Car gadgets don’t always have to be stuck somewhere in the vehicle but sometimes it makes sense to have something functional on your key-chain. Whether it means capturing video on the sly or finding your misplaced keys, these are two unique gizmos that can address a few specialty needs.
Swann RemoteCam DVR-410
Available at: Swann.com
This device offers a good level of convenience, coming off as some Bond-like spy accessory because it records video and captures photos undercover. Disguised as a key fob, there is a tiny lens on the front tip, and a memory card slot and mini-USB port on the side to recharge the battery.
You could be walking a fine line, but the scenarios seem endless. How about recording a mechanic or auto body technician explaining your car’s repairs, and then recording him again when he explains why the bill is inflated? You could leave it recording to get the audio when a cop pulls you over in case he or she gets a little overzealous. Or you could find a use for it when you least expect to.
Whatever you do get, don’t expect the RemoteCam to provide HD video or super high-res photos. Still, the quality is good enough on both to view easily on a computer, tablet or smartphone.
The footage and photos are stored on a 2GB microSD memory card that comes with the unit. That’s good for about 30 minutes of video. You can expand this further by sliding in an 8GB card (the max the RemoteCam can support) for two hours of video, except battery life only lasts about an hour.
Being covert isn’t for everyone, but not every situation has to be a stakeout, either. Whether this is a gizmo to uncover something or have a little fun is left up to you.
Available at: TheSource.ca, Amazon.ca
This isn’t about recording information but rather about finding valuables you might have misplaced. That can happen under any circumstance and three of the worst are arguably your car keys, wallet and smartphone. The Tag is basically a key-chain with built-in Bluetooth that connects to your iPhone, Android or BlackBerry through the Cobra Tag app.
With the pairing done, you can use one to find the other within a 30-foot radius. Once you venture out of range, the app can alert you via text message, e-mail or even Facebook or Twitter. Use the app to get the Tag to start playing a loud signal and tell you how close you are. This works the other way, too. If your phone is out of range, holding down the Tag’s button plays a song you chose on setup.
The audible cues are good ways to find either item in a pinch within a short distance, but in cases where you’re further away, the app also uses a map to help retrace your steps. This makes it possible to find misplaced keys after you’ve already left. In case you want others to know, the initial setup also lets you add their email addresses and phone numbers so they get the same alerts, which include GPS co-ordinates.
With a battery that lasts a week, the Tag doesn’t need to be recharged all the time, but it’s worth keeping the charging cable in the car or at home to make sure it’s topped up. The last thing you need is to have it die in the middle of a desperate search.