Creative Vado HD review
Everything under the sun is going “high def” right now: monitors, televisions, cameras, even traffic of all things. So it was only a matter of time before the new generation of pocket camcorders followed suit.
Thus, Creative has upped the resolution of its original pocket video camera, the Vado, from 640 x 480 to a more HDTV-friendly 720p (1,280 x 720). Like the Kodak Zi6 the Vado HD aims to make shooting in glorious high definition as easy as it was to use a Polaroid camera back in the Eighties.
It’s good to see that the higher resolution version is just as small, neat and pocketable as the original, but there are several subtle differences. There’s a new “wide angle” glass lens, which sticks out a few millimetres from the previously flat body of the camera. It has 8GB of storage where the original had just 4GB – to accommodate those hefty HD files. It has an additional HDMI video output socket as well as composite; and, even more impressively, Creative bundles the HDMI cable so you can pipe its HD output directly to your big screen TV.
This is just as well, for although the Vado comes with software onboard for viewing, editing and uploading clips to YouTube (and other services), the editing part is limited. Out of the box you can only put three video clips together without paying for a software upgrade; considering the rather high asking price we think that’s more than a little cheeky.
It’s also a shame because the Vado HD’s software (produced by Muvee) is much more elegant than other in-camera editing tools we’ve seen – it’s one of the reasons we recommended the original Vado in our Christmas Gadgets Labs last year. At least the AVI files produced by the HD can be edited in most standard video editing packages, including Windows Moviemaker.
Quality, too, is disappointing. Despite the new lens footage didn’t look quite as sharp as we had expected it to, colours were well-balanced in most light conditions but heavily over-saturated, and it had the same problem with highlights bleaching out as its predecessor.
But perhaps worse than all of this is the price. There’s no doubt that pocket video cameras have come a long way since they first appeared in 2008, but the reasons for their existence remain the same: low cost and ease of use. By setting the price tag at an eye-watering £200 Creative has ensured that the Vado HD misses one of these core requirements by the proverbial country mile; and it has neither the quality nor features to justify it.
|Camcorder HD standard||720p|
|Camcorder maximum video resolution||1280 x 720|
|Camcorder recording format||H.264, AVI|
|Camera optical zoom range||0.0x|
|Dimensions||23 x 55 x 101mm (WDH)|
|Camcorder internal storage type||Flash memory|
|Memory card support||None|
|Composite video output?||yes|