For the price, this overall is a decent spy camera!

  • Support micro SD card up to 32 GB storage.
  • Supported by Windows and MacOS
  • Working time: About 60 minutes

There’s one very popular solution for people who are looking for a concealed way to record someone or something, and it’s a hidden camera in the shape of a popular household object. And let’s be honest, which one of us doesn’t have a couple of US flash drives around the house here and there? It would be perfect if you could have one of them be a camera instead, wouldn’t it?

Well, if you do agree with the aforementioned, you’re left with a sea of options to choose from, some of which are truly great, while others are terrible. To help you make a better purchasing decision, we’ve got a really good one for you. We’re talking about the U8 Motion Detection USB Spy Camera. It’s a fairly budget oriented model that aims to provide decent functionality at a fairly cheap price, all while keeping the build quality excellent and without compromising on any key features.

If you are looking to buy a usb spy camera with motion detection, you might also want to check out our picks for Best USB Spy Cameras.

Video Quality: 720 x 480p
Motion Detection
Battery capacity: 300mAh 

But, let’s get one thing out of the way before we even begin. The U8 Motion Detection USB Spy Camera isn’t for everyone. We’re sure that once we’re done with our review, there will be people who expected a bit more in one regard or another, because the camera isn’t perfect. What it is, is a good combination of features and wallet-friendly price that might appeal to some, but not all. If this is okay with you, let’s dive into the review.

What do you get in terms of features?

We’ll start things off with the inside. The video recording feature works pretty well, but we didn’t really love the fact that the resolution is capped at 720 x 480. This is below HD, which is more or less the standard when it comes to today’s budget cameras. However, at this price, can you really complain? You also get a 30 frames per second framerate, which is more or less standard in these circles. It’s okay, but nothing to write home about. Videos are saved in an AVI format with M-JPEG encoding. This is pretty much standard, so it’s a good way to go. (1)

Aside from the numbers and specs, the video quality is actually pretty good. We noticed no problems when we wanted to take a look at details, and there wasn’t that much of a noticeable quality loss as you got closer to the edges, something that’s pretty common with many budget cameras. The field of view itself is decent, but it is not as wide as some of the (admittedly more expensive) competition. You’ll need to set it up just right if you’re going to make the most of it.

You not only get video recording, but you can also capture photos as well. This is done at a maximum resolution of 1280 x 1024, and the pictures are saved in a pretty standard JPG format. Their quality is pretty good, and we’re glad that you can also capture stills whereas many of the competitors products are video-only.

The other feature we’d like to mention is motion detection. It’s a pretty important one, especially at this price. While other cameras will basically record continuously as long as they’ve got storage available and battery power, you can set the U8 up in a way so it only records when you have movement in front of the sensor itself. This is especially helpful when you have hours of footage, with only ten minutes of important data. It saves you from scrubbing through those hours of footage, and instead it only captures those important minutes because that’s when it had movement. Because the camera lacks loop recording, this also helps you from having a memory card that fills up within a couple of hours, leaving you with a useless camera.

Last but not least, we have the battery. Inside the U8 Motion Detection USB Spy Camera we’ve got a 300mAh battery, which gives you about an hour of continuous recording time. You might be able to squeeze a bit more out of it by relying on motion detection, but that’s not something we’d rely on. It does, however, support recording while charging, so you can leave it plugged in and it’ll record continuously.

Moving on to the outside

On the outside, the U8 comes with a really unassuming design. Many other USB drive spy cameras come with a host of buttons and flashing LEDs which give things away and make them easy to recognize. Fortunately, that’s not the case here. Yes, you have three buttons, but you won’t even see them unless you look for them specifically. They’re used to turn the camera on or off, to change between video and photo, and to turn on motion detection. There is also an LED indicator, but it won’t blink while the camera is recording, so you don’t have to worry about someone noticing it.

You will find an SD card slot right above the USB plug itself. Yes, the camera doesn’t have built-in memory, and you’ll need to provide a memory card for it to save footage on. You can have up to a 32GB model, which is quite a bit, and the port itself is very well concealed. The lens itself is at the back, on the opposite end of the USB port, so it’s perfect if you want to leave it plugged in and recording, as it will capture a pretty good part of the scene.

Our Verdict

At the end of the day, there’s no denying that the U8 Motion Detection USB Spy Camera is not for everyone. Many will require higher quality video, while others might appreciate a larger battery and loop recording.

On the other hand, at this price, the U8 strikes the perfect balance between good performance, a decent feature set, and build quality that ensures the camera will last for a good while. It’s actually pretty hard to beat.

Resources

(1) – Framerate – https://www.techsmith.com/blog/frame-rate-beginners-guide/