So I play with bees – when I can find them
In the nature of my work doing live bee nest removals (Honeybees and Bumblebees) from building roofs, walls and other difficult to get to places, I need to see where the little boogers are hiding. I don’t have super-vision to see through walls but I thought that if this gadget called an endoscope works, I might have the next best thing.
So, once again, turning to my Amazon Prime hookup, I looked over a great many of the reviews of endoscope cameras there are, and there are a LOT. Wow, more than I thought there would be.
So, what did I end up with? I decided to really go out on a limb and get an endoscope that not only hooks up to my Samsung S6 smartphone running Android version 7 (Nougat, for those of you who are into that kind of thing. That’s right, Cliff Wade, I’m looking at you), but hopefully, my ever fickle Amazon Fire HD 8 tablet, a well.
What do I need to make this work for me?
I have to hunt bees in some of the weirdest places. They like to get into up high and out-of-the-way spots to keep dry and avoid most predators. In a building, that usually spells trouble. Like, behind a second-floor wall or under a steep roof kind of trouble. I need a tool that I can extend away from with a camera on its end. Some light would be helpful, too. And oh yeah, it can’t be all floppy. It has to stay firm and not droop as I extend it out further. It would help if it didn’t cost me an arm and a leg if possible.
Based on those pre-requisites and reading numerous reviews, I ended up ordering the Depstech WiFi 2 MP inspection camera wireless endoscope/boroscope.
It was $42.99 when I ordered it back in April 2017, and I felt I could live with it, even if it turned out only somewhat useful.
What’s under the hood, er, plastic casing?
Well, as you can tell from above, it has LED lights built into and around the camera end and they are variable, controlled by a dimmer-type switch on the battery box at the opposite end. The lights get VERY bright, much to the bees dismay and agitation (bees don’t look kindly on bright, white light getting into the hive proper). Since I’m using it to locate living creatures, I try to keep it just bright enough to navigate but not so bright as to overly distress them if it can be helped. That makes a dimmer function a nice feature.
It also has a built-in WiFi transmitter of some sort (I don’t pretend to have delved into it that much) that allows the Smartphone or other viewing devices to be able to see the camera image over a wireless connection. I thought this would be a nice feature because as I’ve said elsewhere, I DETEST wires. I am always the bull in a china shop where wires are concerned. Wireless connectivity means less actual hang-ups and snags. LOVE that idea.
It has a rechargeable battery in it as well that is charged using the same type of micro USB wire you use for a smartphone. Rechargeable is good, depending on the battery life.
The wire itself, now, this was important to me. I need to look straight up into a space above my head a lot of times. Other times, I need to maneuver it in sideways along a floor or something. This wire is about five meters long or about seventeen-ish feet. That’s probably more than I need but I’d rather have more than I need than not enough. The interesting aspect is that the wire s referred to as “semi-rigid” because it has a binding that keeps it relatively rigid when straightened out.
Getting to the important stuff
I received it in the customary two-day delivery (Thank you very much, Amazon Prime membership) and opened it up right away. Now if you read any of my other stuff, you’ll know that patience is not really my thang. I want to play with the toy NOW. Sadly, this one did not come pre-charged like many devices sometimes do. Nope, I had to charge it for a whole twenty hours. That’s, like, a whole frickin DAY! What are they trying to do to me here?!
OK, It’s FINALLY fully charged for the first time and I once again dig out the minuscule, I mean really small guidebook.
OK, what is it with directions and guidebooks being printed so small they could practically fit on the head of a pin anymore? They do realize that some of us actually do actually read these things and not just dive right in only to call tech support to figure out how to really use it right?
Patience is a virtue, or so I’m told
Anyway, I turn on the switch on the endoscope power box and set my Samsung phone to look for a new WiFi connection. Hey, check that out, there it is. That’s pretty funky. I open the app I had to download from the Google Play Store for free (at least it was free, right?) and lo and behold! I see….stuff. Kinda blurry stuff. What?! Oh, I get it, pull the camera further away from your face than two inches. I did say I’m not always smarter than the average bear, right?
YAY ME! With a bit of distance, at least four inches away from the subject, the image becomes much clearer. I mean, nothing you want to write home to mom and weird Uncle Irving about but hey, you see stuff that is discernible. I can live with that.
Out and about, getting work done with it
So, how does this high-tech WFi endoscope camera work out in the field? Let me show you an example. I stuck the camera into a bee tree nest inside the tree. Forgive the jerky movement, I was still getting the feel of handling it at the time. The video was taken in connection with my Samsung S6. It is not set for highest quality but for best playback/viewing.
Next, I’ll show you a still image taken with the same camera/phone setup:
This photo was taken in the “high-res” setting.
Where the rubber meets the road
You’ve seen some of its image capabilities of my little Wireless endoscope, but how does it work overall? Good question.
The battery doesn’t last as long as I’d really like it to in an endoscope. It will hold out for maybe thirty minutes at most in between charges using video, to be honest. The higher the lights are turned up, the faster the battery wears down. Luckily, because it does use the typical charger cord as most smartphone charger in the work van in between job sites to keep it ready for use through the day.
Overall it’s very usable for what I’m doing. I mean, as long as I can see what I’m coming to and recognize it, I’m good. This camera’s abilities exceed that quite a bit. I’m pretty happy with the quality of this type of camera.
The little WiFi transmitter is awful handy. Being a wireless camera, I find it’s extendability to be much greater than my previous, wired, endoscope. Greater range of movement and portability makes it great to have on hand. having said that, I notice that if I’m indoors or around a lot of metal, the signal gets a bit “skippy”.
Overall, It’s light to carry, easy to make small and totable in a pouch or work bag and after having been dropped say two or ten times already, ahem…, it’s actually surprisingly sturdy. The 5-meter wire, on the other hand, can make holding it high or extended out for any long distance, say over three feet, it will still start to sway or sag a bit. Semi-rigid is NOT the same thing as entirely rigid. Having said that, in most cases, the wire follows a beam, or some other structural support so is guided and supported mostly in it’s path to those ornery bees. I find it acceptable.
The free app controller from the Google Play App Store installs and works fine on my Samsung S6 as I expected it would. Heck, I was even able to side-load the app onto my Amazon Fire HD8 tablet and have it work on that device as well. It is pretty straightforward and gets you functional without too much advanced knowledge.
Summary and final thoughts
Here are some big questions when it comes to reviewing an item, especially like this.
Would I buy it again? Yes, yes I would. I wouldn’t even think twice about it except maybe to look for an updated version.
Would I recommend someone else to buy it? Overall I think most people would find this a useful and generally productive working cam. The exception to this? photographers and videographers. No, this isn’t for you. Everyone from plumbers to electricians and those of us wackos way out on the fringe, I say sure, go for it.
Where to buy the Depstech Wireless Endoscope 2.0 megapixel snake camera
You can pick this one up on Amazon for $39.99. It’s Prime eligible, too, so you’ll get free two-day shipping!