Orange County Private Investigator Blog

Follow Us On Twitter @TheOrangePI Now Selling “Spy Pens” & Hidden Cameras

with 29 comments

hidden camera spy pen in handWalmart Offering 3 Different “Spy Pens” For Under $100

So the other day I searching online for a nice spy pen, one that exudes a professional appearance as well as being highly reliability. There are many spy pens, pen dvr’s, or what have you. Many are just junk, and a lot of the pen cameras of the past have had serious reliability issues.

There is a pen I’ve been researching for a while, and it’s definitely captured my attention (no pun intended). The hidden pen camera is called the DOD-PH720HD, like the name states, it has the ability to capture video at 720p in HD quality. This pen also advertises it can snap still photos at 12 mega pixel resolution (if you can actually believe that). I have it on my wishlist on, and I was going to purchase it this week until I randomly stumbled upon these three “spy pens” on

Yes, you heard right. (of all places). Spy equipment is one of this last items one would picture Walmart stocking. It looks like the pens are available only online, and not in the brick & mortar stores. So why would Walmart stock a spy pen anyway?

Here’s my take on it. #1: Spy pens can be used for seminars, recording notes in a car while traveling. #2: It can come in handy for a cheating hubby / wifey’s significant other to place this sucker right on a desk or public common area without suspicion. #3: Flat out…the device is just plain cool to have!

I’m interested in hearing from anyone who currently has one of these devices or has used one in the past. I’d be interested in how the video / audio quality differs from unit to unit.

Walmart Spy Pen Camera #1:
SVAT PI101 Covert Pen DVR with Built-in Color Camera and 8GB Flash Drive

black undercover hidden pen camera image 1black pen cam detailed viewThe SVAT PI101 Covert Pen DVR with Built-in Color Camera and 8GB Flash Drive allows you to record your surroundings discreetly and transfer them to a PC or Mac via an 8GB USB flash drive. Includes covert pen DVR, three ink refills, USB cable, user’s manual, USB power adapter and informational booklet.

Technical Specs:

  • Video camera and DVR in a discreet, functioning ballpoint pen
  • Looks and writes with a normal pen
  • Pen unscrews to reveal a USB drive that can connect to a PC or Mac
  • Stores up to 7 hours of high resolution video at a time
  • Built-in lithium polymer battery can be charged via USB port
  • Includes covert pen DVR, 3 ink refills, USB cable, user’s manual, USB power adapter and informational booklet

Walmart Spy Pen Camera #2:
Swann DVR-421 PenCam Mini Video Camera & Recorder Executive-quality Black Ballpoint Pen w/ 2GB Flash Drive

The Swann PenCam DVR Mini Video Camera & Recorder is living proof the pen is mightier than the sword! The stylish-looking casing with metallic gold trim and pocket clip holds an executive-quality black ballpoint pen with hidden talents, as it contains a pinhole video camera so small you almost can’t see that it’s there. Use the PenCam to shoot AVI video files at 640 x 480 pixel resolution or JPEG still images at 1280 x 1024 photo resolution, all at the push of a button.Make your own videos or photos and store them on the built-in 2GB flash drive.

  • Real ballpoint pen
  • DVR
  • Camera
  • Easy uploads to YouTube
  • Long-lasting battery
  • 90-minute charging time

PenCam’s intelligent design includes 2GB of built-in internal memory that can store over an hour of video footage. Viewing or copying recorded files is easy, just unscrew the top of the pen to reveal a USB plug that can connect straight into your computer’s USB port. No special cables, no adapters, no drivers, no worries! Transferring files is easy as the PenCam can be used as an everyday USB thumb drive, able to store a myriad of file formats without fuss.

Walmart Spy Pen Camera #3:
Digital Peripheral Solutions Q-See4GB Covert-Ops 4GB Surveillance Pen

Q-SEE spy pen 1Product Model Number: QD113P

 Overview:  This versatile tool is built around an ultra-mini camera which combines 1.3-megapixel still photography and high-resolution real-time video with audio in a compact, discrete package. Store nearly 4,000 pictures or 2 hours of video on the internet with 4GB memory. View or save your files on any PC with a USB port. The ease of use, small size and elegant design make this a valuable tool for security personnel, business people, students, tourists and others.
Easy to Use – Playback files on Computer – Recorder Hidden in Working Ink Pen – Records Video
Takes Photos – Records Audio – Use as Webcam or Photos for Email

UPDATE: It appears is offering all 3 of these pen cameras “in stock” and at a lower price than Walmart. -OCPI Blog.

About the Author:

Ryan Garrahy is a California state licensed private investigator with over 10yrs experience, and owner/operator of Orange Investigations.

Orange Investigations | State Lic. 25492 | Office: (714) 248-5050 |

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29 Responses

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  1. We have tried using these kinds of pens, but find them quite unreliable. There are certainly better, more effective, devices out there that do the same thing.

    Private Detective

    February 10, 2012 at 7:13 am

    • Some of the older versions of the pen cam were down right horrible. Since about 2010 or so the pen cams have seemed much more reliable. The DOD 720p pen cam I mentioned in the article is the most reliable pencam to date that I’ve personally used, never had an issue obtaining video in a crucial situation.

      Ryan Garrahy, PI

      May 6, 2013 at 2:16 pm

  2. [...] Spy Camera Pen. from Price AngelsWhy Should really You buy a Spy PenSPY PEN CAMERA Now Selling “Spy Pens” & Hidden Cameras.broken_link, a.broken_link { text-decoration: line-through; [...]

  3. Cool Device! Private Investigators really have the greatest gadgets ever! They even have a way to make their report easy and convenience! Indeed, they have the coolest job ever!!


    March 1, 2012 at 8:26 am

    • Thanks Andrei for the comment, yes the improvement of the time/date stamp on these tiny cameras make life much easier as a PI when it comes to documenting & submitting evidence.

      Ryan Garrahy, PI

      May 6, 2013 at 2:14 pm

  4. I enjoy studying and I conceive this website got some truly utilitarian stuff on it! .

  5. That’s awesome I have to get a couple of those.


    June 12, 2012 at 11:41 am

    • Yea, these pen cams are great aren’t they. They are great for capturing video and fit in very well in just about any environment. As a private investigator, you need different “tools” for each assignment, the pen can is a really great tool, it’s been my go-to camera for various situations where I needed to capture undercover video for clients.

      Ryan Garrahy, PI

      May 6, 2013 at 2:13 pm

  6. You are in reality a just right webmaster. The website loading speed is incredible. It sort of feels that you are doing any distinctive trick. Moreover, The contents are masterwork. you’ve done a fantastic job in this topic!


    July 25, 2012 at 10:16 pm

  7. there should be more refills


    July 27, 2012 at 1:16 am

  8. Greetings OCPI. A couple of things.
    First, I have a small concealed camera. It’s not in a pen, but works along similar lines. These things are most effective when the object they are mounted in is stationary. The video quality can be quite good, but it’s tremendously annoying if the camera is bouncing around. Hence your pen camera might be fine – if you locate the pen strategically, leave it sitting in place, and with the camera ON. It might also work if it;s in your hand or pocket, and you STOP to look at your subject. But small cameras are very sensitive to body movements.

    Also … wanted to go back to an article you wrote at the start of the year. You pointed out that GPS trackers are illegal in CA as a way of monitoring a person. But what if you place the tracker to monitor an OBJECT. You don’t know a priori who is going to pick it up – so is this a different situation from monitoring a person? Good question :-) Give it some thought.

    Pete, Redondo


    October 19, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    • Thanks for commenting Pete. In California, you can track anything that is considered your property. For vehicles, as long as you’re the co-registrant – you’re good to go. In regards to your question about tracking an “object”, this would be something the courts would need to decide on. The 4th amendment is in place to protect people, rather than places. Check out Katz v. United States – 389 U.S. 347 (1967) this may be able to give you some insight.

      Ryan Garrahy, PI

      May 6, 2013 at 2:10 pm

  9. I was curious if you ever considered changing the page layout of your website?
    Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better.
    Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or two pictures.
    Maybe you could space it out better?

    • Thanks for your comments and input, I do focus on original content. The layout for the blog is basic, it’s hosted by WordPress. I’ll look into adding more pics, readers seem to like that.

      Ryan Garrahy, PI

      May 6, 2013 at 2:04 pm

  10. I have purchased this device from walmart . Realy cool device.

    spy pen

    April 29, 2013 at 5:41 am

  11. I believe everything composed made a lot of sense. But, what about
    this? what if you wrote a catchier post title? I ain’t suggesting your information is not solid, however what if you added something that grabbed a person’s attention?

    I mean Now Selling Spy Pens & Hidden Cameras | Orange County Private Investigator Blog is a little vanilla.
    You should glance at Yahoo’s home page and watch how they create news titles to get viewers to open the links. You might add a video or a related picture or two to grab people interested about everything’ve written.
    Just my opinion, it could bring your blog a little bit more interesting.

    contact flirting

    May 6, 2013 at 1:50 pm

  12. I do not know if it’s just me or if everybody else experiencing problems with your website. It looks like some of the text in your posts are running off the screen. Can someone else please provide feedback and let me know if this is happening to them as well? This may be a issue with my internet browser because I’ve had this happen before.

    Appreciate it

  13. Hello would you mind letting me know which hosting company you’re using? I’ve loaded your blog in 3
    different internet browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot quicker then most.
    Can you recommend a good internet hosting provider at a fair price?
    Thanks a lot, I appreciate it!


    May 28, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    • Site’s hosted by, most text based blogs with limited photos load faster than others as a general rule.

      Ryan Garrahy, PI

      May 29, 2013 at 12:18 am

    • Thanks for the kind words, it’s hosted directly by

      Ryan Garrahy, PI

      December 12, 2013 at 9:26 am

  14. there a spy pen cam or other spy cam which can click quality still pictures and can email them??

    Ur valued reply awaited


    July 30, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    • Most modern spy pens take photo snapshots and video. Only problem…you have to hold these pens super steady or the pic will be slightly blurry. Here’s a tip, shoot video on your subject – then upload the video and use a screen grabber or screenshot program to capture a still image from the video while it’s playing. That’s how I do it, works like a charm!

      Ryan Garrahy, PI

      December 12, 2013 at 9:21 am

  15. We tried these pens out in the uk for our private investigators and bailiffs and had mixed results. Some had good audio and poor video and some had good video and poor audio, therefore our private investigators and bailiffs stopped using them?


    August 3, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    • Yep, hit and miss with these pens. I’d recommend the DOD-PH720HD spy pen, I believe it’s Korean made. Have never had an issue with it.

      Ryan Garrahy, PI

      December 12, 2013 at 9:17 am

  16. You should just be careful when buying pens from walmart and other knock off sellers. We are trying to do a large sided by side comparison of all of the pens online to show the difference between them.


    May 2, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    • Thanks Mark. Let me know when you put together the side-by-side, I’d be interested in seeing how they all match up. I’d recommend the DOD-PH720HD (not avail at Walmart). It’s made in S. Korea. Good all around pen cam that’s super reliable, actually writes too.

      Ryan Garrahy, PI

      May 23, 2014 at 7:34 pm

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