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Philips Digital Camera Key Ring Key007 review: Philips Digital Camera Key Ring Key007

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The Good Slick, compact design; plug-and-play file transfer; doubles as a storage device for any files; built-in battery recharges via a USB port.

The Bad Very poor image quality; no flash; bare-bones camera features.

The Bottom Line The Camera Key Ring is a nice little gizmo, but don't buy it for the image quality.

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5.6 Overall

Philips's Digital Camera Key Ring Key007 takes the concept of memory on a key chain to another level. Essentially, the Key007 is a direct-connect USB 1.1 storage device integrated with a sensor, a tiny lens, a blurry but usable viewfinder, and a shutter-release button. From a design perspective, this little guy is quite the novelty and is sure to attract attention if you wear it around your neck with the included strap. Image quality is another matter, however.

Let's start with the good stuff. We like the camera's power switch, an orange ring on the front of the device. Turning it to the on position reveals the lens; the opposite protects the lens. There really isn't much more to the operation. After you click the shutter-release button, an LED flashes--you're done.

When you plug the Key Ring into your computer's USB port, the device appears as an external drive. Then you simply drag and drop to move over your photos or place nonimage files on the Key Ring for storage or data transfer. No additional software is necessary as long as you're running Windows XP or Mac OS X. Another plus is that the camera's built-in cell charges when you connect the Key Ring to a USB port. The LEDs that indicate battery life and remaining memory are helpful, too.

Now for the bad: Even though Philips claims 1.3-megapixel output on the box, the camera actually captures VGA (640x480-pixel) pictures. You can use the included software to interpolate your photos to up to 1.3 megapixels on a PC but not on a Mac. In any case, we rate the images at somewhere around camera-phone level, the lowest quality available. For the best results, you'll have to snap your subjects close-up and in a well-lit environment. Since there's no flash, the Key Ring can have some trouble with indoor shots.

The Key007 comes with 64MB of memory, which should be sufficient if you're only taking pictures; you can save hundreds of shots. However, we recommend this device primarily for USB storage; we consider the camera just a nice extra. If that's the functionality you're looking for, but you need a higher-capacity drive, go for the Key008, which provides 128MB.

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