Creative Labs Vado HD 4GB Pocket Video Camcorder 2nd Generation (Black Gloss)
The mini-camcorder family has a new addition, the Vado 720p Pocket Video Camcorder. When Creative Labs say “pocket” camcorder, they actually mean it. This camcorder can easily fit in a pocket, a purse or in the palm of your hand. Its strong set of features sets it apart from the others in the league. Although Creative Labs has packaged it with an array of features, it does face tough competition from the Flip Video Mino.
The new Vado HD is very similar to the original Vado. They both share some common features, which include a 2-inch antiglare LCD screen that serves as both the playback screen and a viewfinder. Creative Labs has made some changes to the new model. The lens is not built-in to the body, but rather it extends out. It is slightly thicker and, at 3.5 ounces, it weighs a little more than the original at 3.3 ounces. The placement of the microphone has also been shifted; it now resides on the other side of the lens. It is a wide-angle glass lens that helps you capture wide scene videos, which are much sharper and crisper than the original. It sports a 2X digital zoom, which works well in low light conditions.
One of its features, which you will not find in the Flip Mino HD and the Kodak Zi6, is a mini HDMI connector to output 1080i video to your HDTV cable with a standard composite AV output. It also includes an HDMI cable, but not a composite cable. The other difference between Mino HD and Vado is the built-in memory. Mino HD has 4GB of built-in memory while Vado has 8GB of memory. This 8GB of built-in memory provides a full 2 hours of high definition video. You also have the option of capturing standard definition (SD) video from this camcorder.
1080p is the highest resolution video that a high definition camcorder is capable of capturing. Vado captures 720p and not 1080p of high-resolution video. You may also choose to shoot 640.480 VGA video. It has an integrated USB connector that allows you to upload videos to YouTube. This is a flexible flip-out connector so that you can plug it in your Windows or Mac systems, as if you would any device, such as a pen drive. The camcorder recharges through the USB port. Bundled up with a software package, you can fine-tune your videos after shooting them. Once the camcorder is plugged into the Windows PC or Mac, the software pops up automatically and offers options that include playing videos, uploading them to YouTube, Box.net, or PhotoBucket. After you install a plug-in, you can create a movie by stringing together several video clips. The software is simple and not very high-end. The interface is also easy to handle and understand. It is not a full editing package so do not expect many features from it; however, there are enough features to make a decent film out of the videos that you have captured. The best part is that you do not have to install the software to play the video from the camcorder. The software is primarily designed for Windows users, but it is Mac compatible at the same time. Mac users can manually drag and copy the videos from the camcorder to the computer. These videos can then be uploaded to YouTube or they can also be imported into iMovies or any other editing software.
Like the Mino, it too captures H.264 encoded videos at 30 frames per second, but these are saved as AVI instead of MPEG4. It features a 1,280×720 CMOS sensor. The removable and rechargeable lithium-ion batteries have 2 hours of life. You may also buy extra batteries as a backup, sold separately by Creative Labs. It has a threaded tripod mount on the bottom to help deliver steadier results.
Design wise, it is a sleek device. It has a rubberized feel, which is good, but there is a possibility of it staining easily, if not protected, as compared to a device with a shiny plastic finish. It comes with an off-white silicone sleeve to protect your camcorder from scuffs or stains. As there is only this one option, it would be a good idea on Creative Lab’s part to design and provide a few more options for the color of the sleeve. It is simple to use the Vado, because it has merely seven buttons needed for recording and playback. Flip Mino HD has touch-controls, that are prone to be pressed accidently; however, this is not the case of the Vado. The Vado HD has a four-way dial and no-touch buttons. Although there is no likelihood of touching and activating functions, this dial is not very functional. This is especially true of the zoom-in and zoom-out controls.
The video quality is decent enough for a low-resolution sensor and a small lens that has no zoom. It is not a high definition camcorder in the true sense. Nevertheless, you can view videos on a computer and the videos look sharp even at full-screen size. The contrast, saturation and sharpness have been improved so that the videos look sharper and crisper. It fails to adjust the white balance as quickly as the Mino does, but it does adjust the balance nonetheless. The other problem is the glow observed around brightly lit objects. The Mino fairs higher in the area of low light performance, but the Vado’s performance is decent with good and clean audio. The small microphone performs well by picking up the sounds.
The choice between Mino and Vado is a difficult one. If you need a larger LCD and better features, the Creative Lab’s Vado would be an ideal pick for you. It also has a better design as compared to Mino. Its other feature that may attract the buyer is the ease with which the device can be handled. The Flip Mino fares better than Vado with its video quality, which is one area worth mentioning in the comparison.
Product Descriptions :
Capture life’s entertaining moments on video and share them online with Vado, the slim, lightweight video cam that fits in your pocket. Simple to use, just point Vado and press record for great looking video. Sharing videos online is easy too. Just connect Vado to your computer and built-in software helps you post directly to YouTube or PhotoBucket in a snap.
Features and Technical Details :
- Vado is thinner than a deck of cards and as light as a cell phone
- Never miss a moment with two hours of video capacity and one-button recording
- Comes with built-in USB cable and on-board software; easily edit and upload videos
- Large 2-inch anti-glare screen
- Shoot up to two hours continuously with rechargeable battery
- Sensor: HD CMOS
- Movie Resolution: 640 x 480
- Recording Definition: Standard Definition
- Memory Included: 2GB Internal
- Storage Media Type: Flash Memory
- Movie File Format: AVI
- Digital Zoom: 2X
- LCD Monitor: 2.0 inches
- LCD Coverage: 100%
- Movie Mode: 30 fps
- Movie Image Resolution: 640 x 480
- Computer Interface: USB
- Height: 3.9 inches
- Width: 2.2 inches
- Depth: 0.6 inches
- Weight: 3.2 oz.
- Features: Pocket Video Camera