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Swann HD PenCam - Mini 720p

B&H # SWVPEN720GL Mfr # SWVID-PEN720-GL
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Product Highlights
  • Records Color AVI Videos
  • Recording Resolution - 1280 x 720
  • JPEG Images at 1600 x 1200 Resolution
  • Photo to Video Mode Toggle
  • Date & Time Stamping
  • Easy File Transfer & Backup
  • Built-in Rechargeable Battery
  • Functional Ballpoint Pen
  • Accepts microSD Card (up to 16 GB)

The Swann HD PenCam - Mini 720p is a video camera and recorder hidden in an elegant, functional ballpoint pen. This high-tech spying device allows you to capture color AVI videos at 1280 x 720 resolution or even JPEG images at 1600 x 1200.

You can insert a microSD card (up to 16 GB) into the PenCam's SD slot to store recorded data. This data can be easily transferred to a computer via the PenCam's USB plug or a microSD card reader. Additionally, you could use the USB port to charge the PenCam’s lithium ion battery. The date and time stamping feature makes the PenCam a perfect tool for capturing video evidence. 

HD Surveillance
  • Elegant ballpoint pen with a neatly concealed camera that records color AVI videos at up to 1280 x 720 resolution
  • Also captures JPEG images at up to 1600 x 1200 resolution
Efficiency
  • Switch for effortlessly toggling between photo and video modes
  • Runs for up to 45 minutes on a single charge
  • Memory expandable up to 16 GB with a microSD card
  • Easy file transfer and backup via the USB plug, which is also used to recharge the built-in lithium-ion battery
  • Compatible with Windows 7 / Vista / XP, Mac OS X, Windows Media Player, RealPlayer, and QuickTime Player
Wide Applicability
  • Date and time stamping feature for using the recorded video for evidence purposes
  • Video and images can be uploaded on any website including YouTube, MySpace, Facebook, etc.
  • Ideal for lawyers, law enforcement, mystery shopping, covert surveillance, or even use as a webcam
Video
Video Format AVI
Resolution 1280 x 720 pixels
Video File Size 100 MB per minute
Photo Photo Format: JPEG
Resolution: 1600 x 1200 pixels
Image file size: 200 KB
Recording
Recording Mode Video or Still Images
Total Record Time per Charge Approximately 45 minutes
General
Operating System Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, Mac OSX
Internal Memory microSD card up to 16 GB (not included)
Backup Type USB
Battery Type Rechargeable Lithium-ion
Charging USB via computer
Battery Charging Time Approximately 90 minutes
Dimensions 5.9 x 0.6 x 0.6" (150 x 15 x 15 mm)
Weight 1 oz (30g)
Swann HD PenCam - Mini 720p
  • USB Extension Cable
  • 3 x Black Ink Refills
  • Software CD
  • Operating Instructions
  • 1-Year Warranty
  • REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

    by PowerReviews
    SwannHD PenCam - Mini 720p
     
    3.7

    (based on 15 reviews)

    Ratings Distribution

    • 5 Stars

       

      (5)

    • 4 Stars

       

      (4)

    • 3 Stars

       

      (3)

    • 2 Stars

       

      (2)

    • 1 Stars

       

      (1)

    73%

    of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

    Pros

    • Compact (9)
    • Discreet (9)
    • Easy to set up (8)
    • Accurate (3)

    Cons

    • Low quality (3)
    • Unreliable (3)

    Best Uses

    • Recording (8)
    • Safety (3)
      • Reviewer Profile:
      • Avid do-it-yourselfer (5), Professional (5), Casual do-it-yourselfer (3)
      • Primary use:
      • Personal (8), Business (5)

    Most Liked Positive Review

     

    Handy

    Disclaimer: I have only tested this product in my office, not in the field.

    The pen is perfectly disguised in its size and shape so that no one would guess what...Read complete review

    Disclaimer: I have only tested this product in my office, not in the field.

    The pen is perfectly disguised in its size and shape so that no one would guess what it really is. The ball point pen fully functions and comes with a few refills. Access to the memory card slot is easy, as is setting the pen to picture or video mode.

    The pen confirms recording with a subtle blue light, which can be noticed by anyone sitting near you. In low light situations that light will shine on your hand or the table during recording.

    As you might expect, the 720p HD image falls apart in low light. The image is still usable, but it becomes very noisy. The unit corrects for exposure and white balance quite well, though.

    The activation button is a bit unfriendly. I have yet to do a test where the pen begins to record upon the first button depression.

    Practice recording is ESSENTIAL to making use of this item. The field of view is limited (to get a medium shot of a person you need to be about 5-feet away). To be successful in your recordings you need to know where to aim the camera, how wide the shot will be, what the best angle for light is and how to activate the product with confidence.

    Audio is only clear for subjects that are very close (within 3 feet), which makes it difficult to have the speaker in the video frame.

    Do not expect that you will be proficient with this right out of the box.

    VS

    Most Liked Negative Review

     

    It works well enough

    I bought this as a fun thing to have...and the rebate made it VERY accessible. The images are pretty good, even in low light - though the resolution is not particularly...Read complete review

    I bought this as a fun thing to have...and the rebate made it VERY accessible. The images are pretty good, even in low light - though the resolution is not particularly fantastic. Video resolution is not much better - Not sure what the HD means on this - it's pretty grainy in regular room light.

    Figuring out the procedure for turning the pen on was a bit of a challenge - the directions are not quite accurate...it says Press and Hold, and you want to Press and Release to turn it on. Press and Hold doesn't leave it ready for pictures.

    The other thing is that the switch from picture to video modes is located within the pen - you have to unscrew the pen to access the dip switch...too bad it wasn't built into the pen some other way.

    Still, it does what it's supposed to do and it does work. It's discreet and fun and cool.

    And the pen isn't bad as a pen, either!

    Reviewed by 15 customers

    Sort by

    Displaying reviews 1-15

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    3.0

    ok

    By jim

    from New York

    About Me Professional

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

      Cons

      • Low Quality

      Best Uses

        Comments about Swann HD PenCam - Mini 720p:

        worked ok

        • Primary use:
        • Business

        Share this review

         
        4.0

        It works reasonably well

        By Benny

        from Montreal

        About Me Avid Do-It-Yourselfer

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Compact
        • Discreet
        • Easy To Set Up

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Recording

          Comments about Swann HD PenCam - Mini 720p:

          The first unit I ordered stopped working after about one hour of operation. I returned the unit to B&H and they quickly sent me a new unit that has worked properly so far. Thank you B&H!

          It took me awhile before I mastered the PenCam ON/OFF procedures. Unfortunately the manual was not only useless but it actually gave the wrong information. Once I understood how to turn it ON relibly, the pen operated according to specifications. I was able to take a number of video clips and photos without any problem, and was able to transfer all the files to my computer using my SD card reader. I successfully viewed the resulting JPeg photos with Adobe Photoshop CC without any problem. Viewing the video clips AVI files on my Adobe Premiere Pro CC editor proved to be a challenge. I was forced to convert them to AVCHD files using a video converter before I could import them into my video editor. On the other hand, the raw video clips were easily readable on the Microsoft Media Player.

          The basic problem I have with the Swan product, is trying to record video without a viewfinder or a monitor. I assume that with some practice I will be able to master that issue.

          The video clips I recorded inside were surprisingly good, as long as there was enough light available. I have not checked it in outside operation yet, although I expect to use it mostly inside.

          • Primary use:
          • Personal

          Share this review

          (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

           
          3.0

          not bad but also hard to work with

          By Arthur Bouvier

          from Winnipeg, Manitoba

          About Me Professional

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Compact
          • Discreet

          Cons

          • Unreliable

          Best Uses

            Comments about Swann HD PenCam - Mini 720p:

            I bought one of these for recording examinations discreetly. Although I have my technique down pretty good for not drawing attention to myself and the pen does a very nice job of that. However taking photos can be unreliable, but not because you are working blind and can't really see what your doing (assuming your trying not to draw attention to yourself).

            The reason is that the shutter speed appears to be very very low, even in a well lit room. This means that the slightest movement at all will blur the image completely. So the pen needs to be extremely steady when you click the shutter button. Even just the long throw of the button can move the pen enough to jar the image due to movement. If Swann was to make the button more sensitive and give it a shorter throw with less pressure to trigger it. This would be fantastic.

            One other issue is that the pen is extremely shiny and smooth. If you have any oil or sweat on your hands at all this makes holding the pen that much harder when trying to press the shutter button up top.

            Aside from those issues the hardware is reliable in the fact that it works well, the memory card fits in nicely and quickly. No problems with the computer reading the pen or sticking it into the computer. Everything is fine on that end.

            I wouldn't buy this pen again if there were other options but unfortunately this is the only decently priced pen cam available.

            • Primary use:
            • Business

            Share this review

            (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            Verry good

            By Rahad

            from Bangladesh

            Comments about Swann HD PenCam - Mini 720p:

            Good

            Share this review

            (1 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

             
            1.0

            PIECE of rubbish that messed up my PC.

            By Geastman

            from USA

            About Me Casual Do-It-Yourselfer

            Pros

              Cons

              • Faulty
              • Low Quality
              • Unreliable

              Best Uses

                Comments about Swann HD PenCam - Mini 720p:

                BAD:
                CAMERA\pen not recognized by laptop - so I cannot even view what I have shot

                WORSE:
                BY installing the mini CD that came with the camera, there is now no audio when I play back videos recorded on other non-Swann cameras

                Thank you so much Swann for messing up my laptop
                Can you give me any reason I should buy any of your products?

                The ATOM HD camera I got - couldn't even be charged

                • Primary use:
                • Business

                Share this review

                (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                3.0

                It works well enough

                By GJMPhoto

                from New York

                About Me Casual Do-It-Yourselfer

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                • Compact
                • Discreet

                Cons

                • Controls Are Inconvenient
                • Grainy In Room Light

                Best Uses

                • Recording

                Comments about Swann HD PenCam - Mini 720p:

                I bought this as a fun thing to have...and the rebate made it VERY accessible. The images are pretty good, even in low light - though the resolution is not particularly fantastic. Video resolution is not much better - Not sure what the HD means on this - it's pretty grainy in regular room light.

                Figuring out the procedure for turning the pen on was a bit of a challenge - the directions are not quite accurate...it says Press and Hold, and you want to Press and Release to turn it on. Press and Hold doesn't leave it ready for pictures.

                The other thing is that the switch from picture to video modes is located within the pen - you have to unscrew the pen to access the dip switch...too bad it wasn't built into the pen some other way.

                Still, it does what it's supposed to do and it does work. It's discreet and fun and cool.

                And the pen isn't bad as a pen, either!

                • Primary use:
                • Personal

                Share this review

                (2 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                Completely Satisfied

                By Jerry G

                from Brooklyn NY

                About Me Casual Do-It-Yourselfer

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                      Comments about Swann HD PenCam - Mini 720p:

                      I wasn't so sure about buying this pen especially since it was expensive, but it is really a great camera, with excellent video quality.

                      • Primary use:
                      • Personal

                      Share this review

                      (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                       
                      4.0

                      Great for the price, just "ok" video

                      By Porcelain punisher

                      from East Los Angeles

                      About Me Avid Do-It-Yourselfer

                      Verified Buyer

                      Pros

                      • Compact
                      • Discreet
                      • Easy To Set Up
                      • Price Quality

                      Cons

                      • Noisy

                      Best Uses

                      • Recording
                      • Safety

                      Comments about Swann HD PenCam - Mini 720p:

                      Well made and easy to use, works well for what it is. No need for a micro SD adaptor, the reader fits into a standard USB which is nice. Comes with 3 ink refills as well!. I had to knock off one star because the picture does not look like 720 to me, it has the appearance of 480 stretched to 720 in my opinion...especially indoors with medium light. But.... All in all it is an amazing piece at a very fairy price.

                      • Primary use:
                      • Personal

                      Share this review

                      (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                       
                      2.0

                      Not the best product

                      By Alex

                      from Florida

                      About Me Professional

                      Verified Buyer

                      Pros

                      • Easy To Set Up

                      Cons

                      • Faulty

                      Best Uses

                      • Recording

                      Comments about Swann HD PenCam - Mini 720p:

                      The pen feels solid but the on/off is intermittant. Video quality is surprisingly good. Audio is acceptable.

                      • Primary use:
                      • Personal

                      Share this review

                      (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                       
                      2.0

                      Do not take it seriously

                      By hmmmmm

                      from New York, NY

                      About Me Avid Do-It-Yourselfer

                      Verified Buyer

                      Pros

                      • Easy To Set Up

                      Cons

                      • Low Quality
                      • Unreliable

                      Best Uses

                        Comments about Swann HD PenCam - Mini 720p:

                        Obviously I had expected more than what I actually got. It's a fun cam, but the thing is it is also hard to control since you've no idea if your shooting target is successfully captured in your video. The lens is narrow-angle. And, the frame rate is not authentic 30fps. It's only about 16fps or so. And most importantly, I feel uneasy shooting in public with it because it's not like "invisible". It's still something big that people can easily notice and be suspicious of.

                        • Primary use:
                        • Personal

                        Share this review

                        (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

                         
                        4.0

                        Handy

                        By Alex

                        from Toronto, ON

                        About Me Professional

                        Verified Buyer

                        Pros

                        • Compact
                        • Discreet

                        Cons

                        • Insensitive Record Button
                        • Noisy

                        Best Uses

                        • Discretion
                        • Recording

                        Comments about Swann HD PenCam - Mini 720p:

                        Disclaimer: I have only tested this product in my office, not in the field.

                        The pen is perfectly disguised in its size and shape so that no one would guess what it really is. The ball point pen fully functions and comes with a few refills. Access to the memory card slot is easy, as is setting the pen to picture or video mode.

                        The pen confirms recording with a subtle blue light, which can be noticed by anyone sitting near you. In low light situations that light will shine on your hand or the table during recording.

                        As you might expect, the 720p HD image falls apart in low light. The image is still usable, but it becomes very noisy. The unit corrects for exposure and white balance quite well, though.

                        The activation button is a bit unfriendly. I have yet to do a test where the pen begins to record upon the first button depression.

                        Practice recording is ESSENTIAL to making use of this item. The field of view is limited (to get a medium shot of a person you need to be about 5-feet away). To be successful in your recordings you need to know where to aim the camera, how wide the shot will be, what the best angle for light is and how to activate the product with confidence.

                        Audio is only clear for subjects that are very close (within 3 feet), which makes it difficult to have the speaker in the video frame.

                        Do not expect that you will be proficient with this right out of the box.

                        • Primary use:
                        • Business

                        Share this review

                         
                        5.0

                        Nice Gadget

                        By Chad

                        from Tampa

                        About Me Avid Do-It-Yourselfer

                        Verified Buyer

                        Pros

                        • Compact
                        • Discreet
                        • Easy To Set Up

                        Cons

                          Best Uses

                          • Recording
                          • Safety

                          Comments about Swann HD PenCam - Mini 720p:

                          Easy to use & do the job

                          • Primary use:
                          • Personal

                          Share this review

                          (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                           
                          5.0

                          HD PenCam - Mini 720p by Swann

                          By Captain

                          from NYC

                          About Me Professional

                          Verified Buyer

                          Pros

                          • Accurate
                          • Compact
                          • Discreet
                          • Easy To Set Up

                          Cons

                            Best Uses

                            • Early Warning
                            • Recording
                            • Safety

                            Comments about Swann HD PenCam - Mini 720p:

                            Excellent Pen Camera. Works great and extremely easy to use. I have used the camera since I purchased it at B&H many times with excellent results.
                            USB operation is also fantastic. Also the camera takes excellent video quality and still photo quality.

                            • Primary use:
                            • Business

                            Share this review

                            (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                             
                            5.0

                            Great pen for the investment!

                            By Rocketman

                            from Portland, Oregon

                            About Me Avid Do-It-Yourselfer

                            Verified Buyer

                            Pros

                            • Accurate
                            • Compact
                            • Discreet
                            • Easy To Set Up
                            • Just like any other pen
                            • Sensitive

                            Cons

                            • No problems at all

                            Best Uses

                            • Early Warning
                            • Recording

                            Comments about Swann HD PenCam - Mini 720p:

                            Very good quality video. It functions just the way it's supposed to. I would buy more from this company if I needed more gear.

                            • Primary use:
                            • Personal

                            Share this review

                            (6 of 15 customers found this review helpful)

                             
                            4.0

                            hd pen

                            By beto

                            from rio

                            Verified Buyer

                            Pros

                            • Accurate
                            • Compact
                            • Discreet
                            • Easy To Set Up
                            • Sensitive

                            Cons

                              Best Uses

                                Comments about Swann HD PenCam - Mini 720p:

                                very nice!
                                very discrete

                                Share this review

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