PROS / The stand-alone nanny cam has many customizable recording options.
CONS / This covert camera cannot take still images.
VERDICT / With its built-in DVR and internal storage, the SVAT Covert Alarm Clock DVR is one of the best nanny cams.
Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it has been discontinued. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.
The SVAT Covert Alarm Clock DVR has a lot of features and beneficial recording options that make surveillance simple and convenient. With its subdued, universal appearance, this covert alarm clock has an appealing design that doesn’t intrude on the aesthetics of any room. This nanny cam, the Top Ten Reviews Silver Award recipient, has dual functionality, an imperceptible disguise and performance superior to most other nanny cams.
The SVAT Covert Alarm Clock DVR boasts a variety of convenient and highly useful features. The nanny camera's built-in DVR records to internal storage, usually on an SD or SDHC card. This makes it completely self-contained with no wires or external receivers required. With its robust DVR capabilities, this nanny cam only needs to be plugged in to begin recording.
The best nanny cams have motion detectors, which conserve battery life and finite storage space. This covert camera comes with a highly sensitive motion detector that records only when there is activity in the room. This feature lets you review recordings without wading through hours of blank footage. Among the unit's other features are timestamped recordings and an overwrite selector that automatically deletes the oldest clips once the camera's memory is full so recording continues uninterrupted. You can also program it to stop recording once the internal storage is full.
The best overall hidden nanny cams offer different recording options to ensure they capture the most crucial moments. The SVAT Covert Alarm Clock DVR has three different recording modes: manual, scheduled and motion activated. Manual mode lets you simply turn the unit on and off. In contrast, the scheduled recording lets you specify times for the camera to automatically record, like when the nanny is on duty.
This covert camera also has multiple recording qualities you can choose from, including high, medium and low. Since you can specify quality, you can fine-tune video output quality; high quality creates a clear, crisp picture, while low quality recordings, though grainier, are smaller files that do not take up as much space on the memory card. If you have concerns about limited storage space, you can opt for medium or low quality recording.
The SVAT Covert Alarm Clock DVR’s recording options allow you to optimize recordings to suit your particular needs. Even with all of the camera’s versatile features and functions, it cannot take still pictures – a beneficial feature a handful of competing products offer.
This device excels in design. The SVAT Covert Alarm Clock DVR’s commonplace appearance provides an entirely convincing and undetectable disguise. The small camera lens is virtually indiscernible, and the memory card slot is discreetly located out of sight on the back of the clock. A nanny, housekeeper or any other individual that warrants monitoring could hardly suspect it to be a hidden camera.
While the overall design is impressive, the camera's minimum illumination, or how much light is necessary to render a distinguishable picture, has a lux rating of two. Many of the nanny cams in our review have lux ratings less than one, so they perform better in low-light conditions. Since nanny cameras are primarily used to monitor during the day, the low lux rating should not be an issue.
Since covert cameras have such tiny cameras, mediocre video output is common. This camera has good output that matches that of most nanny cameras. With a maximum video resolution of 640 x 480, recorded footage is clear enough to distinguish people, activity and specific behaviors. Moreover, a frame rate of 30 frames per second allows for fluid movement in recordings. To view recorded footage, you can plug the clock directly into a TV or monitor using the included RCA cable or insert the SD card into a computer.
The video output features that really make the unit stand out are its memory and video-viewing capabilities. The nanny cam's built-in DVR comes with a 2GB SD card, though it can support a memory card of up to 32GB. A 2GB card lets the camera record video for about one month when used in motion-detection mode. In scheduled recording mode, you can record for several days before erasing footage to free up storage space.
While a nanny cam disguised as an alarm clock may not be perfectly suited for every household, there's no denying that the SVAT Covert Alarm Clock DVR performs well. With its substantial storage capacity, flexible recording modes and convenient features, the covert camera can help you keep a close eye on hired help.