Customer Reviews for Swann Video Camera Pen and Recorder

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Swann Video Camera Pen and Recorder

The Swann PenCam DVR Mini Video Camera & Recorder is living proof the pen is mightier than the sword! The stylish-looking casing with metallic gold trim and pocket clip holds an executive-quality black ballpoint pen with hidden talents, as it contains a pinhole video camera so small you almost can’t see that it’s there. Use the PenCam to shoot AVI video files at 640 x 480 pixel resolution or JPEG still images at 1280 x 1024 photo resolution, all at the push of a button. PenCam’s intelligent design includes 2GB of built-in internal memory that can store over an hour of video footage. Viewing or copying recorded files is easy, just unscrew the top of the pen to reveal a USB plug that can connect straight into your computer’s USB port. No special cables, no adapters, no drivers, no worries! Transferring files is easy as the PenCam can be used as an everyday USB thumb drive, able to store a myriad of file formats without fuss. PenCam’s 2GB capacity avoids the trappings of 4GB and 8GB models by providing the optimal mix of recording capacity, battery life, and operating speed. What’s more, you can use the USB port to recharge the pen’s lithium-ion battery to give up to 90 minutes of video recording time before needing recharging again. PenCam is fully compatible with Windows XP, Vista and 7 and, once recorded, files can be played back on all the popular video playing software formats including Windows Media Player, Quick Time, Real Player, VLC, WinDVD and PowerDVD. Once you have backed-up your video and photo files you can email them to friends or upload them to your favorite content sharing or social networking websites including YouTube, Facebook, MySpace and more. Swann’s PenCam DVR Mini Video Camera & Recorder is perfect for sales people, lawyers, law enforcement, mystery shopping, covert surveillance, family get-togethers, parties, spy games, home movie making, internet fun and more. The pack includes 3 black ballpoint ink refills and everything you need to get started at the push of a button. Beware of cheap alternatives! Swann has been manufacturing pen cameras and covert video surveillance products for over 10 years. For quality and reliability choose a PenCam DVR Mini Video Camera & Recorder from Swann. It’s the perfect business person’s accessory or a cool gift idea! Video: Video Format: AVI   Resolution: 640 x 480   Video Bit Rate: 450KB per second   Video File Size: >500KB per minute Photos: Photo Format: JPEG   Resolution: 1280 x 1024   Image File Size: 150 KB (approximately) Recording: Recording Mode: Manual Recording & Continuous   Total Storage Time: Over 1 hour General: Operating System: Windows XP, Windows Vista & Windows 7   Internal Memory: 2GB   Backup Type: USB   Battery Type: Rechargeable Lithium-ion   Charging: USB via computer   Battery Charging Time: Approximately 90 minutes   Dimensions: 5.9” x 0.6” x 0.6”   Weight: 1oz Pack Contents: PenCam DVR   Pen Ink Refills (black) x 3   USB Cable   Operating Instructions Model:SWA361-PC2
Average Customer Rating:
3.274 out of 5
3.3
 out of 
5
(95 Reviews) 95
(out of 95 reviews)
Open Ratings Snapshot
Rating Snapshot (95 reviews)
5 stars
33
4 stars
24
3 stars
4
2 stars
4
1 star
30
60 of 95(63%)customers would recommend this product to a friend.
Customer Reviews for Swann Video Camera Pen and Recorder
Review 1 for Swann Video Camera Pen and Recorder
Rating
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
Location:Bonney Lake, WA
Date:November 3, 2010

Stand Still and it's Not Too Bad

Pros: fun to use, pretty discreet, poor video if moving, poor audio, pocket clip broke
Model Number: DVR-421
"I bought two of these, thinking one would be a gift. I wore this pen cam to work for two days to try it out. The sound is pretty bad, especially when moving. Not much can be understood, at all. The video when moving is also pretty bad. You find out just how much your body moves while walking when you watch the recorded video. Careful, you may get sea-sick! Now, when standing still, the video and sound is actually pretty good. I stood and talked to a few people. First, no one realized I was wearing this. Second, the video was clear and covers a pretty good sized area. The sound wasn't great, but it was understandable. I love the idea of such an item, but this just isn't quite ready for primetime. Oh yeah, on the second day the clip that holds this to your shirt pocket broke off. That is when I decided to return both of them. Hopefully, one day, we will be able to buy a little better product. Still, Buck Rogers or Dick Tracy would be amazed as to how far technology has come!"
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
Review 2 for Swann Video Camera Pen and Recorder
Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:Orange County ,CA
Date:December 11, 2010

Very Nice Pencam

Model Number: DVR-421
"I bought this Pencam from Costco for their return policy (Costco) as i was very skeptical about these types of electronics, cams etc so i could return to them with no hassle,.
All they advertise and said about this little Pencam is true and real and i LOVE it ...
Tried it in a few places ,circumstances and all i can say is : WORKS great it really does not only the cam but the pen too ... at first i tried it in my Shop (a retail store in Orange County ,CA) and it did work great , wonderful images clear as it can get ..
Now if you are expecting to produce a professional video / Image of a professional $10000.00 Digital camera you are maybe going to not like this one as it was not build for to capture that to be broadcasted on CNN etc....
Plug it into your Computer or laptop and .... easy very simple to work with all you have captured right from your own computer.
I highly recommend this little Pencam and yes of course no RETURN to Costco ....
"
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Review 3 for Swann Video Camera Pen and Recorder
Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:Los Angeles, CA
Date:July 1, 2010

Interesting Product

Pros: pen actually works
Model Number: DVR-421
"I saw this product at another electronics store and almost bought it. Once I saw it at Costco.com for quite a bit cheaper I pulled the trigger. It is a great gadget gift idea. I've used it to record video and still shots. The video, images, and audio are great for such a small item. Don't expect HD quality but it more than does the job. It is easy to transfer to a computer as it simply records to what amounts to a thumb drive. I'm not sure what practical applications this product has but it is definitely fun to use."
13 of 13 people found this review helpful.
Review 4 for Swann Video Camera Pen and Recorder
Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:Texas
Date:November 5, 2010

Great Pencam Gadget! Cool video!

Pros: cheap video camera, good quality images, works as a ballpoint pen too, extra pen refills, great price for a camera video and pen
Cons: only comes in black
Model Number: DVR-421
"I bought this on a whim because I am a pen collector. It really works! I took video that looked better than my current camcorder and with the usb, I uploaded it right onto youtube for my family to see. Easy to use and much better quality than I ever expected from a pen. By the way, the pen works great as an executive style ballpoint pen too! Good deal for the money!"
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
Review 5 for Swann Video Camera Pen and Recorder
Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Date:April 24, 2012

Surprisingly Good Deal

Pros: cost/value, good video
Cons: audio quality/mic placement, .avi video files are huge, delay at beginning of recording
Model Number: 2GB Pen Cam
"I was in the market for a covert video recorder for use in a law enforcement capacity. When I saw this item, I thought I'd give it a shot based on how inexpensive it was and the ability to return it if I wasn't satisfied. After a month of use, I'm keeping it.
I'll address the drawbacks, as there are a few worth noting. But even so, I still give it a 5, because at this cost, I'm not gonna be too picky. Nothing even remotely close to this functionality comes in less than $200 from what I've seen.
The video files (I only use it for video) are huge (.avi format) about 25MB/minute. So at that rate, you're only gonna fit 80 minutes of video on the 2GB stick. The files transfer pretty quick, and I find it easy to transfer them on the fly during my shift onto my car's computer (Win XP). Works on our home Mac and Win7 laptop with no hiccups.
There is a delay when you start it up (it automatically shuts off if left in standby over a minute- which is nice), and another delay when you press record. So it's almost always off when I start a new recording. I have to hold the button 3 seconds to turn it on, wait 5 seconds, then press the button once to start recording. I've found that once you press the button to record, there still is about a 3-5 second delay before it actually starts recording. When you press the button again, it stops immediately and goes into standby for a minute or so, then off.
The video is decent, the audio is mediocre and "boomy," especially with any background or traffic noise. But it's understandable, and fine if you have a quiet setting.
The size of the pen is pretty fat, and it barely fits in my little pen pocket (which will easily hold a Cross pen and pencil side by side), and it sticks out a little higher than normal, but nobody (coworkers included) has made any comments about my gigantic pen... Using it at night, the blue LED throws some light onto your shirt, behind the pen, but it isn't visible from straight on. There is also a time/date stamp which has to be set from the computer and can't be removed from the recording.
Overall, I'm pleased with the product and have purchased another one as a backup in the event this one bites the dust. Just remember... you're not spending a whole bunch of money here, so don't have unrealistic expectations."
12 of 12 people found this review helpful.
Review 6 for Swann Video Camera Pen and Recorder
Rating
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Date:July 2, 2010

OK product

Model Number: DVR-421
"Serves its purpose as a small reliable camera; we needed to capture "bi-polar" neighbor ranting at me or my wife and hasseling my dogs. Exceptional sound recording, video is not good in low light and, movement while recording must be kept somewhat slow as to not blur the recording; does record a decent video just don't jerk the camera around. Swann has a 4 Gig silver model on their site."
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Review 7 for Swann Video Camera Pen and Recorder
Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:Texas Gulf Coast
Date:November 9, 2011

Totally Cool Product

Pros: tons of fun, kids love being filmed, so easy to use it is ridiculous
Cons: hard work to be a spy
"Seems like you have a million uses for this product until you actually own one. All those sinister plots you dreamed up don't seen as realistic now that you actually own the pen. However, it works exactly as it says and makes a great video with sound. Just plug it into your computer and boom you are watching it on your screen. So, put it in your pocket and catch that unscrupulous car dealer lie about the milage or whatever. Using it with kids is really a hoot. It is more fun just to play with than to try to be a spy."
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Review 8 for Swann Video Camera Pen and Recorder
Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Date:September 15, 2010

Super item!

Pros: clear video, super technical support
Model Number: DVR-421
"The pen is as advertised. The comment by the other user that said there is a sticker on the pen and it gives it away, are you kidding? Just "Remove" the sticker, all cameras/computers have stickers on them to highlight features. To continue with the review, I received my first pen and the audio did not work. The company immediately sent new one and a postage paid envelope to return the other. New one worked straight out of package on Vista operating system, no disc required to install. It takes great video and audio is as good as distance to origin of sound. For the price, it is a great item. Technical support for questions was exceptional! This product is advertised at much higher prices elsewhere. Buy and enjoy!"
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Review 9 for Swann Video Camera Pen and Recorder
Rating
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Location:Michigan
Date:September 8, 2010

For the Money: Not too bad and fun to have handy.

Model Number: DVR-421
"As mentioned, the digital AVI quality is really good relative to the size if the camera and lens. The footage jumps and is jerky a lot but this is due to the movement of the owner.
Audio seems to be too sensitive - picks up distant ambiant sounds and those close to the mic are almost distorted.
Still, this device can provide a lot of fun for the unsuspecting and for documenting those encounters which others will deny ever happened.
Contrary to what "ekorba" says, there is no 'giveaway label' on the lower portion of the unit - at least one than can not be removed."
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Review 10 for Swann Video Camera Pen and Recorder
Rating
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Location:Mile High
Date:December 16, 2010

Learning Curve May Be Problem

Pros: good novelty item. can provide fun., remarkable technologhy, future models will be thinner, device is very well priced
Cons: requires reading to use properly, can not be learned by texing
"There are some cheap knockoffs on the market, however I do not believe that Costco is selling them. These pens, like other micro camera devices, are sometimes difficult to use because of the multi-fuction switching. The color of the LED designates the function being performed and the status. First of all the pen should be fully charged before attempting to use. When attempting to use the pen, it will shut off if it is not fully charged. If you experience this problem you may have to reset the pen, fully charge it and start over. For the most part these devices will work if you follow the instructions and understand the varous status colors desplayed by the LED. Some single function devices are easy to use, however the multi-functon devices take a little more learning. WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS READ THE INSTRUCTIONS."
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Review 11 for Swann Video Camera Pen and Recorder
Rating
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Location:Staten Island, NY
Date:October 17, 2010

Never Worked

Cons: never worked.
Model Number: DVR-421
"I charged the pen until the charge light stopped flashing. After that, it wouldn't work.
From amber standby mode, if I pressed once for video, it would flash blue but immediately go back to amber.
In photo mode, it would go to solid blue and freeze. I couldn't take a picture, or turn it off.
I returned it the next day."
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Review 12 for Swann Video Camera Pen and Recorder
Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:Albuqurque, NM
Date:November 3, 2010

Pleasantly Surprised

Pros: good price
"Both audio and video worked well with XP. Video was better than I expected. When useing in video mode, you may get asked what the tiny dot of blue light is doing on your shirt behind your pen. Its easy to use and worth the money."
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Review 13 for Swann Video Camera Pen and Recorder
Rating
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Date:November 23, 2010

Great quality if it worked!

Pros: good photo quality and very good video quality.
Cons: died in two days!
"I was very excited about this pen. It worked great for about two days and then it basically died. It would not respond to re-set either. Returned it to Costco, of course- but very disappointing."
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Review 14 for Swann Video Camera Pen and Recorder
Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:California
Date:November 16, 2010

Wow!

"Great quality video from such a small pen! The output from this tiny pen is amazing! I take photos and videos and it is completely undetectable! Great value for the money and cool."
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Review 15 for Swann Video Camera Pen and Recorder
Rating
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Location:Portland, Oregon
Date:September 3, 2012

Works, but clip broke off first day

Pros: good video, good audio
Cons: clip broke first day, hard to aim camera, led could give you away when recording
"Works like a charm, but the clip fell off the first day. Put clip back in, and is now being held on to pen by rubber band. That isn't enough for me to return it to Costco.
For those that are recording without someone knowing, the LED at the back of the pen could give you away - you may consider covering it when recording.
The first time I tried recording my dog playing with a neighbor's dog, I found out I was not pointing the camera in the right area - I got the sounds, but was pointing it to the left of the playing dogs.
Remember that it might not be legal to record people without their knowledge, and it could probably get you in big trouble at work if you are recording without others knowing, especially since it is also recording sound with the video."
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Review 16 for Swann Video Camera Pen and Recorder
Rating
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Location:Buena Vista, CO
Date:December 8, 2010

Nice Product

Pros: great customer service!, great gift
Model Number: DVR-421
"I ordered this item two weeks ago and it didn't work right out of the box. I was disappointed. Since there is no Costco near my home I called Swann directly. I wasn't expecting much and thought I had just purchased an expensive pen. I was pleasantly surprised! I was sent a new pen at absolutely no charge to me, including shipping my broken one back. I had my new pen within the week and it works perfectly! I am extremely satisfied. This pen deserves 5 stars but since I got a bad one originally I only gave it 4."
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Review 17 for Swann Video Camera Pen and Recorder
Rating
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Location:NJ near GW Bridge
Date:August 8, 2011

Sneaky Little Bugger

Pros: writes like a pen films like a camera
"Swann's Pin Hole Camera Pen is just that, a movie camera and a pen. You get about 4 or 5 additional pen cartridges when you're using it as a pen. The audio is excellent, the picture isn't bad either. For its size it's a remarkable little bugger. The pin hole is just above the clip. Works great. The only negative which is really not a negative, but the size of the pen is similar to tose you may find manfactured by National Pen Co, it's a big pen in roundness, it's what I would call a luxury pen, one that you might find on an executive's desk. It's the type of pen somebody would pick up and run off with."
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Review 18 for Swann Video Camera Pen and Recorder
Rating
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Date:February 16, 2012

for 40 bucks?!?

Pros: cheap cheap
Cons: no good in low light
"it's not CIA quality but for $40 I think it's nothing short of amazing. Only just got it today and I hope it doesnt fall apart like some of the other reviews, but I intend to keep it in the package until ready to deploy, not keep it in my pocket or bag all day. The audio is super sensitive so I sound like I'm yelling because the mic is closest to me, so I have to learn to modulate my volumn a little bit, but for a cheap-o spy rig it is pretty darn awesome."
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Review 19 for Swann Video Camera Pen and Recorder
Rating
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Location:Parsippany, NJ
Date:December 4, 2010

Did not work except as pen / flashdrive

Pros: looks great, easy to use
Cons: camera didn't work
Model Number: DVR-421
"An expensive ballpoint pen with a built-in 2GB flash drive - nothing more since the camera would not record any video or images!
In video mode, the orange led light came on and stayed on properly until I pushed the top button; then the light changed to blue briefly and immediately went out, orange light returned. If I did nothing more, the pen shut off properly in about 30 seconds.
In image mode, the orange light came on and flashed properly. But when I pushed the top button, the blue light came on and stayed on; after a brief delay the flashing orange light also came on while the blue light remained lit until the PenCam shut down.
Connected to the computer, the drive was recognized with two folders: “Image” and “Video” – but both were still empty. Resetting and reformatting made no difference; the camera would still not record any video or images.
Item returned. Big disappointment."
Review 20 for Swann Video Camera Pen and Recorder
Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:Detroit, MI
Date:December 7, 2010

Coolest Gadget,great video!

Pros: small portable video camera, recharge using pc or mac, fun to use
Model Number: DVR-421
"Glad I bought this little video recorder. I keep it in my car in case of an accident-then I could record the interaction with the other driver. Where I live, people are hitting cars and when you get out they carjack you. I feel safer with this mini video camera. I was very surprised at the great quality from such a small pen. I downloaded the video onto my laptop and it was easy!"
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
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