Intro (4 out of 5)
The Creative Labs Vado HD 720p comes with true HD video quality. At around $230, it’s also relatively inexpensive for the budget consumer or amateur videographer. Despite it’s cheap price tag, this digital camcorder has quite a number of amazing features.
Body (4 out of 5)
First of all, the body is nicely designed. It sits comfortably in the palm on your hand, and the buttons are relatively easy to reach. This digital camcorder is really lightweight at 0.21 pounds and is small enough to fit in a large jacket pocket at 3.9x0.6x2.2 inches. One additional thing, however, needs to be said about the buttons. They’re a little too responsive. You need to give them a light touch, or you’ll have a lot of trouble with the menus.
The camcorder comes with a two-inch LCD screen, which is smaller than the average camcorder, but comparable to most in this price range. It has a built-in microphone and CMOS optical sensor. One surprising item included in the box is the HDMI cable.
The portability is just the first thing that stands out about the design. The camcorder comes with a removable battery, and the USB connector is at the bottom. What’s really nice about the USB connector is that it easily folds up into its compartment, and the compartment clicks when it’s opened or closed. This means that you never have to wonder if it’s really closed. The location of the USB connector is also nice. It doesn’t interfere with the tripod port.
Speaking of the tripod port, you’re probably going to want to invest in a small, inexpensive tripod. The camcorder does not come with optical image stabilization, which means that your video is going to be blurry unless you have really steady hands.
Video Quality and Software (5 out of 5)
For a cheap camcorder, the video quality is quite surprising. You have three choices when taking video: HD+, HD and VGA. With HD+, you can take up to two hours of video, four hours with HD and eight in VGA. Except for the most informal or YouTube bound videos, you’ll probably want to stick with HD+ quality. It shows up the best on flat screen television, and the picture quality is quite amazing for a cheap camcorder.
The software for this camcorder can be easily installed on either a Mac or PC. And, the video transfer goes very smoothly. And, you can quickly figure out how to edit video with the provided software.
It’s Got Some Issues (3 out of 5)
While you may be thinking that you’ll just buy an extra battery to take more video, this may be one of the major drawbacks of this camcorder. This digital camcorder has been so popular that Creative Labs has people on waiting lists for accessories.
The other major complaint that has been found with this budget camcorder is that it has a glitch that causes it to turn off unexpectedly. And, you can’t turn it back on for a while when it does this. A patch has been released to deal with this software malfunction, but it hasn’t worked on some machines.
Quality for the Price? (4 out of 5)
Overall, this budget camcorder would be perfect for the amateur consumer or those looking for a back-up camcorder. The video quality is surprising good, and the camcorder is very easy to use. The Creative Labs Vado HD 720p should be on your next buyer guide’s list.