While the Creative Vado may look like a vintage MP3 player, don't let it's uninspiring plastic exterior fool you. This is a very cool gadget indeed, even though it perhaps doesn't quite look like it.
Put simply, the Vado is a bare bones 'point and shoot' VGA video camera. It gives you absolutely no settings or modes other than 'record,' 'playback' and 'delete'. For that reason, it's quite literally idiot proof.
Even your technophobic granny could work it out – it's that simple.
The Vado collects both audio and video – the latter in VGA resolution (640x480). While this would look ghastly on a cinema screen, it's absolutely ideal for uploading to sites like YouTube and Facebook.
This uploading process is made devilishly easy because the Vado has a flip-out USB connection. You flip it out, plug it into your PC and then download your files (in uncompressed AVI format) onto your machine.
There's 2GB of internal storage in the Vado, which is good for about two hours of shooting, and the battery lasts about as long too.
If you install the accompanied software, there's even an option to upload to YouTube automatically directly from the device.
It would be easy to focus on the limitations of VGA recording, but there's so much more to the Vado's video than just resolution. Colour definition is fantastic, while the contrast between bright and dark areas is highly defined.
It does tend to over-expose when there are bright areas in the same shot as dark ones, but this is a minor flaw that shouldn't cause too much grief.
We tested the Vado at the same time as the recently launched (and highly publicised 'Flip video' device). On paper, both offer exactly the same features. However, when using the two side-by-side, there's only one winner.
While the Flip's videos look washed out and lifeless, the Vado produces footage alive with colour.
Size is also a massive factor here. The Vado is much thinner than the Flip. It's also shorter, and not quite as wide. It's smaller in every dimension, which is absolutely crucial with this type of product.
Because for this sort of gadget to be worthwhile, it's got to offer you a good service without impeding you in any way. The Vado will fit into your pocket, and it's small and light enough for you to forget it's there.
The Flip on the other hand, is extremely bulky – a real turn-off.
Both devices are pitched by their specific manufacturers as aiming to help us capture those moments we would normally not be able to film. In this respect, the Creative Vado performs admirably. You can be filming within seconds of seeing something cool.
The only real problem with it is the price. It may only be £79, but in the US it costs $89 which is a lot cheaper. That said, even in the UK the Vado is still £20 cheaper than the Flip which goes to show that maybe it is quite good value after all.