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Published on May 2nd, 2012 | by Greg


Brinno’s PeepHole Viewer: See Clearly Now

If you live in an apart­ment, chances are your door has one of those old-school glass peep­holes. You’ve used them at ho­tels, and they are pret­ty sim­ple. They pro­vide you with a way to see who is knock­ing or ring­ing the door­bell, but have a few down­sides. First, when you do so, the per­son on the oth­er side can tell that you’re home. And they are of­ten at the wrong height for chil­dren, or el­der­ly, or re­al­ly tall peo­ple. Plus, it can be hard to see through them, and if you are vi­sion-im­paired, a reg­u­lar peep­hole can be use­less in iden­ti­fy­ing who is out­side.

The Brin­no Peep­Hole View­er at­tempts to fix these flaws with tech­nol­o­gy, and suc­ceeds to a de­cent de­gree. It isn’t per­fect- it in­tro­duces some new flaws, as you might ex­pect- but it works pret­ty well. As a gad­get, it al­so gets at­ten­tion, and is sim­ple enough to use that any­one can do so. It won’t re­al­ly fix one of the ma­jor is­sues- those too tall or short to reach the peep­hole won’t be much bet­ter off- but it does help rem­e­dy the oth­er flaws. We’ve checked out an­oth­er piece of their dig­i­tal imag­ing gad­getry be­fore- the Gar­den Watch Cam- and this seems a nat­u­ral ex­ten­sion.

We in­stalled it in min­utes, in an apart­ment we bor­rowed for the tests (our of­fices don’t have a peep­hole). Test­ing it with­out in­stalling it first re­sults in poor re­sults, as warned- it’s meant for the op­tics of a peep­hole. They of­fer two mod­els, an ad­vanced one with knock and mo­tion de­tec­tion, as well as a ba­sic no-frills mod­el that re­quires you to push a but­ton. Bat­ter­ies are re­quired, but the two AAs are help­ful­ly in­clud­ed. Some quick checks are nec­es­sary to make sure that you can use this one- your door should be be­tween 1-3/8″ to 2-1/4″ thick (most are).

We ad­mit that we weren’t im­pressed at first- the im­age qual­i­ty is pret­ty poor, thanks to the fact that it’s on­ly a 1.3 MP cam­era do­ing the imag­ing, and the video isn’t ex­act­ly high res­o­lu­tion or su­per-clear. The screen it­self is fine, and you can press the but­ton a sec­ond time for a zoomed in view (that was not re­al­ly use­ful in most cas­es, but kind of fun­ny). The sys­tem com­pen­sates and cor­rects for the fish­eye dis­tor­tion that is typ­i­cal in peep­holes, but this seemed to re­duce the field of view, so kids and folks to the sides are less vis­i­ble than be­fore. Al­so, we found the im­ages pret­ty dark and dim, which was un­for­tu­nate. The Peep­Hole view­er is on­ly avail­able in one style right now, black and met­al, and looks sleek but a lit­tle odd on some doors. All in all, for those who are sat­is­fied with their peep­hole, this is nice but nec­es­sary- but if you’ve been frus­trat­ed for any rea­son, def­i­nite­ly give this unit a try. Avail­able for un­der $100, on­line.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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