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6 Holiday Gifts That Are Perfect For The Amateur Spy

Ryan Dube 09-12-2011

holiday giftsDuring my day job, I work a lot with all sorts of technology. During the evening, I write about technology, as well as about espionage and spy stories. When you combine the two together, you get the obvious topic of spy gear. What I’ve found during my time blogging about spy news and cutting edge technologies is that there are a lot of people out there that really love spy technologies. There is something about human nature that finds thrill from secret surveillance and overhearing conversations that you are not supposed to hear.


I think it comes down to getting access to information that you otherwise wouldn’t have access to. That is the power that spy gear offers.

Giving The Holiday Gift Of Secret Surveillance

If you have anyone in your life that loves spy technology, or more generally really cool surveillance gadgets, then I’d like to offer my top selection of spy gear that is both affordable and very functional.

You don’t have to be an amateur spy to appreciate these technologies. Maybe you have a roommate that you believe is stealing some of your stuff. Or maybe you have a boyfriend or a spouse that you’re convinced is probably cheating on you. Spy equipment gives you the ability to be, or to go, where you yourself can’t actually go.

One example of this is the wireless video camera. Most of the gear I’m going to suggest involves an integrated camera of some sort, but the miniature, wireless camera is your basic first-line defense in many situations where you need to see what’s going on when you’re not around.

The Wireless Video Camera

holiday gifts


The standard wireless video camera that you can find on Amazon allows you to record both audio and video without any wires required. Attach just a 9 volt battery, tuck the little camera away on a bookshelf or somewhere that it can’t be seen, and it’ll record all activity in the room for nearly an entire day.

One interesting use of such a battery-powered camera that I’ve always wanted to try but haven’t had a chance yet is loading one of these onto a remote-controlled helicopter, creating a sort of airborne surveillance system.

The Photo / Video Camera Key Chain

Another little gadget that could come in handy when you least expect it is the miniature key chain photo/video camera. No one will know that you have a camera in your possession – so you can capture those rare shots that you usually can’t capture when you’ve got a camera at the ready.

unusual holiday gifts


The photos and video can be transferred to your computer (Windows, Mac or Linux) via USB. It can capture 30 frames per second of video, with an included 4GB SD card, upgradeable to 16GB.

Secret Lighter Camera

If you want a spy camera that is a litter easier to conceal, you might want to consider buying the video camera camouflaged as a lighter.

unusual holiday gifts

If you’re a smoker, this is a great little gadget to hold in one hand, recording everything that’s going on without anyone any the wiser. It can capture up to 5 hours of video onto the included 8GB micro SD card. Both audio and video can be transferred to your computer via USB.


The Mini DV Video Camera

If you’re not a smoker, but you still want something that is just as miniature that you could clip onto your shirt or anything else and record what’s going on around you, you may want to consider the Mini DV video camera.

unusual holiday gifts

This little device is puny – about the size of a thumb, but it can record 2 Megapixel video at 30 frames a second into whatever SD card you insert – up to 8 GB. This little gadget is best for short and fast captures when people least expect it. But keep in mind that the rechargeable lithium battery is only good for 2 hours of recording at a time, so use sparingly.

The Video Pen Camera

The camera above comes with a convenient clip that you can use to clip it somewhere onto your clothing. Or, if you want to clip a spy device to your shirt pocket that no one would suspect is anything other than an ordinary object, you might want to consider getting the really cool Video Pen Camera from DB Tech.


unique holiday gifts

Attached to your pocket, this looks like a regular executive, high-quality pen. What they won’t know is that the pen is actually a high resolution color video/picture camera. It comes with a 2 GB micro SD card, but you can replace that with a 15 GB card for much longer recording time. Keep in mind that this is for either 640 x 480 video at 30 frames a second, or 1280 x 960 photo capture, but no sound recording.

The Spy Watch

I think that my favorite spy gadget of all would make a perfect gift for people you know that love movies like “Mission Impossible” – a spy watch made by Sphere Tech.

holiday gifts

This cool looking watch looks like your standard high-quality executive watch, complete with your typical watch features, except in addition it has a secret camera lens in the watch face.

This camera can capture HD (1280 x 720) video at 30 frames per second by simply pressing one button. Or, you can also capture 4032 x 3024 resolution images. The watch has 4 GB of memory which can store 75 minutes of video or up to 4,000 images. You can transfer the files to either a Windows or Mac PC.

If you have family or friends who are fascinated by spy stuff or cool gadgets, any of these holiday gifts would make fantastic presents this year. Do any sound cool? Let us know what you think, and after you give them the gift, let us know about their reaction in the comments section below.

Image credit: Shutterstock

Related topics: Buying Tips, Christmas, Surveillance.

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  1. spy007
    December 10, 2011 at 5:38 am

    This is a nice collection. However, I would urge you to also share some interesting spy gadgets like the hollow spy coins (See  http://spygadgets.blogspot.com/2009/01/hollow-spy-coins.html )

  2. Saimarval
    December 9, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    Is this not a total invasion of another's privacy?  I have nothing at all to hide, legally and morally but I would not like to have my private life filmed.  Having said that, we have security cameras at home as our house has been burgled but the cameras are clearly seen and a flashing blue light indicates their presence.  Maybe there are good reasons for these cameras but they could also be used for voyeurism.....  I feel horrified to see what is available for anyone to purchase....

    • Ryan Dube
      December 10, 2011 at 12:39 pm

      True - it really comes down to whether you use the power of surveillance for good or bad. Then again, may of the "bad" uses could be illegal, so your point is well taken. People really do need to be careful how they use this gear.

      • Smumdax
        December 13, 2011 at 9:37 pm

        I'd just like to ask: is looking at someone with your eyes considered invading his privacy? Because a camera does the same... look at, record, replay... your brain is equivalent, even if it's not practical, you still can look, remember (record) and replay (see it back in your mind).

        • Tina
          December 15, 2011 at 1:33 pm

          You cannot share the pictures in your mind.

  3. Nc
    December 9, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    James Boond , lol

  4. phoenixstormcrow
    December 9, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    This stuff looks like fun; thanks for this article.  Something I would find useful along these lines would be a spy camera which can connect to wi-fi, so that I could view what it captures from, say, a web browser in another location.  I'm currently looking around to see what I can find, but if anyone can point me to such a product, I'd appreciate it.

    • Mark
      December 10, 2011 at 7:08 am

      I bought a couple of Foscam wireless cctv cameras from ebay for about £40 (UK) each. They're not bad - provide alarm info, upload images to ftp server, IR capability for working in total darkness etc. They even allow remote control over the web - just forward the ports on your router. Mine do not provide sound though.
      Downside - video quality can be rather poor because they're CMOS, instead of better quality CCD. Another downside - the alarm images are just jpgs, not a video.

      • Ryan Dube
        December 10, 2011 at 12:38 pm

        Sounds very cool...

    • Ryan Dube
      December 10, 2011 at 12:38 pm

      Yes, there are great wi-fi cameras but they can get somewhat pricey. Make for great spy cameras though - thanks for mentioning those. :-)

  5. Mark
    December 9, 2011 at 10:13 am

    The wireless camera will not " record all activity in the room for nearly an entire day" because its just a wireless camera. You'll need a receiver set up close (very close, and most likely in the same room) to capture the images coming out of the wireless camera.

    • Ryan Dube
      December 10, 2011 at 12:36 pm

      Thanks Mark...I think most people that are reading the blog are tech savvy enough to know how a wireless camera works. The reason I pointed out that it can last for a day is because after that the battery will run out.

      By the way, the receiver that comes with the camera that I linked to has a range of 300 feet.