Video Sunglasses


For a little while, I've been lusting after the Immortal Video Glasses. Sunglasses with a built in video camera - perfect for recording all my action/adventure exploits!
But, at £300, I thought they were a bit out of my price range. Undoubtedly fun, yes, but not 100-pints-of-beer fun (or however you choose to measure your fun).

I wondered if anyone was selling them second-hand on eBay. They weren't. But there were a whole load of clones. "Spy Sunglasses DVR" and the like. Some were technically very impressive - bluetooth, mp3 players, fm radios - all built in.

I went for the cheapest pair I could find. 1280*960 video resolution (actually 640*480 - more on that later), no built in memory, and shipped from Hong Kong.

Total cost? £16.50. A damned site cheaper than the Immortal glasses - but would they be any good? After two weeks on a slow boat from the East, they finally arrived...

Video Sunglasses

So, how well do they work?

Test Videos

Sunshine Test

Walking down Brick Lane in the dark

The video glasses I purchased said that they recorded at 1280*960 - in fact, they're only half that at 640*480. The seller has agreed a partial refund. I'm not convinced that the 1280 version would be any more than interpolated upwards.

Test Pictures

The resolution of the pics is 3264*2448. Click the pictures for full size.

The Specs (geddit?)

  • Weight: 52g
  • Battery:5V DC 450mAh
  • Recharging Time: 3-6 hours
  • Continuous working Time: 2-3 hours
  • Picture Resolution: The rather odd 3264*2448.
  • Video details (based on usage, not manufacturer's details)
  • Video 640*480
  • Audio is driven by a mono microphone on the left side.
  • Mplayer says: VIDEO: [MJPG] 640x480 24bpp 29.710 fps 5479.8 kbps (668.9 kbyte/s)
  • Mplayer says: AUDIO: 24000 Hz, 1 ch, u8, 192.0 kbit/100.00%

Once plugged in to USB, the camera just shows up as a USB mass storage drive. No software needed. Works perfectly on Linux.

lsusb produced

05e1:0b02 Syntek Semiconductor Co., Ltd

The Down Side

Look, it's a piece of sweatshop produced plastic. Don't expect the world, ok? That said, there are a few minor niggles.

  • Mini USB rather than Micro USB. All of my gadgets use the new standard - I have plenty of mini cables, but it's a pain that this doesn't support the new standard.
  • Limited to 8GB MicroSD card. To be fair, that's ~2 hours of recording time - which is what the battery is rated at.
  • The lenses of the sunglasses seem to be smoked glass and don't offer any real UV protection.
  • The lenses are meant to be removable (I've got a clear pair of lenses coming) but I can't find any way to remove them.
  • Glasses are lightweight but feel quite fragile.
  • Glasses are a little tight for my big head.
  • The mono microphone picks up what the wearer is saying reasonably well - but other sounds can be quite muffled. I think this is because the mic is pointing downwards.

All that said, I'm reasonably impressed with them.

Setting The Time

One of the problems with buying cheap tat from China is that the instructions are... obtuse.  As you can see in the above videos and pictures, I managed to screw up the time initially.

To set the time correctly, create a file called "time.txt" in the root directory. Open it up in your favourite text editor and type the time using this format.

2010.11.05 13.45.30 Y

That's "YYYY.MM.DD HH.MM.SS" The "Y" at the end tells the camera to place a timestamp on every video and picture. If you don't want a timestamp, write it as

2010.11.05 13.45.30 N

Once the file is saved and the camera turned on, the time will be set and the file automatically deleted.

Comparisons

Comparing the video to the hyper-expensive Looxcie

And the Immortal

I think this generic set holds up very well.

Conclusion

Under twenty quid? Bargain! It certainly falls in to the "good enough" category.

22 thoughts on “Video Sunglasses

  1. I didn't know they made these, but have often daydreamed of such a device to snap candid pix, especially while traveling. Very cool!

    Found your blog via the Nablopomo blog roll, in case you're wondering what I'm doing here. I'll be back!

    Tui

  2. Read this post and immediately ordered a pair from ebay - $20 Australian! Can't believe how good the quality is for that price. Heading off to do some trekking and zip-lines in Laos in Tuesday - can't wait to try them.

  3. Hi There:
    We sell HD720P sunglasses from our website here in Canada, $69.99 plus shipping Canadian.
    You have to watch what you order online, almost all the "HD" ones are really an older SD version and they quote the DIGITAL res,not Video.

    Please bookmark my website, will be bringing the NEWEST tech. as is is available, new generation 3GP glasses are coming to the site in late February, and we ship ANYWHERE!

    please watch our youtube footage from a recent interview on Canada's largest Tv morning show,Canada Am,

    and please check out our website http://www.videowatch.ca, and add click the LIKE button to add us to your facebook!

  4. Bought Syntek sunglasses camera and after 3 good utilisations, the start button only does start and stop the device but when i click in standby mode it doesnt shoot any vdo, pix, sound, and this in 3 modes !? even after resetting

  5. Hi, i have one just like it and use it when cycling as a "black box" recorder. it s not HD but it record car number plates should an unpleasant situation developes. Unfortunately i do not have the time.txt file installed in my device and i am stuck in 2007. Do you have any suggestions from where i can download the mentioned file?

    thanks and best regards

  6. I have a pair of them but when I plug them into my computer it will not recognize them and says no program installed for this device. Anyone have any ideas?

  7. I followed the instructions clearly on how to stop this thing from putting a time stamp on all the media (2010.11.05 13.45.30 N) but no matter what I do, it still puts the time stamp. I'm going crazy already!!! This destroyed all the videos. Any suggestions? Thanks a lot!!!

    1. This post is 7 years old. I don't have the glasses any more. I suggest talking to the manufacturer.

      1. Got it Terence! I just jumped on board because its still a current product being sold and I saw activity on this thread from a couple years ago. Anyway, thanks a lot for taking the time to reply:):):)

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