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I've just received my keychain camera, targeted at attaching it to my Syma X1 Quad Copter to take videos while I fly it - just for fun. I've played with the camera for about 2 hours, watched instruction videos on youtube, and spent quite a bit of time on the Chuck Lohr web site.

I've uploaded a video I shot of my 3-year-old grandson at open gym today. Sadly the video was downgraded during the upload to Amazon because it simply isn't as good as it is on the original file on my computer. I hoped you could see the quality of the video, color reproduction, sharpness, and light capture capability in this video. The video shows the gym lit about the way it looks with the eyes. The music is coming from a boom-box about 50' away. Most of the tilt in the video is due to the way I was holding it. But I found that laying the camera on a flat surface there is a slight (5%?) built in tilt as well.

As many have said the instructions are very difficult to decipher, but it can be done. I won't try to give instructions on how to use the camera because apparently there are different models and you don't know which one you'll receive. The three cameras look the same but react differently to the two buttons. There is a ton of help on the web site chucklohr dot com.

My camera seems to be a type #11 but with upgraded firmware because it seems to have some of the #16 characteristics. No big deal, as I'm just playing with this cheap toy I'm not looking for the optimal camera.

Clearly mine is a type #11 because the battery wires are soldered onto the board while the #16 has a connector. But rather than a short push of the power button to turn it on, as indicated in the #11 user manual, mine requires a long push (about 3-5 seconds) to turn it on which is a #16 characteristic.

Some things I found.
- I didn't think the computer would communicate with the camera through the USB cable but it does. In my case I insert the USB cable with the camera turned off and it automatically turns on. At that point I can access it from my computer, change the date, view videos, and view photographs.

- The Videos are stored on the micro SD card in the DCIM->100MEDIA folder.

- I could view the videos with the Windows Media Player or the Windows Movie Maker but not with the VLC Media Player. Strange because the VLC player usually works better than other media players.

- It was cheap
- It works.
- It takes rather surprising video - about as good as my feature phone. Not great but for under $10 acceptable.
- Color reproduction isn't great but acceptable.
- The auto-focus responds quickly and seems to work quite well.
- The sound captured with the video isn't bad at all. I was using it in a completely quiet room and recorded my voice from about a foot away from the camera for this test.
- The box that it comes in is one of the better features of the camera. It is made of thin but rigid cardboard and has a magnetic latch. This has nothing to do with the camera but it's cool anyway. I wish the paperwork was as good as the box.

- The low light capability is just not good. Things, not well illuminated, that I can see with my naked eye are black on the video.
- The instructions are terrible.
- It doesn't always connect to my computer when I plug the USB cable into it. I have to do it 2 or 3 times.
- My version doesn't have some features that the #16 version has. The most interesting would be for the light to flash during video which mine doesn't. There is no indication if you are taking video or not.
- The micro SD card must be plugged in upside down, with the contact of the SD care facing up. Okay fine. But the gap for the SD card is about twice as tall as it needs to be. Once when I tried to insert the SD card it went easily and fully into the keychain case completely missing the card slot. When I shook it I could hear the SD card rattling around inside. I had to take the screws out and open the case to fetch the card.

For under $10 this is surprisingly good, but you have to do your homework because there is very little that comes with the camera in the form of a user manual.
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on July 12, 2016
wow! all i can say is wow! for ten bucks i was sure it would be DOA or garbage for the $10 price. not the case at all. will attach footage later. but its awesome,,just know that. also i would like to note that i saw the same exact one at frys electronics for $35. ps frys is just 90 recycled and refurbished electronics and they are a terrible company. read what their own employees say about them in their forums. scam artists on a major scale,ask them about price matching costco and 80% will lie and say no. (they do) also they sell alot of refurbished items and "forget" to list them as such.
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on January 27, 2014

The price
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.
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on October 14, 2016
Perfectly fine for the price. If you are looking for great HD video in the dark, then obviously you are going to want to upgrade. But I paid under ten bucks for this, and it does exactly what I expected it to do. It is well disguised.

It seems to record in 10 minutes chunks at a time. The sound is okay, but be aware that its field of view is VERY zoomed in. So if you want to get a full scene, you will need to be a good distance away. It is also very poor in low lighting, so only plan on using this in a place with full lighting. The manual teaching you how to use this is difficult to understand, but with a bit of trial and error, its operation is easily picked up.

Not complaining for the price. But remember, if you want something with HD, a wide field of view, decent low light performance, or long length recording, look elsewhere.
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on August 12, 2015
Great price works as described with ease of operation. A SD Card must first be Inserted then charge the battery in the unit by computer USB connection it is not necessary for it to be fully charged, but when it does charge the light will blink. After a couple of uses charging the battery it will blight fast letting you know that it is almost full. Fully charged units will not show the blinking light. Test the unit by pressing and holding the on/off button until the light blinks once and then remains on. Next, press the Record button holding It until It blinks three times and release Immediately. Now you are Recording in Video Mode. I do not recommend that you try to configure to take Individual pictures until you are very familiar with the unit. I use the 8MB SD Card.
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on October 1, 2016
I bought this to use on a flying arrow or model rocket. This was a brick from the time I opened the package. When I plug it in to the provided USB cable, the cable immediately heats up to a dangerously high temperature. The product will not turn on or do anything at all.
*Update* I found another USB cable, the cable they sent me was a dud. It took some looking, because it's an old USB connection type ("mini", not "micro"). Now I can charge it, and am trying to decode the ridiculously worked instructions to figure out if this unit will film anything. *update* after hours of charging, it still does nothing: will not power on. Now the charging light doesn't come on anymore. This thing is a brick. I am returning it, and may buy another, after so many reviews said the product works.
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on December 27, 2013
I was actually surprised (especially for the price I paid) at how well this works. We got it because I wanted to record an IME appointment (yes, I know I'm not supposed to, and in a perfect world, I wouldn't have to). My husband had it in his pocket, so it looked just like a car remote. He was easily able to activate it, and it filmed most of the small room we were in and got most of the exam in the picture, even when I had to get up and walk around for him. It recorded the entire length of the exam from start to finish. And even though the doctor was speaking quietly, it picked most of his speaking up as well. The quality of the picture and sound was impressive - especially for the price. The software was easy to use, and I was quickly able to watch, and transfer it from the keychain to my computer minutes after the appointment, for safe keeping. Obviously, we're not talking amazing, or high, or top quality or anything like that, but for what it is, and what I paid, I am very impressed, and it did it's job.

(As a side note, in case you're wondering, yes, I realize that I won't ever be able to use the video, but at least our lawyer now knows what questions were asked, and can ask the doctor questions about those questions. Because it's not a perfect world.)
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on November 16, 2013
If you want to get this to actually be able to take a video or picture, don't waste your time. The video is poor quality, but at least you can see what is happening. The still photos are horrible. It doesn't matter if you take the picture inside or outside, the end up extremely grainy and blurry. I took the first pictures acting like I would if I wanted to take a "spy" picture, I couldn't even see what it was. So I tried holding it extremely steady and kept an eye on the light so I knew when the picture was taken, it was a little better, but still very blurry.

I've uploaded a couple of pictures taken with this thing. One was taken outside on a bright day. I held it extremely steady and watched the light to make sure I didn't move it before the image was captured. The other is inside in a fairly bright room. There's a dog laying on the blanket on the floor, I can hardly even see that it is there.

I realize this is less than 10 bucks. But it isn't even worth that much. Save your money.
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on April 15, 2014
it did work out of the box, was not hard to use ... I have no clue how to set the clock and its limited instructions are not telling. The pix it took were OK, useable in most lighting but hold camera steady or its a blur. Video recording is not bad, in fact pretty impressive for the camera price. Even when doing a fast pan video seems crisp/stable. The audio worked, it produces loud thumps as your hand or key chain moves but that aside the mic seems sensitive enough. Since its one light goes out to indicate recording, Its not always clear if/when it is recording.
Assuming this unit works when you need it this could be one handy little camera to have in hand and available for many situations. (Not that other reviews paint a picture of a dependable product... but so far so good for me).

A follow up... it died a day after first use. Looks like it works but writes nothing on SD card anymore. Oh well....
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on October 16, 2013
This little car remote keychain camera is fantastic. It takes good quality video and photos. Its not an HD image or anything but its not super grainy or bad at all. I can clearly see every detail in the video. The sound works great as well. I have had no problems with it what so ever. I recorded unnoticed on several occasions. The target even seen it and looked right at it but dismissed it as a normal car remote. I mostly us it indoors and have no problems. I used it outdoors once just to see how it did in natural light and have no complaints there either. I give this thing an easy 5 stars because it does the job better than I expected for less than $10. I recorded non-stop for 45 minutes using a 2GB card. When I stopped it it still had battery left to go and at least 500 more Mb of space. It seems to use about 250 Mb per 10 minutes (thats a close estimate not exact). You will need to buy a Micro SD card to go with this as it does not come with one. I have not done a test to see just how long the battery lasts on a single charge but I know it will go AT LEAST 45 minutes. Another cool feature, it saves the video every 30 minutes. I'd estimate you can get an hour out of of easily.
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