Amazing micro camcorder

Sep 5, 2011 (Updated Sep 6, 2011)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:An inexpensive, amazingly tiny, and quite capable camcorder.

Cons:No image stabilization and no viewfinder.

The Bottom Line: A great micro camcorder for unforseen circumstances.

After seeing all the cases of on-the-fly videos on You Tube, made possible by most wireless phones including a built-in video camera, but noticing that even a cell phone being held in front of you makes it obvious that you are making a recording, and that some law enforcement personnel don't like being recorded, even in public, and even if you're not interfering with their activity, I decided to see what was available in a small, unobtrusive video camcorder. So I ordered a Veho VCC-003 Muvi Micro camcorder, which seemed impressive based on its description. For under $60, it wasn't the end of the world if it turned out to be a turkey.  

I have had this micro camcorder for a month now, and it's amazing. You can walk around in public with this device clipped to your shirt pocket, and nobody realizes that you are making a recording. The unit is so small and inexpensive that now I just leave it in the glove compartment of my car, available if needed.  

Recording time on a single charge was about an hour and thirty minutes, which the provided 2 GB micro SD card was able to accommodate. The recording quality, although standard definition video, was excellent. Low-light performance was pretty good, too. Audio was passable, although it's too bad there is no way to shut off the audio recording capability, as I understand that in some states an audio recording, even in public, can be considered by an unhappy police officer to constitute "wiretapping." Well, no such statute in California, where I live. Finally, an advantage to living in the once Golden State.  

The unit comes with a micro USB-to-regular USB cable, and also a micro-USB to USB adapter. Charging is via the 5-volt USB cable, which is also used for downloading the recorded video. The video files that the Muvi generates are massive, at 400-600 MB, and it takes forever to transfer, since it's USB1 speed, not USB2 speed. However, an SD card reader, costing less than $10, took care of that problem. That is, remove the micro SD card from the Muvi, insert in the reader, and then transfer at USB2 speed to your computer. Inserting and removing the tiny SD card has to be done using your fingernail, but once you figure out the drill, it's not a problem. 

The unit will NOT record while plugged in, so you can't leave it connected to your computer or even a USB power supply and record at the same time.  But for my application, that's not a problem.  

The CD that came with the unit had only PC .exe files, so was useless since I have a Mac. But as soon as I connected the Muvi to my Mac, it immediately and automatically recognized the camcorder and uploaded the saved video files without difficulty (albeit slowly if you use the provided USB1 connection).   I did some point-of-view videos with the Muvi on my car dash, and they turned out great.  I even tried clipping the unit to my steering wheel cover, but that video looked pretty strange even time I had to make a turn.  I was so impressed with this unit that I bought a second one, to keep in my motorcycle saddlebag. I also obtained two low-profile cigarette lighter USB power supplies, to allow me to re-charge the unit when I am away from my computer. An amazing, extremely small, and unobtrusive camcorder. Nice to know that I have these units available, if ever needed.

Because it's so small, there is no image stabilization or viewfinder, but after gaining experience I was able to greatly improve the quality of the videos I generated.  I have used this camcorder to document a day trip to Safari West in Santa Rosa, CA, a wildlife preserve.  By holding the camcorder at about chest level I was able to obtain reasonably steady shots, and it wasn't too difficult to improve my aiming so I wasn't capturing videos of the sky or my feet.  So the Veho can do a respectable job as an amateur (i.e., non-professional) video recorder with a little practice.  Still, its main advantage is that it's so small as to be available if needed, in which case you should end up with very impressive "security" footage.

The camera controls are of necessity small.  On the right side is a sliding on-off power switch, on the left side is a sliding VOX on/VOX off switch.  Recording is started and stopped using a small push button on the camera top.  There is a single status LED on the top of the camera; it changes color and flash rate to indicate on but not recording (steady blue); recording (slowly flashing green); and memory card full (fast flashing green).  Not difficult to use/understand once you become familiar with the drill.

Since the camera comes with a voice actuated (VOX) mode, you can leave the camcorder turned on and in position, and let it automatically capture activity (at least sufficiently noisy activity).  I haven't yet tried that mode, though, since it's not the reason I bought the camcorder.

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