Is This Really the World’s Smallest Camera?

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I’d say no, not really the smallest, not if we’re counting pinhole cameras and all the geeky spy-angled gadgets that’ve been circulating for years. But judging based on general, non-specialty use, I suppose the answer’s “close enough.”

We’re talking about what looks like a 1-inch novelty item you might slip on your keychain like a ceramic doodad designed to resemble the real thing. But in this case, the 2.0 megapixel camera from Hammacher Schlemmer (I keep wanting to pronounce that “Hammer Slammer”) with a tiny keychain loop is very much the real thing: It actually works.

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“This is the world’s smallest digital camera,” claims HS on the camera’s product page, noting that its measurements are “just over one inch in all dimensions” and that it weights “only half an ounce.”

“Reminiscent of devices employed by Cold War-era operatives for intelligence gathering, the camera appears to require Lilliputian agility, yet its one-button operation provides easy picture taking.”

What do you get for $99.95? Auto-focus, a 2 MP image sensor that snaps JPG images at 1600 x 1200 pixel resolution or grabs AVI video (yes, video) at 30 frames per second and 640 x 480 pixels. Where does it store all that data? On a microSD card of course—a 2 GB card’s included, but the camera supports up to 32 GB cards.

Battery life? Sounds like 30 minutes, though it takes a full hour to charge (via USB).

Caveats: It’s awfully small, meaning it’d be easy to lose (or heck, swallow), and okay, taking pictures with something you can barely get a single finger on? Seriously? It’s also pretty low-fi as cameras go—you wouldn’t want to use it for serious or even kind-of-serious photography. The battery life’s pretty awful, no surprise, and then there’s the price: $100 for what’s essentially a thimble-sized piece of novelty tech.

What do you think, Techland readers? Would you spring for one? Actually use it for more than impressing your less novelty-inclined co-workers or low-tech relatives at holiday gatherings?

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Matt Peckham is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @mattpeckham or on Facebook. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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