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Despite the online video revolution, interest in editing footage hasn't exactly snowballed. The vast majority of YouTube users simply shoot something and put it straight up on the Web. Camcorder manufacturers have started to realise this, and are busy launching diminutive point-and-shoot models, such as Panasonic's SDR-S7, Canon's FS11, and Toshiba's Camileo Pro HD. But the traditional names in consumer electronics aren't the only ones hoping to take advantage of the online video revolution. New to the market is Creative with its Vado Pocket Video Cam. It's slim, it's keenly priced, and it has a unique trick up its sleeve.
The Vado is about the size of a mobile phone. At 84g, it's half the weight of even the smallest model from the mainstream camcorder manufacturers. So you could readily slip it in a shirt or trouser pocket, although care would need to be taken not to scratch the tiny F/2.4 lens or 2in LCD screen. Build quality feels satisfyingly solid. Although Creative's European product page also shows a Vado in pink, at the moment you can have any colour you like as long as it's silver, to paraphrase Henry Ford.
Creative hasn't been forthcoming about what kind of sensor is inside the Vado, but it's most likely a CMOS. It shoots at 640 x 480 and 30 frames per second, which is ideal for YouTube but not if you want to turn your footage into a DVD for viewing on European equipment. Non-HD European TV uses a resolution of 720 x 576 and 25 frames per second. But at least the video is compressed with XVID MPEG-4, which is more PC compatible than the MOV MPEG-4 H.264 used by many digital still cameras.
The video is compressed fairly aggressively down to 4Mbits/sec in HQ mode, and 2Mbits/sec in SP mode. Audio is also only recorded at 14kHz with 4-bit sampling and a 56Kbits/sec data rate. But the Vado has a healthy 2GB of flash memory on board. At the top HQ quality mode, this is enough for about an hour of video, or two hours in SP mode. But there is no removable media slot for storage expansion.
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