A nanny cam camouflaged as a smoke detector is arguably one of the most ingenious and convincing disguises we came across. Not only are smoke detectors found in virtually every home and office space, they are legally required and subsequently, no one would ever suspect the Mini Gadgets DVR Smoke Detector to actually be a hidden camera. Unfortunately, this nanny cam doesn't offer much more than a clever guise.

To say this smoke detector hidden camera is slightly lacking in features would be quite an understatement. In fact, built-in DVR is one of just two features the nanny camera is equipped with. While we didn't like that it doesn’t have time-stamped recordings or an overwrite feature that automatically deleted the oldest recording on the memory card, such features are not absolutely essential. On the other hand, it seems useless to have a nanny cam that does not have motion detection mode. The camera can only be used in continuous recording mode, which means footage is captured even when there is no activity occurring in the room.

Another issue we had is its overt lack of internal memory. It comes equipped with a removable microSD memory card but can only support a maximum memory capacity of 8GB. Just as disappointing was the fact that the smoke detector is not actually functional.

Despite several drawbacks and its obvious lack of functionality, there are a few things we actually like about the nanny camera. For starters, the bird's eye view it offers provides a unique and comprehensive vantage point for monitoring. And given its likely placement, the device has a convenient built-in lithium-ion battery that can be recharged through an included power adapter. Additionally, the camera has a remote control that enables remote operation. This is especially ideal since it can capture still pictures; simply pressing the remote control allows users to take images from a distance.

The video output is also surprisingly quite good with specifications that are on par with our top-ranked nanny cams. For starters, the camera's video resolution of 640 x 480 (a standard on many high-quality models) enables a clear, sharp picture, while a frame rate of 30 frames per second ensures smooth, uninterrupted footage. Moreover, the camera shoots video in AVI format, a video container format that is compatible with most PCs.

We were surprised to find the smoke detector has a USB port, so it can only be connected to a computer or other device for viewing. This isn't necessarily a disadvantage, but the camera cannot be connected to a television.

DVR Smoke Detector Summary:

The Mini Gadgets DVR Smoke Detector is apt for anyone who wants to capture footage from a panoramic perspective. However, the evident lack of functionality doesn't make it an ideal nanny cam for most families, homeowners and business owners. Altogether, we would suggest selecting a product that boasts more features, flexibility and functionality. Not sure where to start? Be sure to check out our top-rated nanny cams.

Electronics » Other Electronics » Nanny Cam Review » DVR Smoke Detector

DVR Smoke Detector

Given its disguise, the camera can offer a unique panoramic view.

The nanny cam has no motion detection mode and low memory capacity.

The Verdict:

The camera's bird's eye view doesn't make up for its lack of functionality.