Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from viewing as part of this site because it has been discontinued. You can still read our original review below, but TopTenREVIEWS is no longer updating this product’s information.

While the term spy cam seems to denote covert or underhanded surveillance, the WINN MD90 Mini DV Camera is a durable and versatile pinhole camera perfect for use in a range of other applications. From capturing a daredevil skydive to documenting a business seminar, this mini spy camera allows you to capture virtually any moment (either openly or covertly) entirely hands-free.

We found the MD90 spy cam to be superior to all the other spy cams we reviewed, boasting a greater viewing angle than the second-ranked Global CCTV Security Mini DV LJ-DV811 and higher memory capacity than the third-ranked Veho Muvi Atom. Additionally, a few standout features and a compact, convenient design make it superior to all the other mini spy cams we reviewed earning it the TopTenREVIEWS Gold Award.

Design
Compare
9.4/10
Muvi Atom
SW361 ThumbCam
Muvi Micro DV Camcorder
DV2-B Easy Shot Clip
Pocket Pro II Camcorder
uCorder IRDC250
GD2705 Mini Recorder
Mini Spy Button Camera
8.8
8.1
7.5
7.5
3.8
5
3.8
2.5

Any decent spy cam should be designed with user convenience and portability in mind and this one delivers near flawlessly in such aspects. We loved how lightweight yet sturdy the camera was, weighing just 1.7 ounces with a durable metal alloy casing designed to withstand any bumps or drops it might sustain. The functionality of the camera is also very basic and easy to use. Recording can begin with just the touch of a button (by flipping the record switch) and VOX mode is activated by simply turning on the sound trigger switch. The camera is also equipped with a LED indicator that indicates when the camera is on and recording and a remarkable maximum viewing angle of 80 degrees (the greater a camera's viewing angle, the larger its field of view and subsequently the more it can capture).

When it comes to actual dimensions, you'd be hard-pressed to find an overall smaller spy cam. The camera measures a mere two inches in height and three-quarters of an inch in both depth and width, making it one of the smallest spy cams we came across and therefore ideal to take or mount just about anywhere you want. And speaking of motility, the mini spy cam comes with an attachable belt clip and mounting bracket so you can affix it to virtually anything including yourself (think a bike helmet, shirt collar, car dashboard, a wall, etc.). Plus, the camera's built-in eyelet and accompanying key ring allow you to easily attach it to a lanyard or enable key chain hanging for easy carrying.

One of the most noteworthy things about the camera is its range of design functions – for such a small, simple camera, it boasts some commendable versatility. For instance, it has an imbedded real-time clock (RTC) function that internally keeps track of the precise time and VOX mode for sound-activated recording. It is also just one of two mini spy cameras we reviewed that has an automatic-shut off feature; once the memory card is full, the camera will automatically turn off to conserve remaining battery power. Lastly, the camera can also function as a webcam, allowing users to connect to any PC (the camera is only compatible with Windows configurations) using the included USB cord and video conference with anyone in the world.

Despite such handy features, we would have liked to see an audio capture feature that enabled just sound recording – a feature some of the other products we reviewed offered. In addition, we feel that the ability to charge the mini camera through its USB cord would enhance convenience and usability of the camera (it can only be charged using the battery adapter it comes with).

Video/Image Output
Compare
8.1/10
Muvi Atom
SW361 ThumbCam
Muvi Micro DV Camcorder
DV2-B Easy Shot Clip
Pocket Pro II Camcorder
uCorder IRDC250
GD2705 Mini Recorder
Mini Spy Button Camera
8.1
7.5
6.9
8.1
7.5
6.9
6.3
6.3

Not all mini spy cameras are equipped with the ability to take still digital pictures but the MD90 spy cam can do just that using an advanced color CMOS camera with an image resolution of 2M pixels (CMOS refers to a type of image sensor commonly used in digital cameras). Similarly, the video resolution of the camera is 640x480 with a frame rate of 30 frames per second and video output file format of AVI. While the video and image output is not superb or first-rate, spy cams are not typically used in situations where high-definition output is a priority and such resolutions are standard on most comparable cameras including the other nine we reviewed. Subsequently, the camera performs its intended function of inconspicuously capturing video and pictures quite well.

This pinhole camera has a low lux rating of one, meaning the camera can still capture pictures and video with very minimal light (the standard equivalence of one lux is the amount of light emitted by a full moon in the tropics). We were surprised to find the mini camera does not have a time-stamped function to visibly stamp or mark pictures and videos with the accurate time they were taken, a feature we would have expected on more versatile and superior self-contained spy cams.

Memory
Compare
8.8/10
Muvi Atom
SW361 ThumbCam
Muvi Micro DV Camcorder
DV2-B Easy Shot Clip
Pocket Pro II Camcorder
uCorder IRDC250
GD2705 Mini Recorder
Mini Spy Button Camera
9.4
8.8
8.8
5
10
8.1
8.1
5

Like many other similar mini cameras, this one has a memory card slot for removable media storage so pictures and video can be saved directly on the camera and uploaded to a computer at a later time. While the camera comes with a 2GB MicroSD card, we were most impressed with was its maximum memory capacity of 16GB. Many smartphones boast the same memory capacity and most of the competitors we reviewed can support a memory card only up to 8GB. The storage time of the camera is 1GB per 30 minutes of recording (or approximately two hours with the included memory card) so users will need to upgrade the storage card if they want to store more than two hours of recordings on the camera.

Battery
Compare
8.8/10
Muvi Atom
SW361 ThumbCam
Muvi Micro DV Camcorder
DV2-B Easy Shot Clip
Pocket Pro II Camcorder
uCorder IRDC250
GD2705 Mini Recorder
Mini Spy Button Camera
6.3
6.3
7.5
8.8
8.8
7.5
7.5
8.1

Like many other similar mini cameras, this one has a memory card slot for removable media storage so pictures and video can be saved directly on the camera and uploaded to a computer at a later time. While the camera comes with a 2GB MicroSD card, we were most impressed with was its maximum memory capacity of 16GB. Many smartphones boast the same memory capacity and most of the competitors we reviewed can support a memory card only up to 8GB. The storage time of the camera is 1GB per 30 minutes of recording (or approximately two hours with the included memory card) so users will need to upgrade the storage card if they want to store more than two hours of recordings on the camera.

MD90 Mini DV Summary:
8.8/10

With comparable size and functionality, it can be difficult to spot the differences between small pinhole cameras like the WINN MD90 Mini DV Camera. But with its greater viewing angle, superior memory capacity and convenient features, it is a clear frontrunner among self-contained spy cams. So whether you want to capture a heart-pounding bike ride down the mountain or inconspicuously record a business meeting, the WINN MD90 Mini DV Camera is the best overall spy cam to help you document important, pivotal moments no matter where you are.

 

MD90 Mini DV

TopTenREVIEWS no longer updates this category and keeps it here for archiving purposes only. It was last updated in August 2012.