gg09feature
gg09cameras

Gift Guide 2009: Pocket Camcorders

Next Story

Magellan Gets Into The iPhone GPS Game, Car Cradle Incoming

[tab:Intro][flagallery gid=4 name="CrunchGear Gift Guide 2009"]

Pocket-sized camcorders continue to grow in popularity thanks to falling prices, shrinking form factors, and enhanced video quality. While there are plenty on the market to choose from right now, this guide will focus on models selling for less than $150. That seems to be a good price ceiling that allows you to get plenty of features without spending too much.

[tab:Flip Mino]flipmino

Flip Mino: $149.99 (TheFlip.com)

Flip’s line of compact digital camcorders arguably broadened the mass appeal of such devices thanks to simplified controls, pocket-friendly form factors and, perhaps above all, easy-to-use built-in software and streamlined YouTube uploading. While many of its competitors now offer similar features at lower price points, Flip cameras are still wildly popular.

Features:

  • Storage: 2GB (not expandable)
  • Resolution: 640×480
  • LCD Size: 1.5 inches
  • Zoom: 2x digital
  • Battery: Rechargeable lithium-ion (not replaceable)
  • TV Output: Composite AV

PROS: Stylish, customizable, super easy to use, tiny form factor, built-in software

CONS: Expensive, no way to add storage, no way to replace battery

Product Page

[tab:Creative Vado]VADO

Creative Vado: $99.99 (Creative.com)

Taking its cues from the aforementioned Flip Mino, the Creative Vado matches it almost spec for spec while featuring a larger LCD and smaller price tag. Sure, it may not come in as many colors and designs but if you’re looking for Flip’s portability and ease of use at a much lower price, the Vado is a good place to start.

Features:

  • Storage: 2GB (not expandable)
  • Resolution: 640×480
  • LCD Size: 2 inches
  • Zoom: 2x digital
  • Battery: Rechargeable lithium-ion (replaceable)
  • TV Output: Composite AV

PROS: Flip Mino features for $50 less, replaceable battery, relatively big 2-inch LCD

CONS: No way to add storage, bland color options

Product Page

[tab:Kodak Zx1]Zx1

Kodak Zx1: $149.95 (Kodak.com)

Kodak’s newest addition to the world of pocket camcorders is the Zx1, capable of recording 720p video at up to 60 frames per second. The camcorder comes with two AA rechargeable batteries, which means it can use standard AA batteries in a pinch. You can even purchase Kodak’s rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack to use instead.

Features:

  • Storage: 128MB (expandable via SD/SDHC)
  • Resolution: 1280×720
  • LCD Size: 2 inches
  • Zoom: 2x digital
  • Battery: Rechargeable lithium-ion (replaceable)
  • TV Output: Composite AV and HDMI

PROS: 60 FPS HD video on the cheap, multiple battery options, dual video outputs

CONS: Not much built-in storage, ships with nickel-metal hydride batteries

Product Page

[tab:Sony Webbie HD]Webbie

Sony Webbie HD: $149.99 (SonyStyle.com)

Sony’s Webbie HD pocket camcorder features a cool swiveling lens, individual movie and still photo buttons, and more-than-720p-but-not-quite-1080p resolution. Initially priced at $169.99, the Webbie HD line has now been discounted to $149.99 for the holidays.

Features:

  • Storage: None (expandable via Sony Memory Stick PRO/PRO Duo)
  • Resolution: 1440×1080
  • LCD Size: 1.8 inches
  • Zoom: 4x digital
  • Battery: Rechargeable lithium-ion (replaceable)
  • TV Output: Composite AV and Component AV

PROS: Swivel lens for self portraits, separate still photo and video recording buttons

CONS: No built-in storage, uses proprietary Memory Stick format, odd resolution

Product Page

[tab:Insignia]insignia

Insignia NS-DV1080P: $149.99 (InsigniaProducts.com)

Best Buy’s house-brand, Insignia, has managed to put together a portable camcorder that shoots full 1080p video and sports a big 3-inch flip-out LCD – all for $149.99. You also get a front-mounted video light, although I can’t make any claims as to how useful it actually is.

Features:

  • Storage: 90MB (expandable via SD/SDHC)
  • Resolution: 1920×1080
  • LCD Size: 3 inches
  • Zoom: 4x digital (in 720p mode)
  • Battery: Rechargeable lithium-ion (replaceable)
  • TV Output: HDMI

PROS: Full 1080p HD video for $149.99, big LCD screen, video light

CONS: 4x digital zoom only works at 720p resolution

Product Page

[tab:Compare]Comparison Chart:

CAMCORDER

FLIP

CREATIVE

KODAK

SONY

INSIGNIA

PRICE

$149.99

$99.99

$149.95

$149.99

$149.99

STORAGE

2GB

2GB

128MB

None

90MB

EXPANDABLE

No

No

SD/SDHC

Memory Stick

SD/SDHC

RESOLUTION

640×480

640×480

1280×720

1440×1080

1920×1080

LCD SIZE

1.5”

2”

2”

1.8”

3”

ZOOM

2x Digital

2x Digital

2x Digital

4x Digital

4x Digital

BATTERY

Lithium-ion

Lithium-ion

Rechargeable Ni-MH AA

Lithium-ion

Lithium-ion

TV OUTPUT

Composite

Composite

Composite and HDMI

Composite and Component

HDMI

MODEL

Mino

Vado

Zx1

Webbie HD

NS-DV1080P

[tab:END]

blog comments powered by Disqus