Kodak Zx1 review
The flood of pocket video cameras reaching the PC Pro offices has turned into a torrent of late the main force behind which has been HD recording. Now Kodak is on to its second generation of HD devices with the follow up to the Zi6, the Zx1.
Kodak has certainly spruced up the design. The Zx1 is more pocketable than its predecessor, but it can’t match the competition. The Flip Mino HD is much slimmer than this chunky device, and more stylish too, despite the presence of an alternative, patterned battery cover in the box.
And we can’t say we’re enamoured of the Zx1’s control panel, either. Rather than distinct buttons, the switches are flush with the camera’s brushed aluminium-finish fascia, with embossed rubber icons. These both feel and look horrid.
Other niggles include the lack of a pop-out, integrated USB plug (you have to use a micro USB cable for connection), only 128MB of integrated memory (you have to add more via the Zx1’s SDHC slot), and the onboard Arcsoft MediaImpression software, which we’re not big fans of.
There are some advantages the Zx1 holds over the competition, though. The first is weatherproofing. This is no groundless claim: the Zx1 has been tested to the IP43 standard, which means it should be safe to take out on a sandy beach or in a light shower.
The second is the range of accessories you get in the box. The Flip Mino HD only comes with composite video cables and a soft pouch, but with the Zx1 you get HDMI and composite cables, a mains charger, a pair of rechargeable NiMH batteries, a pouch and wrist strap.
But video quality brings it back to earth with a bump. In some respects it’s okay. There’s a 60fps mode for those with computers that can handle it, and performance is competent. We tested it side-by-side with the Flip Mino HD and in outdoor shots colours were vibrant and footage looked a more detailed and punchy than the Mino’s. But indoors in low light it faded away, with noise a problem and colours seriously over-saturated. The Mino is much better in this respect.
So, though the price is much more reasonable than the Flip Mino HD, we won’t be recommending the Kodak Zx1. Its low light performance isn’t good enough and, added to a series of other irritations, makes this pocket camera an also ran that’s only worth buying if you need the weatherproofing.
|Camcorder HD standard||720p|
|Camcorder recording format||H.264 (MOV)|
|Camera optical zoom range||N/A|
|Camera optical image stabilisation||no|
|Electronic image stabilisation?||no|
|Number of sensors||1|
|External mic socket?||no|
|Dimensions||50 x 107 x 20mm (WDH)|
|Camcorder internal storage type||Flash memory|
|Memory card support||SD/SDHC Card|