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Micro Camera: Good video at small size, price

A keychain camera that can go just about anywhere for barely more than a Jackson.

Micro Camera

My first camcorder was a PXL-2000, a toy camcorder from Fisher Price that recorded black-and-white video to audio cassettes. It was huge, expensive, required six AA-size batteries, and only recorded 11 minutes of video. That was 1987. Today, for $25, you can get the Micro Camera.

Shaped like a keyless entry remote for a car, the device only measures 2 inches long by 1.3 inches wide and is just 0.5 inch thick and weighs half an ounce with a microSDHC card. It can record up to an hour of 480p (720x480) video to a 4GB card, which is good 'cause the battery only lasts that long. It quickly fully recharges, though, in about 90 minutes by Mini-USB. (There are other sites that sell this or similar cameras, but this is where the one I tested came from.)

The company's site has several videos showing just what's possible with a camera so small and light. Things you couldn't or wouldn't want to do with a larger, costlier camera. The video quality looks like what you could get from a very good camera phone. Basically, the results are suitable for Web sharing if not much else, which really is all I would ask of a $25 camera in a key chain. It can be setup to work as a Webcam and takes still photos, too, though the photos are not nearly as nice as the video.

It's hard to complain about something so inexpensive, but there are a couple things that came up during my testing. The camera--or at least my camera--needed to be reset frequently because it would lock up when I was connecting or disconnecting from my computer. This doesn't require more than pushing a button in a hole on the side of the device with a paperclip, so not a huge deal. Due to the size and form of the camera and the lack of a screen, it's not always easy to shoot level video especially if you're holding it. You're also stuck with the time stamp, or at least I couldn't figure out how to get rid of it.

In the end, for the size and price, it's a remarkable little gadget. It really is just amazing how inexpensive and small it is and how good the results are.