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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on January 12, 2013
UPDATE (12/7/2013): See end of review.

I bought this as a means to record while driving should I spot or get into an accident. As I describe below, sadly it won't charge while recording so you are limited solely by the battery life, that is if you have a big enough micro SD card. Below I have listed certain details about the camera as well as some specifications for the file format. Like many low priced DVRs, don't expect to be able to read the license plates of cars unless you are about 5 feet away. It has a nifty feature that places the time and date on the lower right side of the video, good for documentation (the manual gives understandable instructions on how to change it along with instructions on how to operate the other features the camera has). I noticed some waviness on some videos I recorded, but that didn't bother me much (could just be because of the bumpy roadways). Night time recording is overshadowed by the darkness, which is to be expected, but it does pick up on light semi-well. The color looks good, the video may look a bit blockish/pixeling for some people, but as long as I can distinguish a car from a pedestrian, I'm happy. It can also take pictures (although I just use it for video recording).

Memory Expansion: It is compatible with a 16 GB micro SD card. It came with a Sandish 4 GB size class 4. I bought a 16 GB Sandisk, also class 4.

Video specs: AVI format, MJPG (Motion JPEG) codec, Night time bit-rate: ~3,500 kbps, Day time bit-rate: ~4,200 kbps, 640x480, 30fps

Audio specs: 128 kbps constant bit-rate (CBR), mono (1 channel), 8kHz

File size: Records in 30 minute intervals. Within ~800 to ~900 MB for a 30 minute file. For one hour and 26 minutes, all three files total a size of 2.48 GB (ranging from ~26 to ~32 MB/min.)

Picture specs: JPG format, 1280x1024, 96 dpi, 24 bit depth, ~150 KB.

Battery Life: With the 16 GB card installed, I was able to get 3 hours of recording (~5.4 GB) before it shut off. It doesn't charge while recording, unfortunately. I contacted Night Owl and they said that it can't. If you try to connect it to a charger, it won't let you switch to recording mode. Attempting to first record, then connecting it to charge ended in the same result with about 3 hours of recording time, so it definitely wasn't charging.

I bought mine for 40 dollars and it came with a 10 dollar rebate. Overall, I'm happy with my purchase. I guess the alternative for this would be the Veho Muvi or the Veho Muvi Pro (according to some reviews that one can record while charging).

Update (12/7/2013): The DVR is still working. However, the battery life has degraded noticeably. Now, on a full charge, it has a ~1.5 hour battery life. I would frequently use it until the battery died, then subsequently recharge it, repeating this over and over again. Perhaps letting the battery fully discharge isn't good for it's health.

Update (1/24/2014): I accidentally left the device running until it discharged, but interestingly I was able to get about 2.5 hours of recording out of it before it died, one year after I purchased it. I think motion recording (i.e. driving or putting the DVR on your bicycle helmet) drains the battery faster compared to static position recording (mounting it in one location pointing in one direction with a fixed background such as a store entrance).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Verified Purchase
There are a few things to know about this mini DVR. Its small and it works. I have a quality assurance program where I verify sales people are doing their full job. These cameras hide well and get fairly good video and audio within 10 feet. When they are brand new you get about 4.5 hours out of 1 charge. To accomplish this much time you will have to use a 16gb micro sd card.

These dvrs use old school mini usb chargers which you get with the device. You also get a rubber cover and a clip to mount the DVR. For a $40 device you get a fairly solid device. You will want to let this device charge for 8 hours before using it. They do charge fairly quickly once the battery dies.

The way you start the video recording is goofy and have to watch what lights come on but it does work.
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on November 8, 2014
I'm not going to be one of those individuals who writes a mean, snarky, overly critical, unbalanced review while they are heated.

I will say this:

At first I loved this product. I was tooling around with IP cameras and making them more mobile. Then I saw this exact product at Fry's Electronics for $60. I was happy with the price (it's all relative I suppose) and excited to use this product in real life scenarios.

I was surprised that the video looked as good as it did (it's ok...not great) given the size of the camera. The field of view is less then desirable, but the size of the unit made up for the lack of video quality. I wish I could say the same about the quality of building materials.

CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP PLASTIC JUNK. And don't you dare try to use it with a macintosh. Sure, everything seems to work just fine, until you forget to empty the recycle bin before you eject the device, or if your computer freezes....ugh. Please don't think I'm some old fart with a dinosaur computer trying to play IT. I know my way around electronics. So what I'm about to say should hold some weight amongst the readers of this review:

Given the fact that theres dozens of versions of this device, and 75% of them are less expensive then night owls, and seemingly all of the competition has at least 2 to 3 more options ie. night vision, remote conrol, voice activation, better frame rate, better building material, I WOULD NOT RECOMMEND THIS PRODUCT. THERE'S BETTER OUT THERE, BUYER BEWARE. Whatever design, or firmware, or software, or programming, whatever, whomever touched this thing and designed the user interface (ha!) messed it up real bad. Go ahead, buy one, you'll see.

And their tech support are just as knowledgable about the products as you the consumer. Although I was pleased to be able to speak with a human being about it at 4 in the morning.
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on August 10, 2014
Verified Purchase
Nice product. I buy night owl products and they work very well. I would suggest night owl to come up with PTZ cameras, because i ben looking for one and i haven't seen it.
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on August 8, 2014
Verified Purchase
wouldn't take the correct date and time, then took two photos and one very short video and stopped recording anything. Attempting to return item to amazon.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on August 18, 2013
Verified Purchase
the item does a nice job recording video in well lit environments. one problem is that if you are using it as a law enforcement officer, the only practical use is during field interviews. due to it being clipped to my front pocket, the camera only recorded the suspect's feet when I had my gun drawn on him. this was caused by my body posture. if you mount it higher, you will have issues ensuring the camera is recording due to the location of the record button. the only way to ensure it is recording is if the light on top is orange. It's just not ergonomic for LE use.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 12, 2014
Verified Purchase
love this camera takes great pics!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and videos this camera is perfect for any child explorer or any adult wish I could put more stars!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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