PROS / The nanny cam delivers surprisingly good video output and diverse playback options.
CONS / The camera's maximum memory capacity of 4GB is highly disappointing.
VERDICT / The camera offers good recording, but its disguise limits where it can be used.
Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it is no longer available. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.
Similar to many other top-rated nanny cams, Brickhouse Security Hidden DVR Camera Speakers are actually a hidden camera that is expertly disguised as a fully-functional household item. While some users may find the camera's disguise to be somewhat limiting, the nanny cam flaunts surprisingly good video output and modest features.
There's no question one of the best things about this nanny cam is its video output, which is far better than we anticipated. An integrated, high-resolution Sony color camera captures video at a resolution of 320 x 240 and a frame rate of 30 frames per second. Given the resolution, we expected grainy footage, but the camera produced recordings that are smooth and clear enough to distinguish facial features and minor movements.
In a similar vein, the camera performs extraordinarily well in low-light conditions. In fact, the nanny cam boasts a minimum illumination of 0.1 lux, which means it requires illumination equivalent to the light emitted by a quarter moon in order to capture adequate video. To give some perspective, many nanny cams require nearly double the amount of light to record video that is just as clear and discernible.
Equally as surprising are the diverse recording and playback options. There are three different recording modes including continuous (or manual) recording, motion activation and time-scheduled recording – the latter two can be used in conjunction. The camera also has flexible playback options that allow users to choose a viewing speed (slow, medium or fast) and freeze frames when reviewing surveillance footage.
Although it has plenty to offer, it isn't without some glaring drawbacks. Our biggest issue with this particular covert camera is what some users may consider its biggest asset: its disguise. While the hidden pinhole camera is virtually undetectable, camera speakers are not as easily placed as other objects (e.g. clock cameras) and they will likely appear out of place if not on a desk or next to a computer. Thus, some users may find the usability of the camera limited.
We were highly disappointed with the covert camera's inferior and insufficient maximum memory capacity of just 4GB. Our top three products all offer 32GB of memory capacity, and 4GB seems downright paltry in comparison. In addition, the camera's recordings are not time-stamped and there is no overwrite or auto-cycling feature. Subsequently, users must manually remove or delete recordings in order to free up space on the already limited internal memory card.
Nanny cams are principally used to capture specific actions or individuals behaving in specific manners. Subsequently, satisfactory video (or video that is discernible enough to distinguish specific actions and people) is a necessity, and the Brickhouse Security Hidden DVR Camera Speakers deliver almost perfectly in this aspect. However, the fact that the covert camera dually functions as computer speakers doesn’t lend the nanny cam any versatility. Consequently, it may not be the best covert monitoring device for every homeowner.