Good quality video
LCD screen could be better
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The new Vado HD is the third iteration of Creative's innovative pocket camcorder series. We've previously seen the original Vado, and last year we reviewed the original Vado HD.
The mini, mobile phone-sized camcorder has been with us for around four years now but has never been all that popular.
While it was great to have something the size of a mobile phone that you could take around with you to record incredibly low resolution video of your friends being sick outside kebab shops, you could increasingly get to do that on any modern mobile phone.
What's more many digital cameras had a fairly usable video function bundled in to them as well, and while still low res they at least had the benefit of generally having better quality lenses than either the pocket camcorder or phone. So why blow your cash on a pocket camcorder?
With the advent of the HD pocket cams though things have got far more interesting. While they are still the size of a mobile phone the technology is suddenly much better allowing the pocket cams to overtake the average mobile phone in terms of resolution and clarity.
Representing the third generation of it's HD pocket cam is Creative's Vado HD and it's an impressive little bundle.
This Vado HD is as sleek as they come with a great finish. It feels light, but is still reassuringly solid; definitely something you can sit happily in the breast pocket of your ski jacket confident you wont be emptying it out as shards of silicon at the end of the day.
The simple interface allows for easy one-button recording with a single big red button on the front.
Unfortunately it is surrounded by some awkwardly touch sensitive buttons controlling zoom and exposure. They're far too easy to press without meaning to.
The screen, though a decent two inches, is a little washed out and isn't as clear as other pocket cams we've tested, specifically the new Flip MinoHD 8GB. That said though, the actual output quality of the video is far superior.
The Vado HD has also got an impressive wide-angle lens on the front giving it a far broader field of vision than the more expensive Flip camera.
The Vado HD will also double as a stills camera, hitting back at the digital stills cameras trying to muscle in on the video market. It's only capturing the images at the same 720p resolution but it's a handy extra feature.
Of course, you can always capture still frames from videos you've recorded via the simple, but effective software loaded onto the camcorder itself.
The Vado Central software loads when you plug in the Vado HD via the USB port and gives you access to the videos and images you've captured. It also gives you the option to trim down the videos, export them to your PC, email them or upload them to sites like YouTube and Facebook.
Impressively, it comes with a mini HDMI cable for hooking it up directly to a HD telly and a USB extension cable, something the pricier Flip MinoHD doesn't give you.
As we've said the touch sensitive buttons are a little over-sensitive and the screen is a little washed out, but there really is very little else not to like about the Vado HD.
Our only real problems came from the actual editing software which gave us a little choppiness in trimmed down versions of the video files in media player, VLC.
This 3rd generation of Creative's Vado HD makes an impressive outing.
It packs a surprising amount of functionality in something normally considered more of a toy than a proper camcorder.
The addition of an external mic jack (which also serves as the analogue TV out and headphone jack) and manual exposure settings make this a very functional little device indeed.