Top critical review
It's serviceable, but just barely. Okay for the price.
on January 27, 2014
Very simple plug and play system
Basic controls that are easy to use
LED functionality is adequate
Good battery life, decent charge time
Let me go over the cons:
The video and photo quality is very poor. Surprisingly, it's the still photo's that look worse. But I don't mind that as I got this for video. the downside to it being so lightweight and so small is that even the most slight movements will look very jarring on video. And let's say you are recording while walking, and you try to walk as smooth as you can, and hold the device as still as you can, it will still look like you recorded it while driving offroad in a Jeep.
Also the fact that the back is curved means it will not sit completely flat, and that the video image will be tilted. Also the drawbacks of not having a viewfinder really become significant. I had to have a handful of "practice sessions", where I would go out and record so I could get a good idea of how the aiming works. Because the camera lens is so small, it is difficult to really know where the camera is pointed and the borders of it's capturing. You simply have to learn this with repeated use. In the beginning I learned I had it tilted too high up.
The audio is okay. The video I found is very poor quality for the first second or two, but if you keep the camera still, the image quality improves. Also the camera, like most cheap cameras, do not perform well at all in low light conditions, but thats okay and it was something I anticipated. Also there are 1 second gaps where there is no audio. It's not too often and its so brief that it's not a big deal.
The one glaring issue my device has is the time/date stamp is static and cannot be changed. Videos always begin with the same date and time (2008, Jan 1, midnight). There is no way to edit or remove it without some in depth modification that will risk ruining the device. If you have experience with modifying electronics and are comfortable with soldering and working on circuit boards, then this might be acceptable to you. I was not comfortable with soldering circuit boards, or using custom firmware that could potentially brick my device, so unfortunately the incorrect time/date stamp will remain, and I will have to resort to post editing if I need to remove it.
The device is very inexpensive, it is silent and discreet as advertised, but the video quality makes my iPhone 5 camera look like a $950,000 IMAX Cinematic camera. The cost is also compounded by the fact that you will likely be spending $7-$10 on the MicroSD card for it.
Also be aware there are around a dozen different variations of this device and they range in quality. You can google "keychain 808 camera" for more information on the different types, and ask the seller if they can tell you which one they will be sending you. And the instruction manual included has very poor english, and when I looked up online for better translated directions, the directions given did not work for mine because it was for a different firmware. But I figured it out, and once you do it's pretty straightforward.
If it performed better and had better video quality, I could see myself using it in a larger variety of situations. But as it is, I will only be using this camera when being discreet is a must, and I cannot use my phones camera.
This is a luck of the draw kind of situation. You could end up getting a device that works better and has a higher quality camera in it. Or you could do worse and have a device that doesn't work at all. For the price, it's worth a gamble.