Reasonable, but under-featured for the price
Small & light; captures 1080i video; HDMi output (cable supplied); removable battery
Disappointing quality; no memory card slot
Following in Kodak’s and Pure Digital’s footsteps with its own HD pocket camcorder, the thin and lightweight Vado HD is small enough (55x101x23mm, 100g) to fit easily in a pocket or purse, so it’s great for holidays and travelling. Upping the resolution of Creative’s original pocket video camera (640×480), it even captures AVI video in 720p (1280×720) high-definition quality with just the touch of a button. There’s also a new ‘wide angle’ glass lens which sticks out a few millimetres from the previously flat body of the camera. The Vado HD’s zoom, unfortunately, has not been upgraded – it’s still 2X digital, which really isn’t sufficient now that the camera has moved to HD-quality video capture. The built-in mic, meanwhile, seems to have improved slightly.
The Vado HD (£199) features HDMI connectivity and the included HDMI cable provides 1080i output when hooked up to a HDTV. It also features a 2-inch colour LCD screen and 8GB of built-in memory (expanded from 4GB on the original) that allows you to capture up to 2 hours of HD video. But its biggest selling point is portability and ease of use. The simplicity of the Vado HD makes it ideal for capturing video on a moment’s notice.
While your regular camcorder is stored away somewhere in a camerabag and without batteries, the Vado HD is ready in seconds – and it doesn’t require you to carry tapes or DVDs with you. The removable, rechargeable Lithium-ion battery provides just 2 hours of recording and playback, but there are extra batteries (£14.99) so you can easily swap them to capture more video. Other accessories include a pouch for protection and storage (£14.99), a power adapter with charging station so your Vado HD is ready to go when you are (£29.99), and an underwater diving pouch for keeping the Vado HD dry during underwater shooting (£29.99).
Another strength of the Vado HD is that it enables fast and easy sharing of video on YouTube and Box.net. The camcorder has a built-in USB connector so you can plug right it into your PC, just like you would with a flash drive. It also comes with Creative’s Vado Central software program built in that shows thumbnails of your video clips, which you can view on or copy to your PC. When you want to share your videos with selected friends and family, you can use Box.net to either view or download a copy of the video. Vado Central also enables capture of single snapshots or successive snapshots in burst mode. When you want to make and edit your video productions, just use the Muvee software that’s included in Vado Central.
Creative designed the Vado HD so you can easily shoot all of life’s spontaneous moments, and then come home and watch your videos on an HDTV – all with high-definition quality. You can upload the videos to your PC, or what’s really cool is to watch them on your HDTV in almost-full HD quality. Some cameras, such as Pure Digital’s Flip Mino HD, record HD video but don’t let you output it in high definition to your HDTV. While Creative has got the convenience part right, video quality is disappointing. Despite the new lens, footage isn’t as sharp as expected and colours are heavily over-saturated. Highlights also tend to bleach out, and we even noticed dropped frames. If it produced outstanding video quality you could excuse the hefty price tag. It doesn’t, and there are better value products out there, such as Kodak’s Zi6 (Best Current Price: £103).