About Block Cop
Disguised as a standard USB charging block, Block Cop’s wide angle HD camera starts recording as soon as you plug it in, without the need for setup, software installation, the use of micro SD cards, or even batteries.
And once it’s inserted into an outlet, the website indicates its 32GB hard drive will record all day. Then, to view your video and listen to its audio in “stunning clarity,” you just have to connect the USB cord to your computer.
Speaking of which, Block Cop works as a USB phone charger, even while it’s recording.
These days, just about everyone has a smartphone charging block (or twelve) laying around the house. Given this, implementing a microphone and a wide angle HD camera into one of these devices seems like a stroke of genius, since they’re extraordinarily common and completely unassuming.
But you have a lot of questions when it comes to Block Cop: Will it provide high-quality audio and video? Will you find it useful in the real world? Are there other options that might deliver similar—or even better—values? Does it really represent the ultimate spy technology, as claimed in the commercial?
In our experience, the topic of price is always a good place to start.
How Much Does Block Cop Cost?
One Block Cop device is priced at $39.99, plus free S&H. Like many ASOTV products, you’ll be able to double the offer during checkout for an additional $19.99 fee.
Block Cop refunds are available within 30 days of your purchase, less shipping charges, which can be requested by calling Telebrands customer support at 855-668-1655.
How does this price compare?
Block Cop vs. Other Smartphone Charger Security Cameras
Before reading any further, try this quick experiment: Enter variations of the phrase “wall phone charger block camera” into you favorite search engine. What do you find?
When we performed this test through Google Shopping, we encountered hundreds of results that were meaningfully similar to Block Cop, priced anywhere from less than $20 to $100 or more. So, at $40, the device’s price point was toward the lower end of the pack, although many were cosmetically identical.
While we didn’t test any of these devices firsthand, perhaps the biggest difference we noticed when comparing the specs on their sites is that the lower-priced versions were typically standalone models (you couldn’t view the recordings without attaching a USB cable from the camera to your computer).
On the other hand, higher-priced versions were frequently outfitted with Wi-Fi capability.
In layman’s terms, this means that Wi-Fi models provide the potential to remotely view live video, along with past recordings, and even the ability to control the camera in some instances, via a combination of smartphone apps and cloud recording capabilities.
And while separate SD cards can constitute one extra accessory to keep track of, many models with this feature provide the ability to stop and save existing video if the power goes out, which doesn’t appear to be something Block Cop is equipped with.
Additional options we encountered on many of the higher priced competitors included motion detection (in some instances, up to 75 feet away), 1080p recording capabilities, and up to 180-degree camera viewing angles.
Unanswered Questions About Block Cop’s Specifications
Based on these specifications from competitors, we reached out to three different Block Cop customer service representatives looking for more details. Here’s what we asked:
- What is the video quality (HD is defined as either 720p or 1080p resolution)? Is its resolution adjustable?
- Consequently, how long will it take to use up its internal 32GB storage capacity?
- What happens once storage space runs out? Will Block Cop stop recording, or begin looping over previous material? If looping, what happens if something occurred in the morning, and you have to wait until you get home to review the footage? Will it be gone by then?
- What’s the lens’ field of vision, and does this meet the definition of ‘wide angle’?
- Will Block Cop stop and save video if the power goes out?
- Is it compatible with all operating systems?
- Is the device weather proof? As advertised in the product's commercial, could you really place it outside your front door to keep track of package thieves?
Unfortunately, none of the representatives we spoke with were able to provide any additional insight into these questions.
What Do We Know About Block Cop’s Manufacturer?
On the other hand, we know a ton of information about Telebrands, the company behind Block Cop, who has been manufacturing ASOTV products for more than three decades. Popular recent examples (chosen at random from their Products site page) include Red Copper Pan, Ped Egg, and Atomic Beam USA.
From a company perspective, Telebrands held a B- rating with the Better Business Bureau as of 8/22/17, based on 25 customer reviews (24 of which were negative) and more than 400 closed complaints. Most of the latter appeared related to lower quality than expected, high S&H charges, and less-than-stellar customer support experiences.
In February 2017, the BBB also sent a letter to Telebrands regarding the company’s advertising claims (specifically related to the demonstration in Red Copper Pan’s commercial that it could be used with metal utensils), although no response had been reported at the time of our research.
Our Bottom Line About Block Cop
According to the professionals over at Brick House Security, you should start your hidden security camera search by deciding where it will be placed. Do you need a higher vantage point, such as on a shelf or mantel, or do you require something lower to the ground, such as a block charger’s outlet?
Next, consider your video resolution requirements. Do you need something that provides a high level of contrast between lighter and darker tones? Will you be shooting in low-light situations?
What about video access and storage capacity? As mentioned earlier, is it acceptable for the camera to run all day and loop (and record over previous material) when necessary, or do you need a dedicated solution for storing all recordings? Would you like to access the footage at any time, or only when you return home and attach the charging block to your computer via a USB cable?
From a power perspective, is it important for your smartphone charger camera to continue running, even if the power goes out (i.e., does it need an internal power source)?
Taking all of these recommendations into questions, Block Cop seemed to provide similar storage capabilities as many other SD card-based charger cameras, without the need for an actual card. Its price was highly competitive and the company offered a 30-day refund policy, which should be more than enough time to decide if it’s right for you (although you’ll have to pay return S&H).
With these positives in mind, if it’s important for you to remotely view live footage or previously recorded video (such as via an app), or to boost your storage capabilities at a whim via a cloud server or an upgraded micro SD card, Block Cop might not be at the top of your list.
4 out 4 people found this review helpful
No Block Cop!
It's been eight weeks I haven't seen it, and the phone has been disconnected! What a ripoff. Is there any way to sue the company? Can we get our money back, does anyone know?
Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend