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Swann PenCam HD Review - TechNow

Swann PenCam HD Review


SWVID-PENBK4The Pencam “Spy-cam” is a beautiful writing pen (think Mont Blanc style), with a hidden 720p camera and microphone just above the clip.  Operated by a push of a concealed button, hidden LEDs indicate when you’re filming, which you can do for about 90 minutes. Unscrew the pen to reveal a USB stick with 4GB of storage and a simple way transfer your film/audio/pics to your PC. Initially I thought the Pencam was only for the most ardent gadget geek – would anyone in normal life ever want a pen that doubles as a camera?” After 2 weeks I’m a convert – read on to find out why!



For Who?

A pen can go anywhere so think skating, cycling or even on  a roller-coaster!  At work it could be used it to record audio in meetings or remembering peoples names at networking events and what a great way to keep an eye on your nanny, cleaner or builders! Anyone who may ever need video evidence; negotiation talks with a lawyer or employer, or recording details at a car accident. It’s equally useful when viewing a house, writing a restaurant review or earning money as a mystery shopper. Even for the everyday capture of natural reaction of children or friends. Just keep in mind that the battery will last a relatively short 45 minutes, so it’s not quite a dictaphone replacement.




01I struggled slightly to get started as the instructions don’t always make sense (to several people so it wasn’t just me, honest!)  All you need to know is that in video mode an orange light indicates standby mode, flashing blue is recording video and static blue means you are recording audio.  It can take photos too although I had no success with this function though we were assured this was just the model we had tested.

Once I got started I was impressed! Some reviews say the pen’s video struggled in low light conditions and that the audio was questionable.  For everyday filming it is was clear enough video although the camera struggled with bumpy movements (as in my ice-skating clip) with the video tending to jump.  The audio though I always found to be suitably clear.

On top of this as a pen it writes beautifully, although quite chunky so if you have smaller hands it may not be ideal.



Take a look at my videos and see what you think!





If you are looking for a way to record any eventuality, some fun filming or a perfect unusual present then I reckon you’d love Swann Pencam. Its easy, its fun and in the appropriate situation how cool is it to be a spy?!  We had some issues with taking pictures, but this should only be the model we had on test – we’ll update things soon if possible.



+ Incredibly covert camera.

+ Good pen action.

+ Easy connectivity.



– Video can be jumpy at times.

– Battery life and memory could be better.


Price: Around £49
More Info: Swann
150 x 15 x 15mm.
Specs: USB Plug, 4GB Memory, Recording button, video / camera switch.
Accessories: 3 extra pen re-fills, USB extension cable.
PC Specs: Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, Mac OSX.



CraigRoweCraig Rowe has been working in Television for over 10 years and was trained at the BBC in TV Production, both in studio and on-location, with 7 years TV production experience. For the last five years Craig has presented on QVC presenting a variety of lifestyle, interiors, food, cooking and technology shows, the latter being his favourite as he really is a techno ‘geek’, also appearing on ‘This Morning’ as their Gadget Guru. Visit his site at CraigRowe.net


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