Silverlit SpyCam Nano review

{ 11 comments }

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I want a drone. I have no idea what I’d really use one for, but I want one anyway. When the folks at Silverlit asked if I would like to review their new SpyCam Nano, I was really excited because first of all it’s a drone with a built-in camera and secondly, it’s so small that it can fit in the palm of my hand. Fun right? Let’s find out.

Note: Images can be clicked to view a larger size.

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What’s in the box

Helicopter with camera
Transmitter
USB cable
Instructions

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The Silverlit SpyCam Nano looks like other tiny RC helicopters that I’ve reviewed before. It has a very small plastic body with two rotors. The little heli has a tiny 3-position power switch on the side that toggles power and charging modes.

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But the SpyCam Nano has a built-in 640 x 480 camera on the front that can capture single images and record video.

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On the back helicopter, under the tail, is a micro USB charging port and a micro SD card slot which is protected with a little door. You have to supply your own micro SD card if you intend to record video with the SpyCam.

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The handheld controller looks like a typical RC controller. It has a throttle, directional joystick, trim controls and a power switch. The 3 Channel control allows for flying up and down, forward/backward left and right. On each “shoulder” there is a button. On the left side the button toggles video recording and the right button takes a snapshot.

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The controller is powered by 4 AAA batteries which are not included. Are you wondering what that big circular opening is for? It holds the SpyCam Nano. Really, I’m not kidding.

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The rotors, and tail on the SpyCam Nano fold up like you see above.

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Then the whole thing fits into the controller upside down.

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And then the cover snaps shut. I’m not really sure what the point of using the SpyCam Nano like this is though…

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Before you use the SpyCam, you have to charge it using the included micro USB cable and your computer. The USB cable is also used to download video and images to your computer. An LED on the side of the helicopter glows while charging and turns off when finished. For each 30 minutes of charging, the helicopter will fly for about five minutes.

Flying the SpyCam Nano is not unlike flying other tiny RC toys. It takes practice and a delicate touch on the controls.

Note that you probably will not be flying the Silverlit SpyCam Nano outdoors. It’s just too light weight and a small breeze will cause it to fly out of control.

While flying you can use the video and image snap shot buttons to record video and snap pictures.

See it in action

As you can tell from the video demo above, the video quality of the Silverlit SpyCam Nano will not win any awards. Video isn’t crisp and has a noticeable yellow tint. You’ll also notice that the video is silent. There isn’t a built-in microphone, so sound capture isn’t an option.

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Image capture is worse than video quality because it’s almost impossible to get the SpyCam Nano to hover in one spot. I found that the helicopter wanted to go higher and higher even when I would hold the throttle in one position. I was constantly trying to adjust in order to prevent it from flying into the ceiling.

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You won’t be doing any spying with this drone for several reasons. First of all, it makes too much noise, so stealth isn’t an option. Then there’s its mediocre flying abilities and video quality that is too lo-res. The Silverlit SpyCam Nano is fun to play with, but a toy is all it is and all it ever will be. Kids will enjoy it, but adults should look elsewhere.

Source: The sample for this review was provided by Silverlit. Please visit their site for more info.

 

Product Information

Price:$69.99
Manufacturer:Silverlit
Requirements:
  • 4 AAA batteries for the controller
  • USB port to charge the SpyCam
Pros:
  • Fun to play with
Cons:
  • Almost impossible to hover in one place
  • Video quality is disappointing
  • Image capture is useless
Posted in: Camera Gear, Geek Toys, Reviews
{ 11 comments… add one }
  • Andrew Baker August 24, 2015, 5:02 pm

    For $39 I would expect this to be strictly in the “FUN” category.

  • Betty Widerski August 25, 2015, 8:24 am

    Thanks for the comment about not being suitable for outdoors. After last winter I’ve been thinking of getting a camera drone to use for checking the snow pack on my almost-flat rear roof, but this tells me I need to consider how susceptible one is to breezes.

    • Andrew Baker August 25, 2015, 10:08 am

      Yeah any of these micro drones/choppers are no good outside. They simply do not have enough mass to survive even mild wind. Not a design flaw, simple physics.

      • RainyDayInterns August 25, 2015, 11:54 am

        Hopefully someday the software and control systems will allow it to auto-correct for wind gusts. We know insects can do it pretty well, so it IS possible 🙂

  • Sandee Cohen August 25, 2015, 8:38 am

    Using the Nano folded up is to use it as a camera, I think. Can you click the shutter that way?

    • Julie Strietelmeier August 25, 2015, 9:28 am

      Yes, it just seems silly to use it that way.

      • Sandee Cohen August 25, 2015, 9:35 am

        Of course it’s silly! Very silly.

      • Andrew Baker August 25, 2015, 10:09 am

        I think it’s just a novel way to store it.

        • Julie Strietelmeier August 25, 2015, 10:12 am

          It’s pretty delicate, so it feels like it’s going to break when you insert it and try to remove it.

  • Daniel Storbeck August 31, 2015, 3:28 am

    Looks like the helicopter-cam in the Simpsons episode, where Homer goes to the army….. 😀

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