. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2020
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Pen Type
Video Resolution
Viewing Angle
Memory
Power Source
Extras
Warranty
 
PROS

The camera accepts MicroSD cards up to 128 gigabytes. The recorded videos will usually weigh no more than 8 gigabytes. The device is compatible with PCs and Macs. The six-layer glass lens is able to record decent footage even when there's very little lighting around. 

CONS

The pen is relatively heavy. 

OUR VERDICT

The Releetech W8 is slim and stylish. With its subtle and discreet profile, the pen camera will let you capture hidden footage without drawing even any attention. The provided lens cleaning cloth is all that you need to maintain the camera.

detailed parameters
Pen Type

Ball-point 

Video Resolution

Full HD (1920 x 1080) 

Viewing Angle

90° 

Memory

Slot for MicroSD card (not included)

Power Source

Rechargeable battery (charging USB cable included)

Up to 70 minutes of recording time

Extras

Loop Recording feature, USB card reader, Lens cleaning cloth, 5 ink cartridges and pin included

Warranty

1 year 

PROS

The battery will last 80 minutes, continuously recording Full HD footage. It is able to last as long as 150 minutes when you switch between recording footage and taking pictures. The battery usually takes somewhere between 60 and 90 minutes to recharge.

CONS

The housing heats up during use. 

OUR VERDICT

The Amyway GB66035 looks sleek and elegant enough to make the pen presentable but not too elegant to attract attention. The device will be able to aid at home, with legal situations, class lectures, business meetings, you name the scene.

detailed parameters
Pen Type

Ball-point 

Video Resolution

Full HD (1920 x 1080) 

Viewing Angle

~90°

Memory

Slot for MicroSD card (32GB card included)

Power Source

Rechargeable battery (charging USB cable included)

Up to 80 minutes of recording time

Extras

Loop Recording feature, USB card reader and 5 ink cartridges included

Warranty

Limited lifetime

PROS

The six-layer lens is able to stabilize the image enough to record crisp and smooth footage even when filming high-pace movement. The lens is also practically immune to scratches. The Motion Detection feature activates the cam when there's any motion present around the device.

CONS

The supplied two ink cartridges do not last. 

OUR VERDICT

The Yumfond UTOPB (008) is able to do more than any budget pen camera we've looked at. The grooved profile makes this device comfortable to write with. The weight distribution has been well thought out. The features are ample. The tech is excellent.

detailed parameters
Pen Type

Ball-point 

Video Resolution

Full HD (1920 x 1080)

Viewing Angle

~90°

Memory

Slot for MicroSD card (not included) 

Power Source

Rechargeable battery (built-in USB plug, charging USB-male to USB-female cable included)

Up to 60 minutes of recording time

Extras

Loop Recording feature, Motion Detection feature, 2 ink cartridges included

Warranty

90 days 

PROS

The camera automatically divides long videos into 10-minute files so that you're able to quickly find the right part. The high-strength alloy construction makes the pen drop-resistant from ~6-8 feet. The housing never heats up. The clip is almost impossible to break. 

CONS

The MicroSD card is hard to remove and insert. 

OUR VERDICT

The Yieye (PNCAM-1080DVR) is compact and lightweight, making the pen easy to take notes with. The grooves give you a firm grip even when the hand starts sweating. The controls make it easy to take pictures and turn the device on and off.

detailed parameters
Pen Type

Ball-point 

Video Resolution

Full HD (1920 x 1080)

Viewing Angle

~90°

Memory

Slot for MicroSD card (32GB card included)

Power Source

Rechargeable battery (built-in USB plug, charging USB-male to USB-female cable included)

Up to 60 minutes of recording time

Extras

Loop Recording feature, Storage pouch and 5 ink cartridges included

Warranty

1 year 

PROS

The body is tough and durable, making the tech inside shock-resistant. Dissipating heat, the pen makes sure the circuitry and the components inside are able to maintain a comfortable temperature. The camera will let you take QHD (2560 x 1440p) pictures. 

CONS

The camera is usually unable to record for 60 minutes straight. 

OUR VERDICT

The PANNOVO Spy Camera hides a camera inside a fountain pen, making this device classy and pretty charming. You'll be able to leave tasteful signatures when necessary, all while recording everything that's happening at the meeting.

detailed parameters
Pen Type

Ink

Video Resolution

Full HD (1920 x 1080)

Viewing Angle

~90°

Memory

Slot for MicroSD card (32GB card included)

Power Source

Rechargeable battery (charging USB cable included)

Up to 60 minutes of recording time 

Extras

Loop Recording feature, 3 ink bottles included

Warranty

Amazon's 30-day return policy 

Releetech W8

Slim Enough

The Releetech W8 is subtle, which is not something that we can usually say about pen cameras. Normally, these pen cams are fairly bulky and not especially comfortable to hold. In contrast, this device is pretty slim. You'll be able to take notes, jot down schedules, and write with relative comfort. Emphasis is on the relative part though since there's no rubberized padding/inserts next to the tip, so you'll probably be experiencing somewhat unpleasant sensations when using the pen for an extended period of time. Also, though quite slim, the pen is pretty heavy, so you'll be feeling the weight too, making prolonged use relatively fatigue-inducing. These are not huge downsides though, more like minor issues that most pen cameras suffer from.

Most pen cams do not support MicroSD cards up to 128 gigabytes though. Sure, you'll have to purchase the card separately but it is nice to have that option. Generally speaking, one-hour long videos will usually add up to 8 gigabytes, so you'll be able to record ample footage without having to move the files every time you film something. The supplied USB card reader will let you easily transfer these files from the pen to any third-party USB-enabled device though. The camera is more than compatible with Macs and PCs, so you should face no compatibility challenges.

Review of Releetech W8 Hidden Pen Camera (1080p, 32GB)

One-Click Operation

Performance-wise, this is an excellent pen camera through and through. The lens is pretty good at absorbing light, making the device effective even in low-light conditions. It is able to record Full HD (1920 x 1080p) footage, so the videos will be looking more than detailed enough. The viewing angles are limited to 90 degrees, meaning you'll be able to film without having to rotate the camera every few seconds.

The loop recording feature is present, something that pen cams these days seldom come without. From the longevity perspective, the device will let you film for 70 minutes straight, which is more than most hidden spy cameras are able to provide.

The design is discreet. Where standard pens have the cap with the button above, the device hides this operation button that enables one-click operation and lets you turn the camera on and off with but a thumb press.

Bottom line, the Releetech W8 looks good and performs even better. It is compact enough to fit into shirt pockets and to be clipped onto notebooks. The five ink cartridges and pin that come with the package will keep you supplied for quite some time.

Releetech W8 Hidden Pen Camera (1080p, 32GB) in the use

 

Amyway GB66035

Not Much not to Love

From most perspectives, the Amyway GB66035 is as complete as pen cameras come. More often than not, these devices are not especially great pens or particularly impressive cameras, failing to meet both needs. Fortunately enough, we cannot extend the same sentiment towards this product.

From the camera standpoint, this device is awesome. First things first, it is able to provide up to 80 minutes of recording time, much more than most spy cameras. We're talking about non-stop Full HD recording here. You can extend the working life to 150 minutes when taking photos (yeah, the device is able to do that too). Not only that, the battery usually takes even less time to recharge, usually done within 60-90 minutes. That being said, the housing starts to heat up during use, so extending the footage to 70-80 minutes can make things uncomfortable sometimes, especially when you're holding the pen. When clipped onto notebooks/into shirt pockets though, the heated housing is not an issue.

The pen lets you loop videos but that's not something we haven't seen before so we won't be highlighting this part. There's enough to highlight here without any gimmicks. You can highlight the USB card reader that lets you easily move the recorded footage and captured pictures between the pen camera and most USB-enabled devices. You can highlight the five ink cartridges that also come with the device so that you do not have to purchase them separately. These cartridges should last you years. You can even highlight the 90-degree viewing angles, which is, again, not something we haven't seen before but something that lets you capture entire whiteboards without rotating the pen. Something similar can be said about the supplied 32-gigabyte MicroSD card but enough about that. Let's address the pen's design.

Review of Amyway GB66035 Spy Cameras Pen (1080P, 32GB)

Hide the Hidden Camera

From where we're standing, what sells this product even before its performance is the well-thought-out design. The rubber padding and the notch next to the tip lets you write with the pen without experiencing any discomfort in the fingertips. The pen is slim, further contributing to the writing cause and making it easier to hide the device. More than that, there's this nice little shutter/sliding cover that lets you hide the secret camera from even the most inquisitive minds. The pen is sleek and aesthetically pleasing but not too much to attract unnecessary attention.

Long story short, the Amyway GB66035 puts most spy cameras to shame for not being able to figure out how to juggle practicality, aesthetics, and performance.

Amyway GB66035 Spy Cameras Pen (1080P, 32GB) in the use

 

UTOPB (008)

Grooved Profile

The Yumfond UTOPB (008) is a pretty good product for a bagful of different reasons. The price makes first though. Considering the specs and the pen's solid design, less than 25 bucks is a steal. Sure, some sacrifices have been made here. Before anything else, the pen is pretty chunky, not necessarily as slim as most ordinary pens and not as lean as high-end pen cameras.

The weight is alright though, measuring four ounces and distributed relatively evenly with a slight nod to the tip to emulate standard pens' weight distribution. Plus, despite its bulky profile, the grip and the barrel are grooved, making the device comfortable to hold and pretty comfortable to write with. More than that, the grooved finish makes the pen look tasteful and even somewhat nuanced, which's pretty cool given that the price does not suggest that at all. The supplied two ink cartridges will not last though, so you'll have to purchase replacement ones relatively soon. Having said that, they're not especially difficult to find and the price is usually not too steep.

The device's operation is as straightforward as these pen cameras usually are. The one-click operation will enable you to press the button on top of the cap and that will be enough to activate the camera.

Review of UTOPB (008) Spy Camera Pen (1080P, 16GB)

Motion Detection

You're probably not expecting budget pen cameras to be especially impressive from the tech perspective yet that's precisely the case here. The device comes equipped with a loop recording feature, which is impressive considering the price. Better yet, there's also the motion detection feature that will activate the camera when the sensors detect any motion in the room. As you'd imagine, that means you can leave the camera in an office or at home knowing that the camera will be able to record anything happening in your absence.

To top it all off, the six-layer lens is almost too good at stabilizing the image, so even the fastest-moving visuals will be recorded nice and smooth. Also, the lens is not susceptible to scratches, so you can clip the pen onto anything and put the device just about anywhere you want without worrying about scraping the lens and ruining the camera.

The device is able to record hour-long footage at Full HD resolution and provide 90-degree viewing angles, nothing too impressive but more than acceptable when you take the price into account. When you also take everything we've addressed and described above into account, you can see why this product is easily the best bang for your back within this lineup.

UTOPB (008) Spy Camera Pen (1080P, 16GB) in the use

 

Yieye (PNCAM-1080DVR)

Bragging Rights are Reserved

The Yieye (PNCAM-1080DVR) has been designed with noticeable precision and solid attention to detail. It is the little things that make the difference here.

First, there's the high-quality alloy body that makes the device shock- and drop-resistant from ~6-8 feet. The construction is also good at heat dissipation, so the pen won't be heating up during use even when approaching that 60-minute mark. That mark marks (pardon the pun) the camera's maximum footage capacity, nothing to brag about but also nothing to complain about since most mid-range pen cams are unable to record more than 60 minutes at a time.

The device can absolutely brag about these little grooves across the entire body though, making the pen comfortable to use and also somewhat hiding the video camera. Even the clip here has been made using high-strength metal(s), with this nice little notch/incision that adds aesthetics points and with enough backbone to hold the pen when clipped onto notebooks, boards, and so on.

Both the body and the battery here are resistant to high temperatures, so we would not recommend microwaving the pen but, other than that, don't hesitate to put the device into any space. The battery does not start losing its capacity and will be able to last 60 minutes/120 minutes (standby time) even when put through years of long-term work. It is able to record Full HD (1920 x 1080p) footage and take QHD (2560 x 1440p) pictures, so you'll be able to capture the most detailed photos.

Review of Yieye (PNCAM-1080DVR) Hidden Camera Pen (1080P, 16GB)

Easy Controls

The people behind this device advertise that the camera is able to capture 160-degree footage but, from where we're standing, it is difficult to see how the cam can go above the standard ~90 degrees that can cameras usually deliver.

It is not difficult to figure out the device's controls though. Press and hold the standard button on the cap for 2-3 seconds and the camera will start recording, also flashing this tiny blue indicator light to notify you. Click the button without holding it and you'll be taking pictures. Press and hold the button again, taking the same 2-3 seconds, and you'll turn the device off, with a yellow indicator light also telling you that.

The camera accepts MicroSD cards up to 64 gigabytes and comes supplied with a 32-gigabyte card, which is nice except that the pen's slim design makes the card somewhat hard to remove and insert.

Besides that, the Yieye (PNCAM-1080DVR) will let you record various gatherings and occasions with stealth-like subtlety.

Yieye (PNCAM-1080DVR) Hidden Camera Pen (1080P, 16GB) in the use

 

PANNOVO Spy

Fountain Pen Camera

The PANNOVO Pen Camera is different, we can say that much. The biggest difference is the pen's type. Unlike most pen cams, this pen uses ink. There are upsides and downsides to pens that are not ball-point, that goes without saying. The ink looks classy, you cannot argue that. The nib looks much more elegant than any ball-point tip.

That being said, that classic ink also runs out relatively quickly. Plus, you cannot replace the cartridge here since there's no cartridge. You have to use the supplied ink bottles to fill up the chamber. That's more time-consuming than replacing the cartridges but that's also the price you pay for class and elegance. Also, the three supplied bottles are pretty large and will last you more than you'd expect.

Setting the nib aside, the pen looks relatively standard, coupling chrome and black to create this stern and mature profile, not too understated but also not especially nuanced. The clean lines and smooth surface make the pen camera really easy to confuse with any ordinary pen.

The people behind this product haven't added any grooves to make sure the finish is sleek and smooth, less comfortable to hold and use but that's usually the case with fountain pens, trading comfort for aesthetics. The pen is fairly thin though, so we're not saying that it is necessarily uncomfortable. Also, it is about as lightweight as most pen cams.

Review of PANNOVO Spy Camera Pen (1080P, 32GB)

QHD Pictures Too

Pen cameras are as much pens as they're cameras and while we've addressed the pen part, we haven't talked about the camera part yet. That's primarily because, on this front, there's not much separating this product from the ones we've reviewed above. The camera's able to record Full HD (1920 x 1080p) videos at 30 frames per second, more than respectable numbers. The footage will be saved into an AVI format, so you'll face no challenges opening the videos using players with standard codecs. Besides shooting videos, the camera will also let you take QHD (2560 x 1440p) pictures, nuanced and detailed enough to make the smallest objects and the tiniest parts crisp and clear.

The battery life is where the product somewhat drops the ball, sometimes failing to record for 60 minutes straight. On the upside, the device will not fail to accept MicroSD cards up to 64 gigabytes, including the 32-gigabyte card that comes with the package.

To sum this up, the PANNOVO Pen Camera is classy and elegant before anything else yet as capable as most pen cameras.

PANNOVO Spy Camera Pen (1080P, 32GB) in the use

 

What Is a Pen Camera?

Pen cameras are pens that come equipped with cameras. Yes, that's right, but we don't mean to get sassy here. Sure, the name gives the purpose away but not the applications and the features. Of course, you can use these pens anywhere you want (keeping the available legal grounds in mind). More often than not though, people use these portable digital devices to record lectures, different legal situations, business meetings, negotiations, and so on.

These covert cameras come fitted with the same clips that ordinary pens are normally fitted with, so you're able to clip the device onto various objects and surfaces, from notebooks to shirt pockets. Generally speaking, the camera's lens is discreet enough to avoid attracting attention.

Nobody stopping you from using these devices as conventional pens though, taking notes, doodling, writing anything important enough, and so on. They're not always the most comfortable pens but that depends on the model and how long you're looking to write with them.

Meanwhile, these hidden cameras and 360-degree cameras will provide surveillance where you're unable to place standard surveillance cameras.

What Features to Compare

Pen Type

More often than not, pen cameras work as ordinary pens too, meaning that you can use them to write with. When that's the case, you have to take the pen's type into account. As you'd imagine, ball-point pens are usually the more practical ones since the ink cartridges normally last quite long and are easy and cheap to replace. Fountain pens add class and poise but there are issues with ink and nibs, including the fact that replacement bottles usually cost more and take more effort to use.

Video Resolution

That's where the camera part comes into play (pun somewhat intended). There's nothing new here compared to ordinary video cameras; from the cameras' native resolution to the lens to viewing angles. Normally, mass-market mid-range pen cameras come supporting Full HD (1920 x 1080p) resolution. That's the most prevalent resolution, the one that most streaming services use these days. Provided you're not looking to watch the recorded videos on 65-inch panels, the said resolution will be translating into crisp, high-detailed footage.

Viewing Angle

There's no downside to high viewing angles. That said, most pen cams do not go above ~90 degrees due to the size limitations. Generally speaking, that's enough to capture everything in front of you but not enough to provide much peripheral vision.

Memory

Spy cameras normally come equipped with MicroSD slots where you can put MicroSD cards (obviously). Most cameras accept 32- and 64-gigabyte cards. Some even accept 128GB cards. Occasionally, these cameras already come provided with a MicroSD card, so you do not even have to purchase one separately.

Power Source

Pen cams are wireless, utilizing rechargeable batteries. Usually lithium, these batteries last somewhere around 60 minutes and take ~90 minutes to recharge. You plug the device into any USB-enabled device and that will usually do the trick.

Extras

There are various extra factors contributing here. First, there are the camera's features, oftentimes including loop recording and sometimes even including motion sensors that activate the camera whenever there's movement closeby.

We've also added extra accessories to this category. These accessories can include USB card readers to transfer the files from the camera to some compatible USB-enabled device. They can also include replacement ink cartridges, storage pouches, and cleaning cloths.

Spy Cameras Dos and Don'ts

From surveillance cameras to different hidden cameras to spy cameras, there are various issues that need to be addressed and different angles that ought to be taken into account when you place and use these devices. Spy cameras are a touching subject because the legal grounds can be shaky at times. Having said that, the rules and guidelines that you usually apply to surveillance/security cameras can be applied to spy cameras too, so let's talk about the dos and don'ts that entail these cameras.

Do: Choose the Right Location

When you install surveillance cameras to increase the place's security levels, you have to make sure you've put them in the right spot. More often than not, there are specific areas around the building that will allow cameras to illegal activities from different angles. The same rules apply to pen cameras. Sometimes, you'll be using them to capture dishonest and even borderline criminal acts. Sometimes, you'll be using these cameras but to record lectures and business meetings. The trick here is to make sure that the device is able to capture everything that you want the camera to capture without unnecessary exposure.

Usually, people hide these pens inside shirt pockets, which makes sense since people put ordinary pens there all the time (less so nowadays but that's beside the point) and you can clip the pen onto the pocket with very little issues. The downside is that this placement is so prevalent and obvious that some people might figure out that you're trying to record whatever's happening and ask you not to. When working with such inquisitive types, we would recommend choosing less obvious spots, like clipping the pen onto notebooks and briefcases and placing them somewhere where they won't be attracting any attention.

Do: Regularly Check the Camera

That's not always an option, we understand that. However, sometimes, people set these spy cameras and forget about them. You cannot do that. Whenever possible, you have to check the footage to be able to adjust the angle and see where you're going about things the wrong way. When you do that, you'll gain the necessary knowledge and become more adept at hiding the cameras but making sure that you're capturing everything at the same time.

Don'ts: Use Pen Cameras Under Direct Sunlight

Pen cameras are still cameras, meaning that the same rules apply to these devices that apply to standard cameras. Generally speaking, the biggest rule is that you do not position the lens against direct sunlight. When that's the case, the footage will look bleak and low-quality. That being said, with very little lighting, most mid-range pen cams won't be able to capture particularly crisp footage/pictures too, so make sure that the lighting is ample but not excessive (whenever possible).

Don'ts: Record People Without Their Consent

We're not here to judge, only to remind you that the rules regarding filming people are pretty tricky. Lawyers will tell you that these things depend on specific situations but we would recommend avoiding recording people with consent unless you'd like to invite lawsuits.

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Publish Date: 2020-03-06 12:31:55