Which is the best spy camera that is affordable?
Hands down KJB security Zone Shield EZ AC Adapter Hidden Camera with DVR gets our thumbs up when it comes to simplicity and features! It’s part of their brand new EZ Line of spy products that are meant to be extremely simple to use and affordable. From all the features you get for the price, you would be hard pressed to find anything similar from a company based in the United States. Similar features are 2x – 3x the price. So this is a great deal. The folks at KJB security were kind enough to lend us one for review which we ran it through all the races to see just how it holds up. As someone who has personally tried out various spy cameras throughout the years, it’s easy to know what to look for when combing through the endless assortment of features, that may not be necessary to most people who just needs something that is a quick, plug-in-play camera that simply works. This model is perfect for the technically challenged novice who doesn’t need all the bells and whistles of an expensive, hard-to-use alternative.
Why do I need a hidden camera?
Every situation is different. However, the most common reason is to have proof of something strange going on when you’re not around to witness it. Maybe its a spouse that is acting weird, things are missing in your house when your housekeeper stops by or the handyman was there. Often people just want peace of mind when the babysitter or nanny is watching their children, or if simply you’re away from home for the week. Honestly we could go on forever with hundreds of scenarios.
First, what comes in the box?
As you can see, the box is a nicely designed looking box, with all the items inside packaged real well in foam padding to help protect it during transport. Inside the box, is the AC Adaptor Hidden Camera, 3-in-1 SD Card and instructions. The instructions were really easy to understand, had pictures pointing out features and a FAQ section that went over many things that I had questions about while testing this out. These guys thought of everything. My only wish is the typeface in the manual was a bit bigger. These ‘ol eyes aren’t what they used to be.
Covertness Of Hidden Camera
Looking over the product, it’s easy to see this is NOT a toy. Construction is done really well with no detail left upturned. Anyone looking at this from any side would be impossible to detect that this has a hidden camera inside. It looks JUST like any ordinary small AC adaptor that comes with your electronics that you probably have all over your house. Even if someone were to take it off the wall, there is nothing that could give it away. The back has a slide cover which conceals the switch and micro SD card slot. The camera itself is a tiny hole that is in the center of a cleverly designed “C” which is all black.
Flipping it over is the plug part that goes into the wall. There is back cover that slides off to reveal the hidden area for installing the micro sd card that comes with the unit. You can see this under my thumb. In addition is slide switch for CONTINUOUS recording or MOTION ACTIVATED recording. 99% of you would probably want motion activated recording so that you’re not sitting through hours of video of a blank wall. (note: each model comes with a serial number on the back that I smudged out)
Setting up the AC Adaptor Hidden Camera
Is it really THAT easy? Yep. Took less than 2 minutes to start recording video. The back of the unit has a back that slides off to reveal the slot for the micro-SD card and the option for continuous or motion activated recording. By default it was set to continuous so I left it. This mean that the hidden camera will start recording and not stop until its unplugged from the power.
Next, I needed to set up the time and date stamp so I know when the video was recorded. Plugging the SD card into my mac computer, there were two files. One called time and the other is format. Format will delete any video so I left that alone. The time file opened up and I changed the 0 to a 1 and changed the time numbers to today’s date and saved direct to the memory card. Easy peasy.
Placing the memory card in the back wouldn’t go in at first, so I flipped it and I pushed it in until it clicked in. My instinct was that it goes in with the writing on the card face up, but in this case it was face down. The back cover was easy to slide back on and now we’re in business.
Plugging in the AC Adaptor Hidden Camera into an outlet
This was a bit of trial and error that took the most time for me. The reason is I did not know exactly how much of the room the camera would see, so I would plug it in, let it record, then bring back to my computer to view the video footage to see if the camera would be recording what I expected. It wouldn’t be too good if I plugged it in and it recorded someones feet only right? It would be a plus if in the instruction booklet it showed field of view scenarios. Ill show you a few screenshots of what I did.
First, I plugged it into an outlet near the floor. Most people would probably think to do the same thing because that’s where most outlets are in a home or office. Since I faced it down a hallway that was about 15 feet long, I was curious how high up it would see. Would it see my face at 15 feet away? While it recorded video immediately, guess what. It recorded my feet up to my knees. If someone does not have an outlet near the floor, perhaps a workaround would be to use one of those extension outlets and rest it on a piece of furniture like an end table or a bench.
It’s also important to note on the bottom of the product is a tiny black button to power the unit down. Before pulling out of the wall, push that button down for a few seconds to power everything down properly. This will ensure the video does not get corrupted.
See the results below.
The end of the hallway is about 20 feet away from where it was plugged in. This is important if you are looking to get someone walking in a room or a hallway. I figure if you have the AC adapter hidden camera on the floor, a 6 foot person needs to be about 25-35 feet away if you want to see the top of the head. I’m sure there is a POV angle math to figure this out better.
Lets try moving the spy camera to an area higher up. For this, I choose a counter top level area in the kitchen. It was about 48 inches from the floor. As you can see by the screenshot below, this is perfect height. It will capture everything you need to get full view of all the action of someone coming in through the door which is about 20 feet away.
Motion detection recording feature
I unplugged the camera from the wall and plugged it into an outlet in the kitchen that was higher up, about counter level – 4 feet high I would say. This time, I opened the back panel and switched the switch to M , for motion detection recording. After plugging it in the wall, I walked away and then into the camera view. While you have to look really hard and close up into the side vents, there are lights inside the unit. I don’t feel these lights give anything away, but its important to note that if you wanted to check if its working or not that you get up real, real close say 12 inches to see the light color to confirm its actually recording or not. In this case, I saw there was a slight green light glow, which tells me that the motion detection was indeed recording. After a few minutes I unplugged it, took out the SD card and put that into my computer.
Playback quality and watching the hidden camera video.
I am using a macbook pro with all the updates. Finding the video files was easy. They were all in folder, organized by date. I clicked on the video and it wouldn’t play. OH NO! What gives? Looking at the manual it said to use VLC player, which is a free media player that’s been around for years that can play virtually any video file. After installing it, the videos played instantly just fine. I can see this being a point of frustration for people who may not have read the manual. It’s not obvious and could be more pronounced in the manual. The actual video files were larger than I had anticipated. It was surprising how big the file size is compared to the length of the clips that is being recorded. The video storage was about 54 megs per 1 minute of video. Because of this, you would likely want to have your recording settings on motion detection mode to ensure you don’t run out of SD card space and you probably don’t want to sit through hours of video of an empty room just to get to the action. Since it can take up to a 32GB SD card, space really isn’t an issue.
GET VLC PLAYER NOW to prevent any headaches, not just for this product, but for yourself if you want to be sure to never have a problem playing video.
The quality of the video was superb. It records at HD 1280×720 resolution which is true 720p. The only light was natural sunlight and it was enough to record great quality video with smooth motion. Anything being recorded is crisp. You’ll have no problem making out anyone or anything that walks in front of the camera. No audio was recorded. It’s not a feature of this product. There are certain laws in the USA for recording secret audio which is probably why it’s not included in this product.
Overall, the experience using and setting up the product was really quite easy and the quality was better than expected. Anyone needing a quick and easy plug-in-play spy camera would want not want to pass this up. The manufacture, KJB Security based in TN gives excellent support for all of their products with the care you would come to expect from any true USA security product manufacture.