Transcend DrivePro Body 20 Wireless Body Camera Review
If you work in law enforcement, security, or in media, or if you simply want to protect yourself with video footage as proof-of-encounter, you should consider the Transcend DrivePro Body 20. It’s easy to use, its videos are easy to view on an Android or iPhone via a free app, and backing up the videos on a PC is easy through a downloadable free software. You can record for up to 3.5 hours on Full HD (up to 30fps) with audio. It attaches easily to your coat or jacket (via two holders provided), allows remote Wi-Fi live-streaming via smartphone, and it can even take pictures while recording video. Its wide angle field of view is large enough so that even when clipped low on your belt, it manages to capture a lot of what transpires in front of you. Sample recorded video below.
Product Features Quick Look
- 1920 x 1080 Resolution at 30 fps
- Video Format: H.264 (MOV: up to 1920×1080 30fps)
- f/2.8 Aperture Lens, 160° Field of View
- Built-In Microphone
- Built-In 32GB Internal Memory (non-expandable)
- Can take photos while recording video
- Wi-Fi Connectivity
- Micro USB Rechargeable LiPo Battery
- Two Holders/Mounts Included: One Velcro, One Rotatable Clip
- 1530mAh Li-Polymer rechargeable battery provides up to 3.5 hours of use
- IPX4-Rated for Outdoor Use
- 88 g
The Surely Good
Easy to use. Long press on the center button to start or stop recording. The smaller button under it can be pressed to take images during recording. Continuous recording up to 3.5 hours.
Pairing with a smartphone to view the recorded footage or live stream is easy. Download the DrivePro app for iOS or Android, while the DrivePro Body 20 is on (indicator light blinking red), long press on the center button until the indicator light turns blue (at which point the DrivePro will appear on your smartphone’s detected WiFi networks), connect your smartphone to the DrivePro Body Camera. You can use the app to view recorded snapshots and videos, scrub through footage, or live-stream (record while you watch the video on your smartphone). The only way you can immediately view the videos is through your phone via the DrivePro smartphone app – because pairing is quick, showing someone the recorded videos is convenient.
Recorded videos are more than good enough for review, and the audio is shockingly clear (you can make out voices clearly), both of which are vital in providing recorded evidence. See sample video below.
Black color and round-edged design make the DrivePro body camera relatively discreet. It doesn’t call much attention to itself when you’re wearing dark colors.
IPX4-rated for water and shock-resistance to meet outdoor and sometimes violent scenarios law enforcement, security, and search and rescue needs.
Two types of holders/mounts come with – a rotatable clip and a velcro mount. The clip is the all-around holder as it attaches easily to most upper garments: lapels and breast pockets. The velcro mount is for uniforms of law enforcement and security.
Remote live-streaming allows a user to see live video as the DrivePro Body 20 records it. Usage scenarios include holding the DrivePro over a crowd or a wall to see further, to scout corners during armed room-to-room clearing (which reduces danger to user), and to see under a car or rubble for items.
Quick snapshot button allows the user for take pictures of scenes or items/ people of interest while recording video. Such photos can serve as “markers” for later video review, and for quick showing, since you don’t have to scrub through video for the shot in question.
160-degree wide-angle field of view captures a lot of what happens in front of you, even when the DrivePro Body 20 is placed on your belt. This wide FOV is vital, as it provides perspective and context and captures items that may be missed in later footage review had the camera been able to capture only a smaller FOV.
The DrivePro Body 20 can serve as added footage capture for dashcam video cameras, in case of encounters on the road involve altercations or accidents that are better explained with footage taken from a different angle.
You can charge it with any Android charger, or when you’re on the road, with a power bank.
Sample Videos in Full HD with Sound
Above: Here’s a sample footage using the Transcend DrivePro Body 20 body-worn surveillance camera. Midway through the video, I use my smartphone to pair with the DrivePro Body 20 to demo live-streaming. Note how crisp the audio is.
Above: In this video, I walked around at night to show the low light capability of the DrivePro. I chanced upon a guy being questioned by police. I did not stop by to record more about that guy since my DrivePro camera has a blinking red light that would tip off the police that I was recording them.
The Maybe Bad
To manage videos (back them up, erase them, upload to a server or to social media, update firmware, adjust video settings), you need both (1) the DrivePro Body Toolbox (the software to manage the recorded videos and snapshots and adjust camera settings) and (2) Transcend Docking Station for BodyPro Series. The good thing about this is that this adds security: since the recorded video cannot be immediately transferred to an external device (such as a smartphone or USB flash drive), it cannot be tampered with (evidence integrity maintained) or released without approval of management (for law enforcement and security firms data privacy concerns). This set up also plays into how Transcend packages the DrivePro Body 20, as a worth-it bulk purchase for firms (law enforcement, security, search and rescue) that requires the Docking Station which can charge and manage (simultaneous data upload) six DrivePro Body 20 cameras at once. Note also, that as of this writing, the DrivePro Body Toolbox is Windows PC only. But then OSX and Linux computers can always dual boot, so it’s not a problem.
Blinking-red indicator light is highly noticeable when recording – this is good if you want people to know they are being recorded. For a more discreet approach to collecting footage, you need hide that red light under black tape.
There is no Optical Image Stabilization, so you really need to attach this firmly on your coat or shirt, to lessen blurry videos.
Above: recorded video footage played on laptop. The clip was copied from DrivePro Body 20 to computer using DrivePro Body Toolbox software.
Low light recording dependent on available light, but the results are on par with most smartphones.
Above: The DrivePro Body 20 has a low learning curve and the instruction manual is straightforward and brief.
The ease of use (there are only two buttons to push), durability (it’s shock and water resistant), ease of pairing with a smartphone (for quick recorded video-viewing and live-streaming), quick attachment to clothing (clip or velcro), and good-quality wide-angle full HD videos with sound (up to 3.5 hours of use) all combine to make the Transcend DrivePro Body 20 body-worn wireless camera a good purchase, not only for law enforcement/security use, but also for civilian use.