SpyFinder Pro
Jeff Li/IBTimes
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Just search for 'hidden cameras' on Amazon and you will immediately find a market segment that you might not have given much thought about. But it's a real modern day problem; cameras can now be embedded in everything from mobile chargers, wall outlets, cloths hooks, alarm clocks and even light bulbs. What used to be reserved as tool of espionage can now be ordered online with free shipping, costing less than your family dinner.

Nobody wants a private moment seen by someone else, but even more so when confidential business information is exchanged, where a lot more can be at stake than personal privacy. This is why devices like the SpyFinder Pro exist - to spot hidden cameras, especially in vulnerable spaces like hotel rooms, locker rooms, public bath rooms, or rented conference rooms.

Discrete and portable

The SpyFinder Pro unit is less than half the size of a regular phone, making it very portable and can be easily slid into a small pocket in your suitcase or travel pack.

What I appreciate with this model is that the appearance is also very low key. If someone walks in on me searching for hidden cameras, I wouldn't want to be mistaken for a Ghostbuster, holding a giant scanner with antennas sticking out from left and right (Try searching for 'spy camera finder' on Amazon and you will find prime examples of these). The SpyFinder Pro is black, sleek and doesn't have any flashy branding on it.

Detecting hidden cameras

The SpyFinder Pro finds hidden cameras by flashing red LEDs (Bright enough to warrant some hazard warnings not to let children touch it), and through a view finder that is tinted red, you are supposed to see any camera lenses reflecting a white light back at you like a twinkling star. What's tricky is any sort of curved reflective surface will also shine a light back at you, so following the included instructions, you need to move around the room, panning left and right slowly, and actual hidden cameras will reflect back at you from different angles.

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In practice, I found the SpyFinder especially effective when detecting a camera behind a mirrored surface. With the naked eye, the mirror reflects much of the light back to you that you won't be able to spot the camera behind it. But by using the flashing LED and view finder, the hidden cam flashes back at you through the mirror even in brightly lit rooms.

Practice makes the Pro

I found that there is a learning curve to spotting hidden cameras, but after a few practice runs, I started to notice a distinct appearance in the reflection of a camera lens that's different from other reflections. There is also an optimal speed at which I panned the light that is neither too fast nor slow, which allowed the hidden camera to be found in the shortest time.

Just as placing a hidden camera and not get caught is an art, it seems locating hidden cameras is also an art - but the SpyFinder Pro is like stencils that you can trace and complete the artwork routinely quicker.

Who is the SpyFinder Pro for?

If you have a reason to worry about corporate espionage at your next meeting, or have an eerie feeling that you might be watched and your privacy is in peril, the SpyFinder Pro is a discrete, easily pocketable device that gives you that extra layer of protection.

Sam is a production engineer turned tech writer who specializes in seeking out gadgets that enhances productivity while still looking sharp. This is a contribution to an ongoing IBTimes review series on gadgets for Business Travelers.

Photo from amazon.com