The 10 Best Body Cameras
Last updated 24th July 2023
You’re about to dive headfirst into the fascinating world of body-worn cameras (or BWCs for short). These little gadgets are more than just another piece of tech kit – they’re revolutionising security, law enforcement, and even the way we perceive the world around us.
But don’t for a second think it’s all sunshine and rainbows! There are privacy issues to consider, costs to bear, and a cultural shift that’s turning every Tom, Dick, and Harry into a reality TV star. So grab a cuppa, get comfy, and let’s explore the intriguing world of BWCs together. It’s going to be a wild ride!
Useful. Impactful. Controversial. These are just three adjectives that have been used to describe the proliferation of body camera technology within the security industry.
As body camera technology becomes more affordable and accessible, proliferating alongside similar technology being operated by the general public, its usage will likely become more common within the security industry.
Escalating levels of violence against security workers could potentially facilitate this proliferation to the point that body worn cameras become standard equipment for all licensed door supervisors and security guards.
In this feature, we’ll take an in-depth look at BWCs; how they work, how best to use them, what to look for when buying one and what their implications may be, both for the security industry and the wider society as a whole.
Table of Contents
Body cameras for security
Security guards utilise body-worn cameras (BWCs) as an integral part of their toolkit in a variety of ways. These devices, typically clipped onto the guard’s uniform, continually record audio and visual footage throughout their shift. This real-time coverage captures interactions with the public and other staff, potential security threats, and instances of crime.
In situations of conflict or dispute, BWCs serve as an impartial witness, providing tangible evidence that can protect both the security personnel and the public. The presence of BWCs can also act as a deterrent, discouraging aggressive behaviour and reducing the risk of violent incidents.
Moreover, the recorded footage can be utilised for training purposes. It allows for the review and analysis of critical situations, aiding in the improvement of response strategies and protocols. In essence, BWCs serve a dual function – providing a layer of protection for security personnel and enhancing their professional development through the evaluation of real-world scenarios.
During our recent study of violence experienced by security personnel, quite a few of the security operatives we spoke to offered very positive feedback regarding the use of body cameras (BWCs) as a deterrent.
One respondent told us they:
“had a definite effect on decreasing the frequency of incidental violence, especially from members of the public [that have been] knocked back on the door”.
This sentiment was echoed multiple times in our survey on body cameras.
I had ejected a male from my venue physically and he then proceeded to make fake claims of assault to the police police reviewed footage and then dispersed the male from the area
I had to use body camera footage from my colleagues camera once to prove I didn’t strike a person as I was removing them from the club as they went to police to claim I had assaulted them
I was assaulted by a male who claimed to have a knife in his possession and threatened to kill me. When the police arrived he admitted hitting me but claimed I used excessive force in restraining him. I gave the police a copy of the footage which proved I was telling the truth.
Buying Guide for Body Worn Cameras
When considering the purchase of a Body Worn Camera (BWC), there are a number of key features that you should bear in mind. To ensure comfort during prolonged wear, the weight of the camera is a critical factor. A lightweight camera can make a considerable difference during long shifts.
If your work involves outdoor operations, the IP rating of the camera is an important consideration. This rating reflects the camera’s resistance to dust and water, ensuring its durability in various weather conditions.
The memory size of the camera is another key factor, as it determines the quantity of footage that can be recorded and stored. Greater memory capacity allows for longer recording times before the need for data transfer or deletion arises.
The battery life of the camera is equally important, particularly if you are working long shifts. Opting for a camera with a long-lasting battery can negate the need for mid-shift recharging and ensure uninterrupted operation.
Equally critical is the camera’s field of view. A wider field of view allows for more comprehensive coverage, capturing a larger area within the frame.
Lastly, if you are using the camera for security purposes, consider the level of encryption offered. High-level encryption ensures the security of your footage, protecting it from unauthorized access and maintaining the integrity of any evidence collected.
All these features contribute to the efficiency and effectiveness of a BWC, making them crucial considerations when selecting a model that suits your specific needs.
|Body Camera||Weight||Size H/L/W||IP rating||Memory||Battery Life||FOV||Screen||Encryption|
|Hytera VM580D||172g (with battery and belt clip)||94x63x20 mm||IP68||32 GB, 64 GB, and 128 GB||8 hours (720p@30 fps)||106°||2.8"||AES-256|
|Vantage S1||130g||76x54x27 mm||IP66||32GB||9.2 hours (720p@30 fps)||140°||2"||Password Only|
|Vantage S1 Plus||176g||55.9x80x33mm||IP66||64GB||19 hours (720p@30 fps) Additional Battery included||140°||2"||AES-256|
|REXING P1||113g||76.2 x 50 x 25.4 mm||IP67||64GB||10 hours (1080p@30 fps)||170°||2"||Password Only|
|Guardian G1||175g||97 x 62 x 33 mm||IP65||128GB||13 hours (720p@30 fps)||140°||2"||Password Only|
|BOBLOV M5||128g||142 x 99 x 81 mm||IP67||64 - 128 GB||15 hours recording time and 25 hours standby time||170°||2"||n/a|
|BOBLOV T5||160g||187 x 145 x 65 mm||IP65||64 - 128 GB||Up to 12 hours||140°||2"||n/a|
|BOBLOV KJ21||105g||75 x 55 x 25 mm||n/a||64 - 128 GB||9 - 10 Hours||140°||1.5"||n/a|
|Motorola VB400||162g||68 x 89 x 26.6 mm||IP67||64 GB||12 hours||120°||n/a||AES, encrypted keys specific to base station|
|CAMMHD||200g||206 x 135 x 54 mm||IP67||64 GB||10 hours||130°||2"||n/a|
With a thickness of 20mm and a weight of just over 17grams, the Hytera VM580 is small, lightweight, and smart.
However, the small size does have one or two drawbacks. For example, the screen measures just 5cms across (it’s orientated to ‘landscape’), which is smaller in all dimensions than a smartphone screen, meaning that it cannot be used to check the footage in much detail. It does, however, benefit from the inclusion of touchscreen technology.
The VM580 runs on Android (version 7.1), which will be instantly familiar to anybody with an Android phone, tablet, or other device. This also negates a lot of compatibility issues that could arise with other body worn cameras.
The VM580 captures 1080p HD images at a rate of 30 frames per second. The video quality is sharp and smooth, allowing for the easy identification of suspects, as well as clarity when the footage is reviewed. The ‘one touch’ operation is also a very welcome feature, as it makes capturing footage easy and hassle-free, Along with this it has a 30 second pre and post record function, allowing you to capture any post or pre incident.
The only negative we can find here is with the 30fps frame rate. Due to this, it is conceivable that rapid movement may be missed by the camera, especially during a heated moment.
The camera features AES-256 encryption, meaning that footage is only available to authorised users. Data encryption is an important way to collect and store evidence, as it prevents tampering, complies with data protection laws, and ensures privacy for those captured on film, the VM580 offers 32Gb, 64Gb and 128Gb internal solid state memory capacities.
This camera also has infrared capability, meaning that it can capture a clear image in low light conditions. It only has two infrared LEDs, but these can recognise a human face within 5 metres of the camera and a person’s outline within 10 metres. For a camera of this size, the infrared is good, but there’s nothing here to set it apart from anything else on the market.
The VM580 supports around 8 hours of continuous battery life. As with all manufacturer’s claims about battery life, we advise you to take this with a pinch of salt. Nevertheless, the camera does feature a back-up battery (meaning that it can even record footage while the main battery is being changed). The inclusion of a back-up battery is excellent, especially in a device this small and lightweight. However, 8 hours’ battery life, although good, could be a bit better, in our estimation.
One feature we really liked was this camera’s ability to function as a two-way radio. It works via the ‘Push to Talk Over Cellular’ applications, requiring 4G capability with a sim card or a reliable Wi-Fi network. Once this is all set up, simply press the PTT button and you can make quick and clear voice calls to other body cameras or other radios. The sound quality is great, too, thanks to the inclusion of an excellent 1-Watt speaker.
If you have access to a Hytera-compatible dispatcher, you can even stream live video. This is an incredibly useful feature, as it allows you to share video of an emerging situation in real time. The only downside here is that the dispatcher must be compatible with Hytera products, otherwise streaming video is off the table entirely.
Despite its slender design and relative lightness, the VM580 is fairly tough. It features an IP rating of 68, making it fully dust proof and water resistant. It also meets MIL-STD-810G standards by being able to withstand being dropped from up to 2 metres in height. This is excellent, although it won’t survive being dropped down a flight of stairs or hurled off a ledge, it will likely emerge unscathed from any rough and tumble that occurs while it’s in use.
On the whole, this is a brilliant product that not only excels at its core function, but also takes on extra jobs as well. It’s a great little overachiever jam-packed with excellent extra features and innovative design choices. First rate.
This Radio and Body camera all-in-one allows users to record and talk through one device.
One-touch operation for photo taking, audio and video recording.
IP68 certified camera is fully dust-proof and water resistant.
Compact, trim, and very lightweight, the Vantage S1 body camera measures just 76mm from top to bottom, is only 56mm wide and has a practically anorexic thickness of just 27mm. In addition, it only weighs 130g, making it a great choice for use over extended periods.
At its highest setting, this camera can capture crystal clear footage in 2304 x 1296p resolution, which is very impressive indeed. It can also take footage in standard HD, as well as several lower resolution options.
The only downside with this feature is that, despite the presence of low consumption technology, it does impact the battery life. The 2700mAh battery will last for well over 9 hours at the lowest video resolution (848 x 480p), but the quality of the footage may negate its use as evidence in any criminal case.
The battery will last just over 7 hours in full HD mode, but this is less than the battery life offered by many other cameras on the market. At the highest resolution, the battery will die completely after only 6.5 hours (and again, we urge you to always be conservative with your battery estimates). It isn’t that the battery life is terrible, just that it sits at the lower end of what we can reasonably expect for a camera in this price range.
Some issues with the battery can be mitigated due to its relatively rapid charge time (4 hours for a full charge), however.
The S1 has infrared capability, which activates automatically in low light, negating the need to manually switch between the ‘regular’ and ‘night vision’ modes. The S1’s night vision can capture clear images from up to 10 metres away, which is very impressive. In addition to the infrared LEDs, it also features built-in white lights.
This camera also features an internal memory card, manufactured by Toshiba, that can store up to 32GB of data. While not perfect, 32GB should hold roughly 19 video clips, which is good for a camera of this size. There are no other memory options, however, and the card cannot be replaced, meaning that footage will need to be transferred elsewhere on a fairly regular basis.
On the negative side, this camera does not feature data encryption, instead relying on a password-protected USB port, which is required if you want to view the videos. The password-protected USB is a nice feature, but it doesn’t feel as safe as data encryption.
The S1 has an IP rating of 66, making it reasonably well protected against dust and water. It can also survive a drop of up to 2 metres without sustaining any serious damage. It’s impressive to us that a camera as thin and lightweight as this one can be as tough and durable as it is.
Another cool feature is this camera’s ‘man down’ function, which can be activated by holding the ‘menu’ button in place for a few seconds. When this is done, an alarm blares loudly and white lights flash – perfect for emergency situations wherein you need to quickly get somebody’s attention.
Overall, this is a very good camera that’s hampered by one or two minor issues. To what extent these issues will affect the user depends greatly on what the camera is being used for. We would prefer a few different design choices/features, but your mileage may vary. In any instance, if only for its size and easy portability, this camera is a winner.
Vantage S1 Plus
When juxtaposed with the Vantage S1 Plus, however, the S1 loses a few more points.
For starters, the S1 features AES563 data encryption, which we feel is far superior to the S1’s password-protected USB feature.
Additionally, the S1 Plus has a built-in memory of 64GB, literally doubling the memory capacity of the S1.
The S1 Plus also comes bundled with a spare battery, which is a welcome addition, even if the 2500mAh battery is inferior to the S1’s 2700mAh. We weren’t crazy about the S1’s battery life, so the fact that the S1 Plus features a battery with a smaller capacity (despite being a bigger device), is a little off-putting. We wouldn’t expect to get much more than 6 – 8 hours out of it at 1080p, less if the GPS was in use.
As mentioned earlier, the S1 Plus is a bit bigger than the S1 – weightier, too. At 176g, however, it’s still nice and lightweight. Weirdly (and we’re honestly not sure why), this version isn’t as tough as the S1, only sporting an IP rating of 65 and therefore not being as element proof as the S1.
In some areas, the S1 Plus greatly improves upon the S1, but in others, the S1 has it totally beat. The S1, for example, has a better battery, is more hardwearing and durable, and thus is better suited for outdoor use. It’s also lighter and more portable than the S1 Plus.
The Plus, on the other hand, comes with an extra battery, boasts far greater memory and offers data encryption, among other improvements. Each version has its benefits and drawbacks, so it’s up to you to decide which features matter most.
Definitely one of the coolest looking BWC we’ve reviewed so far, the Rexing P1’s design combines flash and functionality in a way that’s impossibly appealing. But is it as cool to use as it is to look at?
The camera’s highest resolution setting is 1080p, which is good, but not quite as good as many others on the market. Having said that, the P1’s ultra wide-angle lens with 170° field of view definitely helps to make up for it.
The camera’s night vision function, however, is excellent, with the P1 easily capturing clear images from up to 15 metres away, even in pitch-black surroundings.
A built-in memory of 64GB is very welcome indeed, although the P1’s insistence on encoding all files in the .AVI format is very annoying (if your computer can’t run AVI’s, then a file converter will be needed. This can represent an unnecessary tech-headache for many consumers).
Also worth noting is the fact that, once the body cameras memory reaches capacity, it will automatically record over the older footage. This function can be useful, but it can also present the user with an inconvenience. It would be better if this were an optional, rather than automatic function.
As a security measure, the P1 will only allow footage to be deleted by the user if said user first connects it to a device via USB. This is a fine security precaution, but it clashes somewhat with the camera’s automatic policy of deleting its own footage in order to save space.
The length of video clips is defaulted to 5 minutes, but can be manually changed to 30 minutes if this is preferred.
All footage filmed by the Rexing P1 can be viewed on the body cameras rear screen, which is beautiful. It’s a great size and offers superior picture quality. This adds hugely to the P1’s overall appeal.
The battery is good, offering users up to 10 hours of continuous video recording and lasting for around 20 hours in standby mode. A weatherproof rating of IP67 is brilliant, as is the intensive shock proofing of the case itself (which makes use of the same materials as some firearms). All of this helps to make the Rexing P1 one of the toughest body cameras out there right now.
The P1 even comes complete with built-in lights and sirens that can scare away would-be attackers and criminals
This camera has a lot of great features, including a 64GB external memory card (which can be extended if necessary), external flashing lights and sirens, a cool-looking outer case that feels exceptionally tough and a rear-screen that is simply beautiful to look at.
On the downside, this body camera uses AVI format which is notoriously difficult to play on some Microsoft software programmes, compared to other body cameras that use MOV format which is much more acceptable, it also deletes its own footage, whether you want it to or not. It also comes with a manual that fails to explain all its features and the camera itself cannot be attached vertically to the user. Additionally, the white light (designed to work alongside the body camera and aid its function) is so dim as to be almost useless.
Probably the toughest camera around, with easily the coolest case, the P1 is all about appearances. However, when it comes to body cameras, like people, it’s what’s inside that counts – and by that yardstick, the Rexing P1 has got a little bit of catching up to do.
The Guardian G1 body camera offers superb 1296p full HD video recording. This high quality footage is captured by a 32-megapixel body camera and runs at a super-smooth 30fps. These exquisite specs ensure that the G1’s video playback is never less than great.
Although it only features a 140° field of view lens, this is still considered ‘ultra wide angle’ and is still wide enough to see every lane on the road if the G1 is used as a dashcam. The lens could be better, but that definitely doesn’t make it bad.
Additionally, the camera’s night vision mode can pick out clear details from up to 10 metres away, even in pitch-black darkness – and that’s before the infrared function is activated.
The Guardian G1 body camera comes in a tough looking case that definitely seems able to take a few knocks. The casing is also emblazoned with a written warning that audio and video are being recorded. Legally speaking, this can be very useful indeed, although it does mean that the Guardian G1 isn’t the most covert of body cameras.
The G1 is also quite cumbersome, being both larger than many of its contemporaries, as well as weighing it at an unwieldy 175g.
This camera boasts a generally good battery life, being able to last for up to 10 hours on the second-lowest resolution setting (720p), but only lasting 6-and-a-half hours in 1290p mode. It’s also worth noting that the camera will survive for around 240 hours in standby mode. It takes 4 hours to fully charge the battery, which feels reasonable when offset against the run-time.
The camera’s menu system and basic functions are smartly laid out and easy to understand. Footage can be rewound and fast-forwarded at speeds that vary between 2x and 64x.
The Guardian G1 also features 32GB of built-in memory. This is definitely OK, but could also be better. Additionally, the lack of options to increase the camera’s memory capacity represents another minor disappointment.
There is quite a lot to recommend about the Guardian G1, all told. For starters, it is quite tough and durable. It also features an integrated GPS system (although this only works outdoors) that functions very well. The G1 is also mostly weatherproof (with a rating of IP65).
Elsewhere, the picture quality is brilliant, the battery is good and it also has a ‘password lock’ function, as well as an ID stamp that appears on the screen at all times (so you can easily see who shot the footage). It even comes bundled with its own charging dock.
On the downside, the outer casing, although solid and hard-wearing, is also cumbersome and a little too heavy. The lack of a headphone jack is also a minor annoyance, as this makes quiet, discreet playback somewhat difficult. The G1 is also only compatible with Windows (excluding Vista) and will not work with any Apple technology whatsoever.
On the whole, this is a very good, reliable model. It may fall short of being ‘top of the range’, but the Guardian G1 is more than worth checking out.
Designed for use by police and emergency services, this body-worn camera (BWC) features a thick plastic casing that instantly calls attention to its presence. Though clearly not designed for covert use, it instead can function quite well as a visual deterrent. Also, despite being a bit bulky, the Boblov M5 is still petite enough to be worn comfortably over long periods.
The body is both sturdy and scratch proof. An IP (Ingress Protection) rating of 67 protects against heavy rainfall (it can even be submerged in water for around half an hour before permanent damage sets in), as well as dust, dirt, or sand intrusion. It also has a drop resistance of 2 metres, which is great protection in case the camera falls off or comes loose during a scuffle.
The Boblov M5 features a 2560 x 1440p Ultra HD camera, with a frame rate of 30fps. The footage captured is of very high quality, even on the lower settings. In addition to video, the camera can also capture 48 megapixels’ worth of still images (the same as an iPhone 14, but less than some other Smartphones).
With a 170° wide angle lens, some objects and people may seem further away than they are. This is a decent option for a dashcam but may not be especially useful for a bodycam.
The camera can also take photos and record video in the dark, thanks to the addition of 6 built-in IR lights. This ‘night vision’ mode is very good and can be switched between ‘regular’ and ‘night’ modes both automatically and manually.
The camera supports loop recording and can film without sound (a good space-saving option) if this is desired. This might not be necessary, however, as the camera’s internal memory is generous at 128GB (a 64GB version is also available).
The microphone also works ably. It isn’t perfect, but it’s good enough to pick the louder sounds out of the din and could certainly be used for evidence gathering purposes.
The battery life is also genuinely good. 6 hours’ uninterrupted charging time will yield approximately 15 hours’ use in 1080p HD mode. The 1440p Ultra HD mode, of course, will not last as long. The same holds true for long-term use of the IR function, which also drains the battery. The camera has a 25-hour standby life. The Boblov M5 cannot therefore be used continually throughout a shift on the door but can stand by long enough to be activated when needed.
Because it was created with security and law enforcement in mind, the Boblov M5 body-worn camera contains several useful related features, including red and blue flashing lights, and a built-in alarm for drawing attention or calling for help. There is also a ‘stealth’ mode, wherein the camera will not emit any sounds and will display no indication of being in-use (for example, the recording light) as it records or takes photographs.
There is also a ‘lock and locate’ feature, which emits a red light capable of targeting a specific area or individual, even if the individual attempts to move away or escape the view of the camera. Overall, these features make the Boblov M5 an excellent tool for gathering evidence of illegal activity and/or keeping the peace.
The camera gives users a lot of options (sound or silence, regular or night vision, customisable image quality rates, video segment length, and storage compression, etc), but all are easy to find and manage via the back buttons. This ease of use means that different users can use this device, and other users can then quickly return it to their desired settings without a lot of confusion and fuss. User friendliness and reliability are important attributes for a device like this, so this is one aspect that really impressed us.
The lack of a removable SD card may be an annoyance to some, as its exclusion means that the camera must be physically linked (via the included USB cable) to a computer for any files to be downloaded, while a full SD card cannot simply be replaced with a new one. However, the device works well with most computers, and the files are very easy to locate, transport, and delete.
The lack of any WiFi connectivity is also less than desirable, as this prevents files from being quickly and safely sent to other devices. If, for example, a crime is filmed, but the camera is lost, stolen, or badly damaged afterward, the evidence will simply not exist in the way it still would if files could be sent wirelessly. This fact unfortunately makes the camera less secure than some others we’ve seen.
Also on the downside, the positioning of the camera (when attached to clothing via the clip) can obscure the view of the playback screen, meaning that users often won’t know what they’ve filmed until after they’ve filmed it, something which could cause frustration, especially for inexperienced camera operators.
When in use, the clip also covers around 30% of the playback screen and does not swivel like other BWC clips often do. This, more than anything else, stands as the Boblov M5’s single biggest drawback. The clip is simply in the way, pointing downwards to cover the screen, and making it difficult for users to see what they have filmed.
The image quality is so good that turning the resolution down a notch could prolong the battery life.
The night vision is very good, easily switches automatically from night to day vision
Includes Red beam lock and locate
The clip does not swivel like other similar types this is annoying when holding in your hand as it covers 30% of the small screen
The Boblov T5 body-worn camera looks sturdy and difficult to break. In terms of design, at least, this one would be a good choice for any security operative, police officer, or first responder.
It looks like a piece of official equipment and will go nicely with most uniforms (particularly those that employ darker colouration, such as police or security).
The camera can film up to 30 minutes’ high-quality footage at any given time (the default is 5 minutes, with escalating options in-between), and can capture images in 1440p Ultra HD, or 1080p HD, as well as still photos with over 4000 pixels.
The 140°wide angle lens also allows the user to capture a clear, detailed image of their surroundings that is wide enough to offer context instead of simply focussing on one individual or a small group of people.
The built-in microphone is also very good, picking up even low whispers from a reasonable distance away.
In regular HD mode, with the IR and playback screens both switched off, the battery (the T5 comes with 2) will last for a respectable 12-13 hours. Even with everything working at once, users will still be able to get 4 or 5 hours’ use out of one fully charged battery.
The Boblov T5 has 64GB of built-in memory, which can be doubled via the use of an external SD card (included with sale) of the same capacity.
The ‘night vision’ mode works very well indeed, using high-intensity LEDs to capture clearly identifiable faces from almost 10 metres away. A ‘stealth mode’ (which ensures that the camera operates in total silence, with no visible indicators of being in use) is also a very welcome feature. In case there isn’t time to enable the stealth mode, Boblov have made the red recording light less prominent on this camera.
The T5 also allows for a customisable user ID to be added to the footage, which is great if the camera is being used by a team. This was designed for use by police but could also be applied to security work. The T5 also boasts a ‘file protection’ function, which prevents files from being deleted by other users.
The aforementioned functions are also very easy to use, thanks to the T5’s ‘one-key operation’ system. Essentially, each of the main functions has a raised button (easy to locate, even without looking) assigned to it that makes this camera effortlessly user friendly, as well as easy to use in a hurry (a plus when it comes to security work).
The T5 is also amazingly lightweight, weighing just over 100g (about the same as a tomato). This portability makes it a great choice for wear during encounters with difficult patrons, as well as use during longer shifts.
A water resistance rating of IP65 isn’t as good as some others we’ve seen but should protect the camera from moderate to heavy rainfall, while the T5 also features 2 metres’ drop resistance, making this camera hard to break, despite its low weight.
Though admittedly impressive, the T5 is not without its share of nagging downsides. The lack of WiFi compatibility hurts it slightly, as does the problem of the clip covering around 30% of the playback screen, without the user being able to move it.
The T5 also works best when attached to the magnetic body mount. However, because the mount is sold separately, this adds to the expense considerably.
The rubber parts that cover the camera’s charging ports can become detached quite easily, which can be a big problem for those who are planning to use the device outside in unpredictable weather.
Even if this does not break, moisture can also get into the battery port via this less-than-stellar port cover.
Scratch-resistance or proofing has apparently not been applied to the camera lens, which is quite an egregious oversight for a camera designed for use in all manner of situations.
In addition, like most BWCs, the T5 is prone to shaking along with the body’s movement. To combat this, one Amazon customer recommended fixing it to the clip with an elastic band, a clever solution that is worth trying out if you use a BWC and find the shaky footage to be a problem.
Comes with charger, 2 batteries 2 different style clips and 64gb micro memory card
The raised buttons make operating it easier than others
High res playback quality, and microphone hears every whisper
Packed with useful features, Boblov’s KJ21 body-worn camera has a more basic, ‘no frills’ design than many of its contemporaries. This calls less attention to its presence, while still matching the average security operative or police officer’s uniform requirements.
The KJ21 boasts ‘pre-record’ and ‘post-record’ functions, customisable user ID, file protection, and stealth mode, among several other features, most of which could prove very useful to the average DS or CCSO.
The KJ21 can be set to record audio exclusively but can also take still photos at the same time. There’s no denying that this is a very useful function.
The image quality captured by the camera is good, although perhaps a step behind some other BWCs we’ve reviewed. At full capacity, the KJ21 can capture 1296p HD videos, and makes use of a 140° wide angle lens that captures the whole scene, instead of just one or two elements of it (thus enabling a more complete picture of events as they transpire). Video clip length can be set to last for as long as 30 minutes (longer videos tend to work better regarding evidence collection, as they provide better context).
The ’night vision’ mode works well also, taking clear footage up to 10 metres from the camera, even in pitch darkness.
The battery life is also generally good, with a 4-hour charge time giving users around 10 hours of use in 1080p mode with the playback screen switched off. This battery life is a plus for a security operative, as it should comfortably last (if not in constant use) for a 10 – 12-hour shift.
Sadly, one of the biggest problems with this camera is the lack of internal memory. The KJ21 supports an SD memory card, which is good because the user can directly customise the amount of memory the camera has according to their needs, but also bad because the camera does not come bundled with an SD card. This means that the camera cannot be used until the user makes the separate purchase of a compatible SD card.
On the plus side, the clips rotate a full 360°, and can attach to the wearer in a variety of positions. There is also a dashboard mount (sold separately). Sadly, the main clip does end up covering the playback screen somewhat. The camera can also wobble when walking and may need to be twisted into the right position before use, something that is not at all ideal in stressful situations.
Regarding downsides, the KJ21 certainly has its share. One issue involves the accidental deletion of video clips that the user may have wanted to keep.
According to some Amazon customers, it is possible to select a single file and click ‘delete’, only for 2 files to be deleted. Some customers have also complained about the battery life not being as good as stated by the manufacturer.
With a wide screen, lots of features (especially file protection, and the ability to be activated and used at a moment’s notice), very good picture quality, and long video capture times, this is still a good camera for obtaining evidence.
However, the requirement of an SD card (and lack of one included with the camera itself), coupled with the nagging issues mentioned above, stop the KJ21 from being anything other than perfunctory.
The Motorola VB400 is tough. How tough? Before putting this bodycam on the market, Motorola subjected it to a battery of tests (29, to be exact). These tests, designed for grading military equipment, included shock, vibration, heat, cold and even gunfire. It withstood them all, earning compliance with MIL-STD-810G standards as a result.
The VB400 has an IP rating of 67, meaning that it can withstand all but the most extreme temperatures and weather conditions, as well as being fully submerged in water for up to half an hour.
The camera is operated via the use of 5 buttons, all of which are programmable. This allows for a user experience that is both easy and highly customisable. The buttons feature LEDs, vibrations, and beeps, which is a nice touch (all of these can be switched off as well). The extra-large ‘record’ button is also well-placed and easy to locate without looking.
The camera also comes with a variety of secure mounting options (including ‘Klik Fast’, a ‘quick release’ mechanism, and an alligator clip).
The image quality, though fine, is not quite as good as that of some others we’ve seen. This camera captures images in 1080p HD, but this cannot be boosted. For most bodycams on the market right now, 1080p is a secondary setting, not the highest.
The camera also only captures images at a horizontal 120°, not 140° angle. This is still a wide angle, but not as wide as some others we’ve seen. Some users may prefer a tighter shot, however. So, this isn’t a ‘deal breaker’ for us, either.
The ‘night vision’ mode works well, and is still able to capture clear footage in very dark conditions, working in conditions as low as 0.2 lux. The camera also features ‘pre’ and ‘post’ recording options, which can be set to last for up to 2 minutes either way.
The VB400 features dual microphones, which work well, and can be customised not to activate during pre- and post-record periods, or turned off entirely, as well as being active the entire time. They can also operate independently of the camera itself.
On full charge (the camera has an internal battery, which takes a rather exhaustive 8 hours to fill), the VB400 will capture around 12 hours of continuous footage, which is impressive – and should last an entire shift.
The VB400 also has an array of extra features that are worth mentioning. For example, the camera boasts peer assisted recording, a function that – if enabled – automatically activates another VB400 camera within a specified proximity. For security operatives, this means that as soon as one camera is manually activated, others close to it (e.g., those operated by other team members) will activate automatically. This is great for evidence gathering, especially in cases where operatives are accused of violating the laws of reasonable force.
Another great feature is this camera’s ability to stream footage in real-time using a WiFi connection. In addition to these great features, the VB400 also makes use of GPS location tracking, which can work in tandem with the WiFi connectivity, allowing managers and colleagues to see first-hand what the operative is seeing, as well as to know instantly where the event is taking place (and thus coordinate their efforts more effectively). This is potentially a great way of keeping operatives safe, especially those who guard large premises or outdoor areas, or those who work remotely.
Footage is also stored securely. This means that, once it has been recorded, no footage can be accessed, deleted, or tampered with on the device. Instead, perhaps mindful of data protection laws, all footage must be downloaded to the ‘VideoManager’ software and handled there. Some users may find this annoying, as it demands that footage be downloaded regularly, and that it is not viewable on the device itself. This would certainly be a hindrance to hobbyists and those with a civilian interest in bodycams. For security purposes, however, this function adds an extra layer of protection, which seldom makes for a bad thing.
On this point, it’s worth mentioning that the VB400 also makes use of a ‘footage verification’ function that ensures no footage can be tampered with or edited in any way. Once again, this will frustrate hobbyists, but will be very useful indeed for security personnel (especially regarding evidence gathering).
On the negative side, the biggest problem with this camera is that the dock (essential for the successful use of many of the features we’ve praised above) is sold separately. This adds considerably to the overall expense. The camera will work without the dock, but users will probably want to buy one eventually.
Another issue is that the camera only features 64GB of internal memory (there is no SD card slot). Whilst it is true that any/all footage taken can be streamed directly to a computer via WiFi, this relatively small memory capacity means that venues with unreliable WiFi connections may find that their cameras fill up quickly with footage that cannot be manually deleted. This could cause problems for the less ‘tech savvy’ employers/venues.
The lack of a playback screen may irk some users as well.
Resilient outer casing tested has gone through a series of 29 tests. These put the phone up against shock, vibration, heat, cold, gunfire shock, humidity, and more
5 Buttons are programmable, allowing for better adaptability
Footage cant be watched on the camera, can only be viewed once docked in single dock or 14-Port Dock
A sleek, smart casing houses this bodycam, which can capture footage at 4800W pixels (the same as an iPhone 14) in glorious 1920p HD. Weighing less than a kilogram, the CAMMHD bodycam is also lightweight enough to wear for extended periods without causing discomfort.
The camera films at a 130° angle, which is a nice intermediary between perhaps not wide enough (120°) and possibly too wide (140°). It’s a great angle to capture both details of an event and the context that surrounds it.
The camera’s ‘night vision’ mode is good and, despite being a little grainy, can capture details from up to 15 metres away, even in total darkness.
Playback occurs in real-time, which is useful because it allows users to see what they are filming as it is being filmed.
The internal battery can last for up to 10 hours, which should last for most, if not the entirety of a shift.
The casing has an IP rating of 67, which will see it withstand a battering from dirt, dust, sand, and storms. It can even be temporarily submerged in water and still work.
The camera also comes with 2 clips, which can be rotated 360°.
The camera has a ‘motion detection’ function, which is unusual for a bodycam. This might not be super-useful when the camera is being worn, but it does mean that the camera can double as a makeshift security camera if needed, which could be quite useful in certain circumstances.
Also of use is the automatic memory overwrite feature. This means that, if the camera’s internal memory becomes full, the device will automatically overwrite old footage and replace it with new footage. This can be a problem in cases wherein old footage needs to be retained as evidence, but it can also be very useful, as it means that useless footage won’t need to be uploaded first before being deleted.
The camera only has 64GB of internal memory but supports SD cards up to 128GB.
One more thing we liked about this camera is the fact that it can be easily operated with one hand. There is no need to unclip or readjust the camera to operate it, as the user can simply reach down and activate it with a single button press.
This is excellent for instances where the camera needs to be quickly activated and used, or where one hand is busy doing something else (e.g., restraining an unruly patron).
In summary, this camera captures excellent high-definition footage, is easy-to-use and reliable, and does everything an operative could ask for (and then some) to a mostly high standard.
EDITORS CHOICE – Motorola VB400
Our 1st choice is the Motorola VB400 the Motorola VB400 is a robust body camera that stands out for its exceptional suitability. Equipped with a full HD camera, it delivers quality footage, albeit with a limited filming angle of 120° and a maximum setting of 1080p. Despite this, the camera’s durability and comprehensive range of features and functions make it an outstanding choice for security professionals. It may not capture the widest angles or provide the highest resolution compared to other models, but its resilience and functionality make it an excellent tool.
2nd Best Choice – Rexing P1
Our 2nd best choice is the Rexing P1 is a reliable, tough-built body camera that distinguishes itself with several remarkable features. It boasts external flashing lights, a robust outer case, and an aesthetically pleasing rear-screen. One notable setback is its use of the AVI format, which can be challenging to play on certain software programmes, particularly those from Microsoft. Moreover, the white light, designed to assist the camera function, lacks sufficient brightness. Despite these minor issues, the Rexing P1 body camera stands as a solid choice for those seeking a robust and visually striking device.
3rd Best Choice – Boblov M5
Our 3rd choice is the Boblov M5, which is a commendable body camera well-suited for use by security, police, or emergency service professionals. The device offers good image and sound quality, and boasts respectable memory and battery life. The casing is robust, lending to the device’s durability, and all these features combined give the device a professional, ready-for-action look. Among its drawbacks, however, are the lack of WiFi compatibility and external memory options. The device also has a large, rigid clip that can obstruct the user’s view of the footage. Despite these minor hiccups, the Boblov M5 remains a strong choice and could prove to be a valuable addition to security teams worldwide.