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|Flylinktech USB Borescope||1280 x 720 HD|
|BeneStellar USB Endoscope||640 x 480 HD resolution|
|Potensic HD Endoscope||1600 x 1200|
|LESHP 2 in 1 USB Endoscope||1280 x 720 HD|
|Crenova iScope 2||1600 x 1200|
The USB port is a thing of wonder! No, really, it is, and you probably don’t realise it. In fact, anyone with a home computer or laptop most likely uses only a small percentage of its potential, in terms of computing power and otherwise. What on earth are we on about? OK, let’s start again: we’re talking about the little slot – there’s probably a few of them on your laptop or PC – that you plug a cable into when you want to download pictures or data from your smartphone onto your computer. Are you with us now? That’s right, the ones on the side, that you might also use for charging your phone, that’s the USB port!
Don’t miss: Top USB soldering irons
So, why are we so obsessed with USB ports? Because, in addition to the above, they can be used to power certain electrical devices. A USB port provides a power output of around 5-volts, so can only provide power for devices using such a level of electrical power. There are many devices on the market that are designed for USB power, and they are generally specially developed for such purpose. They include lights for highlighting your keyboard, microscopes – great as a teaching aid – plus soldering irons, and endoscopes.
Endoscopes: the word may inspire fear in anyone who has enjoyed a colonoscopy, but the best USB endoscopes we are looking at are for another use. Let’s talk about what they are, and how they work.
Table of Contents
- Best USB Endoscope Reviews – Our Top 10 Choices
- How It Works
- Important Features to Consider
- Let’s Wrap It Up!
Best USB Endoscope Reviews – Our Top 10 Choices
One requirement of a USB endoscope is that it should be waterproof. This is because they are often used to look around drains, in the home and otherwise, for problems, leaks or blockages. This model, from Flylinktech – who offer a wide variety of USB items – fits the standard with these things, and a 5-metre cable which is guaranteed waterproof and dustproof for effective operation in both home and commercial situations.
The camera is an HD resolution device, and features six LED lights on the head, the brightness of which can be adjusted by the user. The camera itself is jut 10mm diameter, so is small enough to go into all those awkward cracks and gaps that you need to inspect. One feature we like about this one is there are no drivers to search for and install; you simply plug it into the USB port, and you’re ready to go, with clear pictures on your laptop screen. At £15, it’s a worthy introduction to our top 10, but beware it does not support Mac operating systems.
This is a very neat design of endoscope, intended for home or commercial use, and comes with the usual 5-metre cable for flexibility and a wide variety of usage. The camera is not an impressive as the one reviewed above – it’s only 1.3megapixels, and a lower intensity, but at just 7mm diameter, it really is very, very small and perfect for those awkward spots such as the internals of an engine or other device. It comes with adjustable lighting by way of 6 x LED lights, so you can use it in dark spaces, too.
Now, where this one wins is in its versatility: it comes not only with a USB connector, but also with a Micro USB adapter. This means it can be used with your smartphone, and is compatible with Android devices as well as your Windows PC and laptop. You can use it on android and Windows tablets, too. Be aware that, as with the above, it is not iPhone compatible, so it won’t work with your Mac. It’s about ten quid, so despite it being inferior in clarity to the above, is worth a second look.
This is a nice design, even if it follows the conventions of USB endoscopes. It has the usual 5-metre cable for added versatility, and is very easy to use. You simply plug in and play, and you’re ready to go. The 8,5mm camera head is not as small as the above, but still small enough to be very versatile, and it uses a set of 6 x blue LED lights that are fully adjustable, so you can light it in awkward spots. It’s a good model all-round, with some excellent attributes.
One thing we like is that the cable is semi-rigid, so you can keep it in a particular shape if you wish, and it offers HD resolution up to 1600 x 1200 on a 2MP camera, so is very capable indeed. We also like the fact it is compatible with a wide variety of operating systems: you can use it with Windows up to Windows 10, it is Android compatible on a variety of devices, and it is also Mac and iPhone friendly, so is more versatile than either of the above. All said and done, this is a very neat endoscope, but be aware it is more expensive than those above at around £24.
When reviewing items that follow a standard format it often becomes difficult to find something different to say about them. For example, this one has the usual 2MP camera with HD resolution, so it is perfectly capable of delivering very clear still images or video to your screen. It is easy to use and has a small 8mm diameter camera head, so can easily get into those awkward spots. It also has 6 x LED blue lights for added illumination, so you can use it in engines and other dark places.
So far, nothing different, but wait, what’s this? It has a 10-metre cable, that’s twice the length of any of those above! 10m is long enough for any possible application, and makes this one ideal for commercial use exploring drains. As with all of these it is waterproof, so you get added protection, and it can be used with Windows and Android operating systems, but is not compatible with Mac and iPhone. It’s worth a second look at a sensible price of less than £15, too.
The Crenova brand is well-known for a range of USB devices, and this endoscope is typically high quality. It comes with a 4-metre cable, but it’s one with a clever difference. Unlike most cables which are round in shape, this one is flat. The benefit of this is that it can not only get into more awkward spaces, but as it is shorter than usual, it claims to deliver a better signal than the standard versions. You get a 2MP camera with an 8.5mm camera head, and the usual 6 x LED lights for added brightness, and it is a very capable design indeed.
What else can we say about this one? Well, resolution extends to 1600×1200 in HD, which is very good for returning quality images in both still and video format, and it is easy to use once you have installed the usual drivers, which are handily supplied on CD with the rest of the kit. Compatibility is not the best, for while it is able to be used on Android devices, such as your table and smartphone, it will only run on up to Windows 8, and is not able to run on Mac or iPhone (or Blackberry if you happen to be the only person who still has one). It’s decent value, though, as less than £20.
This is a very neat model with an extremely small, 7mm camera head, so should be able to get into all the tightest spaces. It’s great for using in the home to examine leaking pipes, and excellent for automotive use as it is so compact. Shekar is a brand with a wide range of USB and other items, so this is a quality model from the off. As is usual, this is a waterproof camera, so can be used in liquids, and it has 6 x LED lights for illumination, which are adjustable so you can choose your own light level.
This one is easy to use – you simply download the included drivers and you’re ready to go – and it can be used on Windows from Vista to !0, as well as a wide variety of Android smartphones and tablets. It is not, however, compatible with Apple operating systems. While this is a very small device, it has a couple of points that let it down: the camera is a woeful 0.3MP device, which really is far below those above, and the cable is only 3.5metres. Also, at £20, it is more expensive than some better devices.
Pros: small camera, Android compatible
Cons: only 0,3MP, short cable, not Apple compatible
This is a very impressive device, and one with some highly attractive features. For a start, the camera is a truly tiny 5.5mm in diameter – that is the smallest so far, and will allow you to get into some very, very small and awkward spaces. It’s a 2MP camera, too, so is as good as any reviewed so far in terms of performance, and offers resolution up to 1280×720. That’s not as high as some, but is perfectly good for most uses it is likely to be put to. The cable is a 5-metre length, too, so you have plenty in terms of versatility.
The IDEAPRO brand is a proven one, so quality is not an issue, and they offer a two year warranty on this endoscope. Are there any downsides to this very neat and tidy model? Well, yes, a couple. To begin with, it is compatible with Windows from XP up to Windows 7, but no further, and it can also be used on some Android products, but you need to check before you buy that yours is compatible. It is not for use on iPhone or Apple Mac operating systems. If it appeals to you, it’s available for £16.99.
We’ve already reviewed one endoscope from the well-known Potensic brand, and we’ve included this one as it is a brand worth considering. This one is typical of the breed: it has the usual 5-metre cable, which is a soft cable so it can be manipulated easily. The camera is a 2MP version with high resolution up to 1600×1200, which will be more than enough for any application, whether commercial or home. Whether you are capturing a still image or a moving one, you will find the image on your screen to be clear and bright.
The camera itself is an 8.5mm version, so not the smallest but still small enough to get into awkward spaces, and it is lit by the usual 6 x LED blue lights, which are controllable so you can choose your own brightness level. It’s a very good device all-round, and supports Windows operating systems up to Windows 10, plus Android systems of and beyond 4.4, so you can use it on your smartphone or tablet, but check beforehand if your device is compatible. As with many of these, it does not support iPhone or Mac OS. At around £24, it is a little more expensive than many, but still a worthy contender.
This USB endoscope from Pancellent offers a number of interesting features at a sensible price. This one comes with a 3.5m length flexible cable so has more than ample reach, and also features six selectable LED’s as a light source, so you can vary the brightness as you want. It has a 5.5mm tip for the camera, and is more than suitable for investigating behind walls and doors and exploring those cavities that you can’t usually get at. It’s also useful for mechanics, who use them to look at parts of engines that are hard to access.
This model is suitable for Android phones only; for many people – those with iPhones especially – this will be a negative, but if you have a compatible phone then you have a suitably effective endoscope camera. It is also waterproof to IP67 standards which means it will withstand a soak in up to 1metre of water with no ill effect. There’s a simple button on the cable to either snap pictures or record, and it comes with both MicroUSB and USB connectivity.
We close our list of ten with a USB endoscope that is interesting more for its limitations than anything else. Why do we say that? Well, to start with, it’s strictly a Micro USB model. This is because it is a dedicated Android device, and can’t be used on Windows or Apple operating systems. In fact, it’s designed especially for Samsung mobile phones, but may also be compatible with other Android devices. The second limitation is a strange one for an endoscope: it has a cable that is only one metre in length. As far as we are concerned, this makes it next to useless for most applications.
Any good points? Yes, it has a high-resolution, 2-megapixel camera; it is only 7mm in diameter, and has the usual fully-adjustable lights on the camera head; it is fully waterproof too. The only use we can think of is possibly for inspecting the interior or hard to reach parts of a car engine. It is only ten quid, however, so might be attractive to the home mechanic.
Pros: small camera, price
Cons: Android only, short cable
There you have it; ten USB endoscopes, each with its own merits, and some with many fine features. Before we go on to sum up, let us remind you of the important features to look for.
How It Works
Why would you want a USB endoscope? To carry out your own intimate medical examination, of course! No, we’re joking, and it should be stressed the models featured here are most certainly NOT intended for medical use! In fact, there are many uses for these handy little devices, so let us explain.
An endoscope is, to all intents and purposes, a tiny camera, mounted on a flexible, long cable. It is not only powered by your USB port, but it uses it to send a picture of what it is looking at to the screen. They are widely used commercially for inspection purposes; think of the likes of companies that search for blockages or faults in drains, or mechanics who need to examine the inside of an engine block. These are just a couple of uses, and you may have a specific intention of your own.
There are many models on the market and, if we’re honest, each does pretty much the same thing, but some are – of course – more attractive to the buyer than others. So, whether you are looking for an endoscope for commercial use, for use in your garage, or simply to have around the home in case you need one, let’s have a look at the top 10 USB endoscopes on the market right now.
Important Features to Consider
When you are buying an endoscope, you most likely have a purpose in mind. You are likely going to use it for inspection, on a commercial level, or you are using it at home, or in the garage. Here are the important features you need to consider:
Image Quality – most of these cameras are 2-megapixel devices, and we reckon that to be the minimum you require in one of these. Check the specifications before you buy.
Cable Length – you need a sensible length of flexible cable to allow you to get the best out of your endoscope, so look for one of the 5-metre long models, and no less.
Operating System – if you are going to use your endoscope with a computer, you need to ensure you buy one that matches your available system. If you want to use it with a phone or tablet, you probably need one compatible with Android. Be aware that most of these are not iPhone or Apple Mac friendly.
Those are the three main features of an endoscope that you need to look for, and we have omitted price because the range featured here covers from £10 to not much more than £20, so there’s nothing in it! So, all that remains now is to wrap it up!
Let’s Wrap It Up!
So, what do you think of our choice of the best USB endoscopes? We think they are great little items, and for DIY or mechanics, they offer great versatility. You can dismiss number ten, as it really does fall short thanks to the cable length, and we can also strike numbers 2 and 6 off the list, as they have cameras that are not as good as the others. We recommend you get one with 2MP, and at least a 5-metre cable, and all the remaining models are within these parameters.
The choice is yours, then, so whatever you need an endoscope for, we hope you’ve found one on our list that suits your needs. Off you go and look for things in hidden places, and have fun!