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Creative Vado HD review

Seth Barton
20 May 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
164
inc VAT

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Specifications

1/4in CMOS sensor, 640x480, 1,280x720, 0.0x zoom, 100g

Creative's Vado HD is another pocket camcorder, like Flip's Mino HD and Kodak's Zi6. It's a little larger than the Mino HD, but smaller than the Zi6. The 22mm depth includes its small protruding lens; excluding the lens, it's a slender 16mm.

The dark grey plastic casing has a slightly rubberised finish. This makes it easy to grip, and it also resists greasy fingerprints. It comes with a translucent rubber case, giving extra protection against knocks and scratches. The simple controls and menus are easy to understand and navigate.

There are three quality settings to choose from, and video is compressed using the efficient H.264 codec. The VGA mode shoots 640x480 video - handy if you want to upload it without any re-encoding. The HD and HD+ modes use a 1,280x720 resolution at 4.8Mbit/s and 8.9Mbit/s respectively.

Video quality, even at the HD+ setting, failed to impress. Images shot outdoors on a bright day were a little overexposed. There were also more compression artefacts than we would expect at this bit rate. Indoors we had no exposure problems and low light performance was respectable, with only a fine smattering of noise. It can't compete with the fine detail and natural colours of the Flip Mino HD; the results are roughly comparable to those of the significantly cheaper Kodak Zi6. The Vado HD's lens has a wider angle than either of those models, though, which gives footage a slightly more cinematic feel.

There's no SD card slot on the Vado HD, but that's not a problem thanks to its 8GB of internal flash memory. This is enough to store around two hours of HD+ quality video or eight hours of VGA. Its battery lasted for more than two-and-a-half hours in our tests, so you'll run out of storage space for HD+ video before you run out of battery power.

Unlike the Zi6, which uses two rechargeable AA batteries, the Vado HD's battery is built in and charges over USB. The USB connector is neatly tucked away at the bottom, and can be flipped out when required. The supplied Muvee Basic software allows for both basic editing and file uploads. However, editing is limited to three clips, and there's no DVD movie burning, unless you pay $18 (around £12) to upgrade to Muvee Premium. For most users, though, the basic software will be sufficient and is really easy to use.

The Vado HD is the first pocket camcorder we've seen with an HDMI interface - a mini-HDMI output, to be precise. This is preferable to the Zi6's component and AV outputs, as you get audio and video via one simple cable. It even comes with the appropriate mini-HDMI-to-HDMI lead. There's also an AV output for non-HD TVs.

We like the design and feel of the Vado HD, and it has good software and an HDMI output. It's a little let down by its video quality, as we'd hoped for better at this price. If you're looking for a pocket camcorder, we still prefer the Kodak Zi6. If you want something compact and stylish, then Flip's Mino HD is a better buy.

Basic Specifications

Rating***

Recording

Optical zoom0.0x
Digital zoom2x
Sensor1/4in CMOS
Widescreen modenative
LCD screen size2.0in
Viewfinder typenone
Video lampNo
Video recording formatH.264
Video recording mediaflash memory
SoundAAC 44KHz mono
Video resolutions640x480, 1,280x720
Maximum image resolutionN/A
Memory slotnone
Mermory supplied8GB internal
Flashno

Physical

Digital inputs/outputsUSB
Analogue inputs/outputsAV out, mini HDMI out
Other connectionsnone
Battery life2h 32m
Battery charging positioncharger
Size100x55x16mm
Weight100g

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB
Price£164
Supplierhttp://www.morecomputers.com
Detailshttp://uk.europe.creative.com

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