(5 of 5 Stars!),
Saturday October 29, 2011
by StuntCams Reviews
The PH720HD is the best “pen” camera I have ever used, going back about 25 years. It produces clear video (and decent sound), has simple controls, and recharges quickly. The only drawback I found, in fact, is that the battery charge is only good for 1 ¼ hours. (The manufacturer rates it at one hour of run time; our tests produced times exceeding that by 10 to 15 minutes.) There is, though, an external battery pack (small; it takes a single AA battery) that can easily be concealed in the same pocket to which you clip the pen. The external battery pack in our review copy was not functioning; the review will be amended when the additional testing is complete.
The separation of controls (one for video record, photo, or sound only, and one for start stop) make this unit easier to use under operational conditions (law enforcement or private investigation) than many other similar products. The PH720HD is a “flash” memory device, so you will not need a separate memory chip, and connects to your computer for download with a normal mini-USB cable (not like the micro-USB connection on a BlackBerry or some of the newer Motorola products). The cable is included in the package.
Like most digital surveillance cameras, the PH720HD records in segments, so as to prevent loss of product if there are problems during the recording. You simply turn the camera on for as long as you require (and the battery capacity permits) and it records in segments of 30 minutes, give or take a few seconds. There will be a small gap in recording between the segments, which you will need to keep in mind when briefing the client or prosecutor with whom you are working.
The time date stamp can be turned on or off at will, and readily reset. The manual is precisely correct on this point. (The manual is in particularly well-translated English, although there are a few awkward points.)
Unlike a lot of other “pen” cameras, the PH720HD has a well-functioning pen capability, as well, so you can easily write, should the circumstances so dictate, to maintain your cover during use.
It is a good idea, when recharging this or any other unit after use, to double-check the time date stamp before the next field session. The PH720HD date reset to January 1, 2007 after some of our endurance testing. This is only a problem if your preparation for the next assignment does not include a full function test of your equipment.
As always, responsibility for using this unit in compliance with local laws rests entirely with you.