[Review] Spycam Video/MP3/Camera Sunglasses

As technology progresses, we are getting stuff that, not-so-long ago, was out of science fiction stories. Mobile devices, MP3 players and DVD players were all things we could only dream of, 15 years ago. Now ThinkGeek now sells Spycam Video/MP3/Camera Sunglasses, but are they a dream come true, or a nightmare?

I first saw the Spycam Video/MP3/Camera Sunglasses (“Video Sunglasses” for the remainder of this review), while reviewing the 1.3 Megapixel Spy Camera Sunglasses (“Camera Sunglasses”). Being able to only use one hand, I’ve never been able to use a video camera, although the desire has been there since high school. Having a lot of success with the Camera Sunglasses, I decided to give the Video Sunglasses a try.

Much like with the Camera Sunglasses, you get the glasses, which have 8GB of storage built-in (though the manual states that they come with 2GB, 4GB, 8GB or higher), a remote with a strap, a mini USB cable, a storage case, a cleaning cloth, extra clear lenses, and the manual.

The case is identical to the one for the Camera Sunglasses. It opens like a book, stores everything, and is pretty sturdy for plastic. This time, there was no hinge-popping, which is good.

The remote is also identical — A little bigger than the Eisenhower/original silver dollar (or for you Pokemon fans, it’s about the size of the PokeWalker), and having 2 buttons: one in the middle to capture images, and one near the strap to play/skip MP3s.

Both glasses (Camera, and Video respectively) are nearly identical, with the latter having some differences. Both are quite lightweight, and yet very durable. The lens-frame and temple arms are one piece, while the earpieces fold. The lens flip up, and the sunglasses lens, at least are UV400 which is said to protect your eyes from 99-100% of UV rays.

As with the Camera Sunglasses, the Video Sunglasses also have MP3 playback with built-in earbuds. The earbuds are corded and can be hooked to the earpieces of the glasses when not in use. Audiophiles may say the sound quality of the earbuds is lacking, but for the average music listener, they do just fine.

The temple arms are still a bit bulky, due to the cameras, the battery, storage media and MP3 player being housed in them. As with the Camera Sunglasses, there are 3 buttons, but for the most part, the similarities between the 2 pairs of Sunglasses end there.

This time, all 3 buttons — the power button, which also plays or pauses the current MP3, the button to capture images/raise the volume in the earbuds/skip to the next MP3, and one to lower the volume/skip to the previous MP3/record video, are on the left temple arm. This causes trouble for me, because I can only use my right hand. The power light is still in a spot where you can’t see it, at least not in well-lit places.

The photo cameras have gotten an upgrade since the Camera Sunglasses. They now come in resolutions of 1.3, 2.0 or 3.2 megapixels, depending on your storage size. Capturing still images is exactly the same process as it was with the Camera Sunglasses: You press the button and wait for the signal that tells you the image has been captured. This time, it’s more instantaneous. You press the button and soon after, you hear the shutter-click sound.

Video-recording is the same process, except when you start, and stop recording, a voice says “Start recording” and “Recording finished” respectively. The only thing that disappoints me is the fact that you can’t record video via the remote. That would be cool.

There is also a microphone built-in somewhere, where I’m not sure but sound is also recorded along with video. The videos are recorded in 640×480 resolution, at 12fps (frames per second), and in AVI format. It’s not HD video, but videos turn out quite well. See for yourself:

I took this video the night I received the Video Sunglasses, just to try them out. The video shows me playing the PS3 demo of Vanquish, using the XCM XFPS Rateup Adapter and a standard DualShock 3 to play. As you can see, it’s not perfect, but it came out very well, in regards to both the audio and visual aspects, especially considering my PS3 is currently hooked up to my SDTV.

The battery again is polymer li-ion and rechargeable via mini USB, which is also used for data transfer. The total amount of time needed to fully charge the glasses is 2 hours. However, all the aforementioned improvements come at a price, this time that price being battery life. Whereas the maximum battery life without recharging the Camera Sunglasses is 9 hours, the max of the Video Sunglasses is 3 hours. That’s one hell of a decrease.

The mini USB port is still in the same spot — On the bottom of the left temple arm, next to the earbud cord, and covered by a flexible piece of silicon. I still have trouble with it. I can do it myself, but it’s still a bit of a pain.

All in all, the Spycam Video/MP3/Camera Sunglasses, which as of this review, are on sale for $99.99 for the 8GB model on ThinkGeek, are an awesome product, one that I’d recommend not only for other challenged individuals, but for anyone that doesn’t feel like lugging an actual video camera around. Well, almost anyone. Film-makers, these glasses are not what you’d want to use, because of both the quality, and the battery life, but I digress. The sense of freedom and power I’ve gotten from these glasses, more than justifies the cost.

ThinkGeek specializes in geek products, such as mini USB monitors, roll-up keyboards, and humping-dog USB flash drives. In addition, they have a “Security & Spy Stuff” section that has stuff like video-watches and hidden flash drives. They even carry t-shirts and edible stuff like wasabi gumballs(?! o.o) and energy drinks. They gave me this product for review, and I would like to sincerely thank them for doing so.

Andrew Monkelban

Andrew Monkelban is an avid gamer and writer, who has been featured in Second Skin, and on Wired's GameLife and The Escapist. He is also really into the Japanese entertainment scene. Even though he has Cerebral Palsy, he does not let it stop him from doing what he loves, although he's always on the look-out for technology that would help him with difficult tasks. He came to PopTen in the Summer of 2009, where he's now able to combine his passions.

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4 Responses

  1. Brandon says:

    How are the glasses moving around in real life? If I was running an obstacle course or something, would they keep up well?

  2. I believe they would. I’m wheelchair-bound so I can’t run an obstacle course

  3. koneko says:

    I just got these and I’m disappointed in them. They’re more suited to a man’s face, rather than a woman’s or at least someone like me who has a smaller head. They’re constantly falling off. I will need a band to keep them on and in place.

    Picture quality is okay, very easy to blur.

    Have not tried out video yet.

    Unhappy with the mp3 player. Can’t fit the earbuds into my ears and can’t get the volume high enough. My skullcandy earbuds I use with my zen I only need about 8db when I’m out in the city but the music from the sunglasses is easily overwhelmed by outside noise. Most likely due to the fact they are too big for my tiny ears.

    Right now what seemed like a dream gadget has been a waste of money for me. As well, it only hooks up to my windows 7 laptop, I cannot get it to acknowledge on any other pcs running other o/s’.

    They may work better for you, particularly if you have a bigger head and bigger ears!

  4. pfftttt says:

    sounds like u have “shrunken head” syndrome

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