$12 Generic eBay “Spyglasses” Review

MEDIOCRITY IS OKAY

I was really happy with the last pair of “spyglasses” that I bought of eBay (check those out here!). Those were sunglasses, but I also needed something that I could use inside to wear while working on computer equipment. My personal requirements were that they needed to record video of a decent caliber, it did not have to be HD but it did have to be watchable, and the fake lenses should not distort my view in any way.

I was pleased to find that there were a lot of very cheap options on eBay. All of them claimed to record video in 720P and to have crystal clear lenses. I found a pair from a top rated seller for $12 and hit “buy it now”. They have been sitting on my desk for the past three weeks because I just have not had the time to review them. Yesterday I had finally had enough and was determined to finish a review so I could get the sketchy package, which sort of resembled a bomb, off my desk.

Interesting packaging choice
Interesting packaging choice

Starting off, first impressions were not very good at all. The glasses had arrived damaged, a wire that should have ran through the frame of the glasses was falling out onto the left lens. After tinkering around with a screwdriver for 15 minutes I was able to caress the wire back into where it belonged. Even after this repair parts of the frame were still a bit loose, no matter how much I tightened the screws holding the frame together I could not get it to fuse properly together. Additionally the plastic which the glasses are composed of is really flimsy and the fake lenses rattle around. Overall the build quality is not horrible, the glasses are not going to disintegrate right when you put them on. They are structurally sound enough so that they are usable but there is definitely a lot of room for improvement.

See the wire?
See the wire?

The glasses also came with a velvet carrying bag which will prevent scratches during travel but don’t expect them to protect the glasses from drops. A very thin cleaning cloth and user manual were also included. Unfortunately the seller that I purchased these from forgot to put a USB cable in the package. I have contacted them and they have agreed to send one over.

Spyglasses1 Spyglasses

Hoping that the video quality would be better than the build quality, I put them on only to be disappointed again. The lenses distorted the view quite a bit, especially towards their edges. I am pretty sensitive to stuff like that and could not tolerate wearing them for more than a few minutes. I plan on taking the glasses apart and completely removing the fake lenses when I have the time.

4GB of built in flash memory is advertised on the front page of the user manual. Unfortunately that statement is not true. No built in memory is present in this device, you will need to insert an SD card (check out the one I used here). Just a quick word to the wise, use an SD card that you do not need to get back. Once you insert one into the arm of the glasses it is nearly impossible to get it back.

General use of the glasses was pretty straight forward. Charging can be done using the cable that was supposed to be included in combination with any 5V USB source. With my pair the charging light never stopped blinking, you just have to guess when they have finished charging. I left mine plugged in for 9 hours and managed to get 1 hour and 45 minutes of battery life out of them which was pretty impressive. After charging and inserting a freshly formatted SD card into the glasses you can turn them on by holding down the “action button” (only button on the camera) for three seconds. The LED indication light should now be red / orange, this means the glasses are now in standby mode. To record video, hold down the action button for three seconds while in standby mode. After releasing the button the LED should blink three times and then turn off, you are now recording video. To stop recording just hit the action button once and the glasses should go back into standby. You can take a still image by just hitting the action button once while in standby mode. Turn the glasses off by holding the action button down till the LED turns off.

Charging / action light
Charging / action light

To retrieve you files off the glasses just plug them into one of the USB ports on your laptop or desktop and treat them as any other removable media device. I was able to retrieve files from the glasses using Windows 7, 10, and Xubuntu 16.04.

I encountered a big surprise when I went to play back my test video. The camera in these glasses captures video and still images upside down. This sounds like a huge drawback and it certainly is something you need to keep in mind, but it is not a big deal to me personally because the image can easily be flipped back over in editing. You know how at the beginning of this I said that these were supposed to shoot 720p video? Well guess what…. They don’t. Video is recorded at a resolution of 720×480 (not 1280×720) at 30fps. Despite the video not being HD I still thought that the quality of the AVI’s were good. With enough light present there was little noise in the footage which was being recorded at a nice smooth 30fps. In one of the clips I recorded I noticed some sporadic skipping but I believe this was just an anomaly. This camera has a super narrow FOV it is very hard fit whatever you are trying to film in frame. The audio quality was surprisingly decent. I could hear everything I was saying with minimal background noise / distortion present.

Video Sample
Video Sample
Video Sample
Video Sample

The 1280×1024 JPEGs this camera takes are nothing to obsess over. Image quality is okay as long as you hold the glasses steady during the lengthy image exposure time. If you do not hold absolutely still the image will come out blurry.

Sample Image
Sample Image
Sample image
Sample image

These are a pretty mediocre pair of camera glasses. They are usable, video and audio quality are decent and the battery life is exceptional. The build quality really needs to be improved upon and the lenses either need to be removed or refined. For $12 I feel that I got my money’s worth.


 

PROS:

– Cheap (price wise)

– They look like glasses, really dorky glasses, but glasses nevertheless

– Video quality is decent

– Audio quality is good

– Battery life is exceptional

– Pretty easy to use


 

CONS:

– Arrived damaged

– Missing USB cable

– Not true 720p HD video

– build quality leaves a lot to be desired

– Records video and captures images upside down

– Charging light never stops blinking


 

GET UNEDITED SAMPLE VIDEO AND IMAGES HERE

GET THE GLASSES HERE

CHECK OUT THE SELLER HERE

 

WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW FOR MORE

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