review

Depstech DS450 Review USB Boroscope With Screen, Front/Side 1080p Cameras

Friday, October 09, 2020

Dropping or trying to find something down a hard to reach space can get even the calmest person in a bit of a state but fret not! With a tool called a boroscope, you can make accessing every nook and cranny more fun than looking for a needle in a haystack. Boroscopes work just like endoscopes, which have been around since as far back as the 1800s with the Bozzini Lichtleiter , which is said to be the first endoscope.
Boroscopes such as the Depstech DS450 work just like an endoscope, helping you access places that are otherwise unreachable without breaking or tearing them apart. Drain pipes, behind sofas, skirting board, engine components you name it, the Depstech DS450 boroscope can reach it.
The Depstech DS450 boroscope does have a focal distance limitation; hence it can't be used for macro work that requires getting really close to something. There is exposure control though, that prevents the integrated leds from white washing what you're looking at, allowing you to keep the leds at maximum brightness without worrying about overpowering the image.
The Depstech DS450 comes with a removable USB cable that weighs 184 grams, while the handheld device weighs 213 grams so, the total weight is 397 grams, which is light enough to hold without being to heavy to carry. Compared to other consumer devices, the weight of the Depstech DS450 boroscope fares well, falling in between the heaviest phone ever made to date the 240-gram Asus Rog Phone 2 and, the Audeze LCD-4, which is one of the heaviest headphones on the market, weighing 740 grams.
The Depstech DS450 USB boroscope comes with a 5-meter long and narrow flexible rubber tube with a round plastic probe that integrates six tiny leds in a circular array, surrounding a small camera module. The leds output a decent amount of brightness and can be dimmed down or turned off completely.
This boroscope camera module is exactly the same as a phone camera; hence the Depstech DS450 camera modules integrate a lens optic and a CMOS active-pixel image sensor. The lens optic is protected by a clear piece of plastic. Most endoscopes have one single camera but the Depstech DS450 has a second camera mounted on the side, next to the first camera, providing a 90 degree viewing angle. The side-facing camera has just one led but, it has a focal range between 2cm and 6cm (20mm-60mm), which means the shortest distance the side camera can focus is 2cm (20mm) and the longest distance it can focus on is 6cm (60mm). 
The front-facing camera has a focal range between 3cm and 10cm (30mm-100mm) so, it can focus on a longer distance but not as close as the side camera. Both the front and side cameras have a native 1080p 2 megapixel (mp) resolution, which means the image does not upscale from 720p. The cameras have a fixed focus; hence there is no auto-focus so, you have to manually adjust distance to get a clear, in-focus image/footage. Having just 2mp resolution, the Depstech DS450 produces a smaller image with less detail than, say, a 16mp camera. A lot of security/CCTV cameras use a 2mp resolution, which is good enough for monitoring purposes. To get a good footage and photos though, you really have to keep the Depstech DS450 boroscope probe camera very still to prevent a shaky footage.
The Depstech DS450 boroscope probe measures 40mm long and has an 8mm diameter. The tip of the probe can be unscrewed to attach the included magnetic attachment and hook attachment. At the other end of the boroscope cable, there is a USB-A male connector attached to a hard plastic plug with a groove built-in the center to help orient the plug the right way up. 
The Depstech DS450 device has a USB-A female port on the top of the device, which is deeply recessed and designed to only accept the included USB camera lead. The boroscope camera cable is detachable so, you will be able to replace it with a replacement, which Depstech does sell. Depstech also sells a single camera USB endoscope variant, which is also plug and play and does not require software installation; hence it is likely you could use a third-party USB boroscope camera if you can find one that can fit. Likewise, you won't be able to connect the Depstech DS450 USB cable to a computer because of the groove on the USB plug.
The Depstech DS450 has a similar design and footprint to an old-school personal digital assistant (PDA), which came about way before there was a thing called a "smartphone". Back then, phones were just phones, while PDAs were just an electronic personal organizer without phone functionality. It wasn't until early 2000 that the first PDA phone (Palm Treo) came about, paving the way for the smartphone and app craze revolution of today!
The Depstech DS450 unit has a 2cm thick hard plastic beveled frame and plastic back panel with a smooth finish. Total dimensions are 16.5cm long, 7.5cm wide and 2cm tall (thick). There is a small rocker on the right side that contains two orange rubber buttons, while the left side has two separated black rubber buttons for activating the Depstech DS450 flashlight and powering on/off the unit. The flashlight is built-in on the top of the back panel and contains two led lights with light diffusing plastic. The flashlight can be turned on even if the unit is powered off.

The Depstech DS450 has a further four buttons on the front of the device, just below the screen, for navigating menus. The screen is surrounded by large black screen borders and bezels on top and bottom. The side bezels are thinner and beveled so, they appear more out of sight. The viewing screen dimensions are 98mm tall and 58mm wide, which translate to a 4.5-inch screen, which is IPS backlit so, it delivers a good quality and accurate image reproduction. The screen does not get as brightly lit up as an led screen but, it is brighter than a regular LCD screen. The Depstech DS450 screen brightness is on par as the brightness of an IPS phone.
The Depstech DS450 screen shows several icons, including a battery level indicator, a time stamp when recording video and a message prompt when you take a still photo. The orange buttons let you take photos and record footage. You cannot toggle cameras while recording footage though. All the buttons make a loud clicky noise when pressed. a physical status led is located just above the screen display.
There is a rechargeable 3300 mAh capacity battery built-in, which is on the low end compared to some smartphones (i.e. Oukitel WP6) that are equipped with a 10,000 mAh battery! Other than the built-in camera application for taking and recording video, the Depstech DS450 doesn't integrate any other apps. You can adjust the brightness of the screen but the device is still fairly power hungry because of the IPS display. You can get up to 5 hours of continuous runtime when brightness is set to 60% and resolution to 720p.
Depstech built-in camera application is easy to navigate and lets you change resolution (1080p or 720p), auto power off (off, 15 mins or 30 mins), date, language (English, Dutch, Cantonese and Mandarin). You also have the ability to format the microSD card and rotate the live stream from left to right 180 degrees.
Just below the front-facing rubber buttons, there is a large rectangular rubber flap that conceals the ports, namely the microSD card slot (supports up to 32GB), reset pinhole button and micro USB input for recharging the device. Charging the Depstech DS450 takes 2.5 hours via 5V/2A, which is the maximum input it can take.
As mentioned earlier, the Depstech DS450 USB boroscope camera is attached to a long, flexible rubber cable but it also integrates some type of memory wire that keeps the cable in place when bent. This is worth pointing out since not all USB boroscope cameras have a bendable stiff cable. The Depstech DS450 cable remains straight when pushed, which also helps when trying to dislodge anything out of the way. The included metal accessories are extremely lightweight, weighing approx. half a gram each.
There is a wireless endoscope version of the Depstech DS450, which works using your phone as the interface for broadcasting and viewing what the camera sees. You do have to download a mobile app (Desptech Wifi app) but, unlike most mobile apps which connect to the device via Bluetooth, the Depstech app works via 2.4Ghz through a Wifi hotspot created by the device itself. 
The Depstech DS450 does have the advantage of having a built-in screen and it boots up in just 6 seconds. The wireless endoscope version is slightly more fiddly but, it does have a better range because the phone and the boroscope don't have to be in close proximity.
Something else included in the box is a Depstech branded hard-shell EVA case, which is covered by a textured material and features a Depstech chrome accent on the top half of the case. The hard-shell case is lined with soft (felt-like material) and features a large mesh pocket and a large velcro strap. The internal dimensions are 15cm long by 15cm wide (perfect square shape) and 3.5cm deep (tall).
The zip has plastic teeth, which are hidden; hence it is a reverse type coil zip, which has better water resistance than regular zips. The Depstech case has a single zip slider with a rubber pull tab and a nylon strap loop for carrying the case. Considering it's just an add-on accessory, the Depstech EVA case is quality made. Total weight of the case is 146 grams. You can buy the Depstech DS450 from amazon.

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