World's smallest camera claimed

If an electronic gadget is small enough to choke on, is it too small? Use this cubic-inch camera and you'll find out.

tiny digital camera on a fingertip
Mere bauble or seriously portable camera? Hammacher Schlemmer

OK, so it's a really cute, fully functional digital camera. But would you use it? And at what point is a camera too small?

The camera in question, from novelty retailer Hammacher Schlemmer, is slightly larger than a cubic inch (1.125 inches by 1 inch by 1.063 inches) and weighs half an ounce. The company claims it's the world's smallest digital camera.

Being so very small it's probably easy to lose, despite the included wrist lanyard. It's small enough to be a choking hazard for toddlers and pets. Another cause for hesitation is its $99.95 price tag.

It's a real camera though. It takes 1,600x1,200 JPEG stills and 640x480 30-frames-per-second AVI video, which it stores on a microSD card. It comes with a 2GB card. It also includes a USB cable so you can view images and video on a Windows computer. The camera's battery lasts 30 minutes and charges in an hour via the USB cable.

Any claim to have the world's smallest anything should be taken with a large grain of salt. This claim is close, though. The Chobi Mini Digital Camera can also make a convincing case for the smallest camera. Measuring 1.7 inches by 1.1 inches by less than half an inch, the Chobi Mini is smaller by volume than the Hammacher Schlemmer camera. But the Hammacher Schlemmer camera's nearly cubic shape gives it a psychological advantage. It just seems smaller.

In practical terms, if I were to spring for one of these Lilliputian cameras I would lean toward the Chobi Mini. The rectangular shape makes it easier to hold, and the Chobi Mini takes higher-resolution stills and video.

If you know of any other contenders for the title of world's smallest camera, tell us in comments.

About the author

    Crave freelancer Eric Smalley has written about technology for more than two decades. His freelance credits include Discover, Scientific American, and Wired News. He edits Technology Research News, where he gets to preview the cool technology we'll all be using 10 years from now. Eric is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CBS Interactive. E-mail Eric.

     

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