Spy Tec Inventio HD 720P video recording sunglasses {Review}

by Tyler, editor and reviewer

Even from a young age, I was obsessed with spy technology.  I used to stay up at night thinking of how cool it would be if cameras could fit in the palm of your hand, if fingerprint scanners could lock your valuables or if Hollywood’s technology would ever be a reality.  Unfortunately, I was clearly born a few decades too soon, because it’s only now that technology is catching up with my imagination.

For instance these, which are the ultimate in spy high-tech gear.  Forget cameras that fit in your palm, the Spy Tec Inventio HD is a camera you wear on the bridge of your nose.  You can bet we were thrilled when we heard we would get to test these babies out this spring to see if my childhood dreams really had come true.

While I’m past the age of dreaming of espionage and covert operations, I still think these are pretty darn awesome for all sorts of applications.  From recording fast moving sports and action shots hands-free, to capturing your perspective on the world, the Spy Tec glasses offer an unobtrusive way to record just about anything.

Spy Tec Inventio HDWhile I could go on and on about how fun it would be to pop these on and go for a bike ride or hike, my favorite thing about the glasses has nothing to do with sports or spying – it has to do with kids.  We all know kids freeze up as soon as you pull out your camera and start filming, so I love that the Spy Tec glasses are so discreet that they have no idea when you’re filming and when you’re not.  This means you’re more likely to catch that amazing trick they do, the funny pronunciation, or simply them just being them. 

We also like to let our kids wear the glasses to film and let them record the world as they see it.  Instead of worrying about what buttons they will press or whether they will drop the video camera on its lens, we can put the Spy Tec glasses right on the kids {use the included sunglasses neck strap if you are worried they might fall off} and let them make art all by themselves. 

Toddler's view of the world

Sure, they are tiny and great for kids, but I bet you’re wondering what kind of quality a “spy camera” could possibly be.  The answer is that it’s better than what you might think.  While some fast-moving  shots may produce videos that shake the entire time or be completely unwatchable, normal movements like walking or turning your head produce nice clear shots just like a regular video camera.  

Spy Tec while playiing with kids

And, at 720P, the videos are a nice clear HD quality image, which makes it perfect for YouTube, watching on your TV, or making high quality videos.  While it’s not IMAX quality, or DSLR quality, it does better than most point-and-shoot video cams we’ve tried, and is far more portable and unobtrusive. 

SpyTec glasses

This was a big issue for me as I’m constantly feeling very removed from the action when I’m behind my camera, and then am stuck holding it all day long, even when I’m done filming.  With the Spy Tec glasses I can simply wear them like normal sunglasses {which I always have with me} and hit record when something exciting happens.  Then, when the sun goes down and I don’t need sunglasses, I merely pop them into their included case.

The sound quality is also decent and does a good job of picking up voices and environment sounds.  Naturally, your voice will be the loudest sound if you speak at all, due to the proximity to the microphone, so you really don’t need to speak loud at all to be heard.

Of course, every technology has its drawbacks, and the fact that this video cam fits on your face means it doesn’t have many bells and whistles built into the camera itself.  No LCD screen, no menu, and no special effects, but none of these things would be worth sacrificing how small the glasses are, so I say it’s well worth it. 

Spy Tec glassesSome things did take a little getting used to, like the fact that you have to take them off your face to see if they are recording, the way that the angle of the lens is a bit above where your eye is looking so you need to compensate a bit while filming up close, that you can’t really “compose” your image the way you can with a traditional video camera and the fact that you can’t see what you recorded until you connect it to your computer. 

also need to take into account that some fast-moving  shots may produce
videos that shake the entire time or be completely unwatchable,
depending on camera movement.  Even walking or turning your head too
fast can produce dizzying videos if you're not fully aware of your
movements, so I have to remind myself to move more slowly while wearing

But, the biggest issue we found with not having an LCD screen or menu option is that you don’t know when you are out of memory or out of battery.  We had a whole day of thinking we were recording only to find that my daughter had used all the memory taking videos of what we can only imagine is the inside of her purse.  As for the battery, we found that thankfully it lasts about 2 hours of recording before needing to be charged, so we just charge it up when we’ve been filming a lot and we actually haven’t had it run down on us yet. 

Speaking of recording all day long, I love that the Inventio-HD automagically separates long videos into 1.2GB {which is approximately 15 minutes} increments for you.  Having smaller chunks of footage makes it much easier to find specific moments you've shot later as well as for editing purposes if you're making compilations.  While making our video I was very grateful to have smaller clips to work with instead of 1-2 hours videos to wade through. 

The Spy Tec Inventio HD sunglasses come with nice polarized lenses straight out of the package, but I love that you can also buy replacement lenses, mirrored lenses or even clear lenses for $12 apiece.  Depending on what you are filming or what activities you have in store, having different lens options is a big plus to me, especially since changing out the lenses makes it possible to film indoors as well. 

Here's the rundown on the Spy Tec Inventio HD video recording sunglasses:

  • 720P HD video and audio recording 
  • 16-bit digital audio recording 
  • Cables included to connect to computer or TV
  • Battery life of 2 hours
  • 8GB of Class 10 internal memory
  • Compatible with PC and Mac computers
  • Includes 1 year warranty
  • Bonus carrying case, cleaning cloth, and neck strap included

If you’re looking for an easy way to record everything from a helicopter ride to a walk through your favorite spot, from action shots to catching your grandma sweetly singing a lullaby while rocking your baby, the Spy Tec glasses are a great purchase.  They retail for $129.95 and can be purchased at SpyTecInc.com

Want to see the Spy Tec Inventio HD sunglasses in action?  Check out our video showing our favorite uses. 

big thank you to Spy Tec for providing the Inventio HD sunglasses to facilitate this review.  As always,
all opinions remain 100% ours.

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