Take Creative’s tiny Vado. This is about as far from the traditional camcorder design as you’re likely to get,yet it’s capable of producing decent video.
It can’t do high definition, but it will shoot at a resolution of 640 x 480 and at a smooth 30fps. It stores that footage in Xvid MPEG4 format, and will let you store around an hour of video in its integrated 2GB memory (there’s no expansion slot).
The quality isn’t brilliant, though. In bright conditions it tended to burn out highlights, and in low light the results were usable but a little noisy. Audio recording wasn’t good either, and we found the built-in speaker to be far too quiet.
But the idea with this type of camcorder isn’t to capture the ultimate in quality, it’s to offer more portability, convenience and ease of use than your average camcorder, and here the Vado scores highly.
It’s small and light – just 84g and about the size of most mobile phones. It has a built-in USB plug on a stubby, flexible cable, which allows you to plug it into any available USB socket. This stows away neatly in a magnetised slot at the bottom of the device and is also used to charge the device’s integrated, rechargeable battery.
But the Vado’s cleverest trick is that it has all the software you need for viewing videos and uploading to YouTube or Photobucket onboard. Once you’ve given it your username and password, just launch Vado Central and YouTube uploads are a few clicks away.
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