PROS / The spy camera boasts superb dual functionality and versatile features.
CONS / As the most expensive camera in our lineup, it definitely tips the scale in terms of price.
VERDICT / Unless you would actually use this iPod dock, opt for a less expensive nanny cam.
Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it has been replaced by another product. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.
The Memorex iPod Dock Spy Camera (developed by Atlantic Electronic System, Inc.) is a cleverly conceived nanny cam that exploits the popularity of the ubiquitous iPod player. Replete with built-in speakers, the nanny cam can play music through an iPod in addition to covertly recording video. While we love that the spy camera offers robust dual functionality, built-in DVR and a motion detector, users will pay substantially more for this nanny cam than comparable models that are disguised as other common objects.
We love this all-in-one hidden nanny cam primarily because of its unique twofold functionality. A spy camera that can also play music is not only convenient but also offers a very convincing guise, perhaps more so than other household objects commonly used to hide covert cameras (think teddy bears or alarm clocks).
We were surprised to discover this particular camera has all the features we would expect to find on top-notch nanny cams. Apart from a motion detector and standalone recording (saved on an internal memory card), the spy camera boasts timed recording shut-off once motion in front of the camera ceases and auto-cycling recording (what the manufacturer terms as 'auto-recycle'). This feature ensures recording continues uninterrupted by automatically deleting the oldest recording once the camera's memory card is full. Furthermore, all of the camera's recordings are time and date stamped.
We were surprised that the spy camera does not have a compatible remote control; most regular iPod docks come with a remote control, so it seemed odd that this nanny cam didn't have one at all.
The nanny cam fails to impress when it comes to recording options. Aside from the motion detector, the only other functionality worthy of a mention is its ability to take still pictures. However, this feature seems somewhat ineffectual since there's not a remote control that can be used to remotely take the image. It seems to us that having to push a button directly on the iPod dock to capture digital images would defeat the whole covert purpose of a spy camera.
While it may not score high marks when it comes to recording options, it offsets such shortcomings with decent design. A high viewing angle of 85 degrees ensures a broad field of view, while the camera's CCD image sensor (considered superior to comparable CMOS sensors) boasts quality color video.
A few things we really like about the spy camera are its low lux rating and RCA video output. The camera has a low lux rating of 0.5, which means it performs well in low-light conditions. Additionally, the camera's RCA video output allows users to connect the device directly to a television or monitor for instant viewing. Or the included memory card can easily be removed from the camera and inserted into a computer for viewing as well.
Our one complaint is that the device is a bit bulky for an iPod dock; however, price wins over aesthetics with this low-cost dock, as many comparable iPod dock hidden camera devices are priced well over $500.
The nanny cam's video output is mediocre at best. With a sole resolution of 320 x 240, the video is grainier and lower quality than that of most competitors. Additionally, the container format of the recordings is MPEG-2, which is compatible with most computers but relatively outdated, with much newer formats available in other recording devices.
The Memorex iPod Dock Spy Camera definitely ranks average when it comes to nanny cams with built-in DVR. While it has limited recording options and a steeper price tag than comparable models, the nanny cam is ideal for homeowners who would actually take advantage of the spy camera's dual functionality.