Last Updated on January 12, 2020
If you take a look at the hidden spy cameras market nowadays, you will find that the main goal of many is to disguise themselves as common household objects. And one such popular category are USB flash drives, which results in a USB flash drive spy camera craze.
There are a lot of options out there, some of which are really good, and others not that much. That being said, if you want to add some kind of surveillance to your home or office, in an inconspicuous way, this is an excellent opportunity for you to do so. After going through countless product reviews, we concluded a list of the best USB spy cameras.
To help you a bit, we’ve decided to do two things. First, we’ll take a look at three really good options that you can pick up, so you’ve got a bit of a choice. And then, we’ll discuss about how to choose a good USB flash drive spy camera, and what are some things to look out for.
Resolution: 720p HD
Storage: Up to 32GB
Recording time: 1.5 hours
Our top pick is the MEYUEWAL USB Spy Camera. As we mentioned earlier, it looks just like a standard USB memory drive, and nobody is going to recognize it isn’t. It’s made really well, and aside from the micro SD slot on the side, it has nothing that would give it away. It does come with a rotating cap, though, so you can use that to hide the card slot while you’re recording with the camera.
What’s interesting about the MEYUEWAL is that it does actually work as a USB flash drive. It does, however, use the memory card that you would insert, and that’s up to 32GB. This means that it’s not only a USB flash drive spy camera, but also a conventional USB drive with up to 32GB of storage capacity. You do get loop recording, which means that the camera will overwrite the oldest footage in favor of the newest one when your storage is full.
The video quality is excellent. It does only record at 720p, as opposed to some higher end models that go up to 1080p, but the quality is great and you’ll be able to easily recognize and discern faces on people that you’ve recorded, as well as other important details. You can not only record videos, but you can also capture photos if necessary, too. Operation is very simple. The button is hidden in the hinge, and all you have to do is hold it for two seconds for the camera to start recording.
Overall, the MEYUEWAL is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a USB flash drive spy camera that’s as inconspicuous as they come, and has all the functionality that you may need. It won’t set you back a lot in terms of budget, and you won’t regret buying it. If you need one, by all means go for it.
Excellent with audio
Resolution: 720p HD
Storage: Up to 32GB
If you’re in need of something that’s just as inconspicuous as our top pick, but also records video, you might want to take a look at the ABOUR. Visually, both are pretty similar. They both have the same hinge and rotating cap design, and the button is placed at pretty much the same place.
However, we did give second place to the ABOUR, simply because it uses a touch worse plastic, and looks and feels a lot cheaper. We didn’t use it long enough to be able to tell you how durable it is, but it does feel like it might fall apart rather quickly unless taken care of well.
In terms of video recording, the field of view is decent, and we had no complaints as far as the video quality and resolution go. They’re both good, but nothing to write home about. If you keep the room well lit, you won’t have any issues with the quality, but it does suffer in dim lighting. That being said, it’s a budget variant, so this behavior is somewhat to be expected.
What you’re also getting here is motion detection. This will basically tell the camera that someone is moving and it will immediately start recording whoever it is. It does accept micro SD cards, with a slot to the side, and you can easily cover it with the rotating cap so it’s inconspicuous.
Overall, the ABOUR is a pretty good runner-up, but it does sacrifice quite a bit when it comes to build quality. If, however, you’d prefer motion detection and audio as compared to build quality, it’s just the right pick for you.
Resolution: 720 x 480
Storage: Up to 32GB
Working time: about 60 minutes
Battery capacity: 300mAh
And so we arrive at the last pick on our list, the GROUPBUYLINK U8 USB flash drive spy camera. Compared to the others, it’s the worst performing, but we still decided to include it because it’s also quite a bit cheaper than everything else and still does a good job.
The first thing you’ll notice is the build – it’s different than the other flash drives. You don’t get the rotating cap, instead you have a removable one, and you have a few buttons on the sides. These are used to change the settings and set up the recording, but they’re actually pretty inconspicuous. Unless you’re looking for them, you won’t find them.
It does support memory cards at up to 32GB, and the video quality is pretty good. You do get a pretty low resolution, however, which we feel should’ve been better, but at this price, we find it hard to complain. It does capture 5 megapixel photos at a 4:3 image ration, and the videos are saved in an AVI format. This adds a lot of versatility because it supports a lot of operating systems for data transfer. Overall, if you’re on a budget, but want a good USB flash drive spy camera, this is the one to go for. (1)
How do you choose one?
The first thing you’ll want to do when you’re looking at a USB flash drive spy camera is to determine your budget. Even though generally they’re all pretty cheap, you will often find some that are a lot more expensive without offering a lot of extra functionality. As you can see with the options below, they do give you all you could need from a good USB flash drive spy camera, and you won’t be needing much more. Check our article on how to use a USB Spy Camera.
When you’ve determined your budget, it’s time to look at specifications for cameras. The first thing you’ll come across is the resolution. With resolution, there’s generally a couple of options, HD and Full HD being the key ones. If you’re trying to save a bit, you could go for HD, which is 1280×720. This will give you decent video quality, but nothing to write home about. However, it’s going to save you quite a bit of storage. Full HD, or 1920×1080, is a whole different beast. It does capture quite a lot more detail, but it also uses up a lot more space, which might be bad if you don’t have the room for it. Which one you go for is completely up to you, but do keep these things in mind, but know that if you have a well-lit room, 720p is quite sufficient.
Next, you’ve got the field of view. A USB flash drive spy camera is oftentimes something you’ll just put on your desk, or plug in your computer, so a narrow field of view might not capture everything you need. Try to get one with a wider field of view, because it will capture a much larger part of the scene.
The next thing is where conventional cameras differ from a USB flash drive spy camera. With a conventional one, you don’t have to worry about looks. But here, you want one that’s going to look like a spy camera, and nothing else. You don’t want a lot of additional buttons, you don’t want a lot of flashing lights etc. You want it to be as simple as possible, without a lot of fuss. That’s why our top pick is our top pick, because it looks just like a USB flash drive, nothing more. The lens looks like a LED (but won’t flash), and the button is well hidden in the hinge of the flash drive’s cap.
Last but not least, you should consider the functionality, and there’s one key feature here. You should see whether or not the flash drive can record while plugged in. While many will come with a built-in battery, the ability to record while you have it plugged in a computer, for example, is a great thing because it gives you significantly longer recording time. Here’s a how to guide on USB flash drive spy cameras.
(1) – Aspect Ratios – https://www.shutterstock.com/blog/common-aspect-ratios-photo-image-sizes