We tested the “world’s smallest full HD spy camera” and it worked surprisingly well

MyBroadband tested an IP camera advertised as the world’s smallest 1080p high-definition spy camera, and it worked almost as well as we expected.

The camera was priced at R630 on Takealot when we bought it. According to Serval Tracker, the camera’s price varies between R594 and R999.

The Takealot page makes several claims aside from being the “world smallest”, including the battery lasting between 6 and 7 hours and taking 3 to 4 hours to charge.

A minimum 4Mbps internet connection is required at all times, and it supports a microSD card up to 32 GB if you wish to record.

The camera arrived in a generic box featuring a dubious ingress protection rating claim of IP66, suggesting the camera is dust-tight and would survive powerful water jets for three minutes.

This is highly implausible as the mainboard is only protected with some heat-shrink.

The camera has three main parts:

  • Camera sensor — The actual camera is only a few millimetres in size. It is attached to the main PCB with a flex cable, allowing the rest of the electronics to be hidden out of sight.
  • Main PCB — The main board that contains all the electronics. This contains the microSD slot, an on/off switch and a microphone.
  • Battery — The battery appears to be a single lithium-polymer cell, which we estimated was slightly bigger than 1Ah. The battery uses a standard JST RCY connector and could easily be replaced.

The camera works much the same as any other IP camera, with a dedicated app that we tested on Android.

The included manual said we should use an app called LookCam, and we had no significant problems with it.

Camera sensor
Main circuit board

We followed the on-screen instructions to set up the app. It worked well even when viewing the camera feed over a mobile connection.

The app does continue running in the background when closed and required a few unusual permissions, so we force-closed it every time after use.

We could easily view the video feed and listen to the microphone through the app.

Recorded video is also available for download from here, but these are simply the videos saved on the SD card and can be accessed by inserting the card into a standard reader.

The video quality was decent and seemed to be actual 1080p, or at least a decent upscaled 720p, but this is difficult to verify.

The recorded videos only seem to be 15.15 fps, instead of the advertised 25, but this is not a big problem for a security camera.

We could easily make out faces on the camera, but reading text a few meters away is difficult.

The field of view is not very big, so the camera would ideally have to be mounted a few meters away from any area of interest.

Reading text from far away was difficult
Nearby cars — models can be made out, but number plates cannot be read
Example video from a further distance

We did not have very high expectations for this device, but it seems ideal for hiding a camera where you have permission to do so.

We tested the battery life by charging it, unplugging it, and checking when the last recording stopped.

We could consistently get between five-and-a-half and 6 hours of battery life, which would be adequate to catch a thief or vandal if they consistently target an area.

One minor fault we found was that the camera stopped recording when it was not connected to a Wi-Fi network.

This was made clear in the product description, which states that the camera requires an Internet connection.

While we cannot confirm if it is actually the smallest full HD camera available, the small camera sensor is unobtrusive while the larger PCB and battery may be hidden further away, making for a clean hidden installation.

Camera hidden inside a desk drawer

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We tested the “world’s smallest full HD spy camera” and it worked surprisingly well