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How well does a $40 camera work as a body cam and dash cam?

HOUSTON – From car accidents to burglaries to more serious crimes, surveillance video can be your best eyewitness.

You don't have to spend thousands to get a camera that records good quality video.
Consumer expert Amy Davis is testing the Cop Cam that she purchased at Bed, Bath and Beyond for $39.99. 

The Cop Cam is a small cube that is less than one square inch. It comes with a USB charging cable, an 8 gigabyte mini memory card and a couple of mounts that let you use the camera in different ways. 

Davis first attached it to her new puppy's collar to capture her dog's view of their morning walk; but the Cop Cam fell off the collar after a few seconds. 

Next, she tried the device as a body cam on her 7-year-old son. Since there is no screen on the camera, you can't see your angle or what you've captured until you remove the SD card and play it on a computer. 

The video was very shaky, so much so that it was hard to watch. 

To try the Cop Cam in a stationary position, Davis planted it on Channel 2 investigative reporter Mario Diaz's desk. The good news is the veteran investigative reporter never noticed the little camera on his desk.  The bad news: The shot only captured his hands and part of his keyboard from 2 feet away. The camera angle is not very wide at all. 

To turn the camera on, the instructions say you just hold down the "Press Record" button at the top of the camera for 4 seconds. Unfortunately, the camera did not always record when Davis did that. She tried to use the Cop Cam as a dash cam three times, but each time the camera failed to record. 

Lastly, Davis used the camera in her child's bedroom at night to see how well the night vision works.  With a lamp on, you can see some objects in the room, but when Davis switches the lamp off, the video goes almost pitch black, without the gray and white images night vision usually reveals. 
 
The Cop Cam failed in every scenario we set up. It's unreliable, and the camera needs a stabilizer so moving video is not so jarring.