Known for its range of diverse surveillance products, Swann is a well-known global frontrunner in security monitoring solutions. While all-inclusive security and alarm systems have long been the company’s main focus, Swann has more recently ventured into the world of gadgetry. The Swann SW361 ThumbCam, our Top Ten Reviews Silver Award winner, is a self-contained mini spy cam and digital recorder ideal for practical uses such as a private investigator recording an interview, a business professional recording a seminar or any other situation where clear audio or video recording may be crucial.
The Swann ThumbCam may not offer a ton of features but the few that it does perform exceptionally. VOX (sound-activated) mode is activated through the mode select button and with a stated audio range of nine feet, it seems to be triggered by surprisingly soft sounds (or sounds we wouldn’t have thought such a small spy cam could pick up). Another distinguishing feature is the time-stamped video, which marks the video with the precise time and date it was recorded. In addition, we liked how the included USB cable used for data transfer can also be used to recharge the camera and the camera’s maximum viewing angle of 72 degrees, which should be more than sufficient for the average consumer.
Other than those few notable features, the spy cam doesn’t offer any additional functionality you wouldn’t find on a comparable product. We were mostly disappointed that the pinhole camera does not offer the ability to take still images or an audio-only mode, features we would have expected from a name-brand.
When it comes to sizing, the ThumbCam seems a bit bulky to us especially for a mini spy camera. It measures 2.2 inches in height and 0.8 inches in depth and width. But while it may not be one of the smallest we came across, the pinhole camera is one of the lightest weighing in at just 0.8 ounces.
The most standout attribute of this Swann spy cam is it boasts a video resolution of 720×480. While it’s still not remarkably high (especially when compared to conventional digital cameras or camcorders), the resolution is the highest of all we reviewed. Subsequently, it offers pretty good video output with clear, intelligible audio.
We were surprised to find the Swann pinhole camera has rather meager memory capability. The spy cam does come with a 2GB MicroSD card but it can only support up to an 8GB memory card. Likewise, the included memory card can only store an insignificant 20 minutes of recording per gigabyte.
Much like memory capacity, the battery is just as unimpressive. The built-in Lithium-ion battery can last only one hour; however users can squeeze more life out of the battery by functioning in VOX mode whenever possible. Plus, the battery takes at least an hour to recharge ??? longer than the actual battery life.
The Swann SW361 ThumbCam may not boast the robust functionality or versatility that our top three ranked spy cams do but it does offer noticeably higher-quality video output and exceptional sound activation. Thus, this pinhole camera comprises a high-quality spy cam apt for practical, everyday use.