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Creative Vado HD review

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Our Score:

7

Although it was the Flip Video which introduced the Internet video camera format to the world, in the UK Creative beat Flip to market. Now that attention is turning to high definition, Creative has yet again usurped Flip. Before we have the Mino HD in our hands, here is Creative's Vado HD, although Kodak's Zi6 beat them both by a few months.

Like the Zi6, the Vado HD only raises the bar to 720p, so it shoots at 1,280 x 720 rather than the 1,920 x 1,080 of Full HD. It still operates at the not-so-European-friendly 30 frames per second, but the top data rate has been doubled to 8Mbits/sec, which is reasonably decent for 720p video. The H.264 version of MPEG-4 compression is now used, further squeezing extra quality. Audio remains 16-bit, 44kHz mono, and the data rate has been increased here, as well, to 177Kbits/sec.

To cope with the increased data rate, the amount of onboard storage has quadrupled compared to the Vado, to 8GB. This is enough for about two hours of HD footage at the top HD+ setting, and four hours in standard HD mode, which halves the data rate to 4Mbits/sec with a very noticeable drop in quality. The Vado HD also supports VGA recording like its predecessor, and can store as much as 8 hours of footage in this format.

The method for changing shooting modes isn't immediately obvious, as there is no specific button assigned. Instead, you press Play and Delete at the same time when the Vado HD is in camcorder mode. You can then change the recording format, plus settings like time and date, or the frequency for anti-flicker (to guard against AC lighting pulsation). However, there are no traditional camcorder settings here, so no opportunity to change shutter, iris, and focus, or even apply scene modes. The Vado HD is intended for point and shoot alone.

As before, the lens is fixed, but this time it sticks out of the device a little more, which hinders pocket friendliness slightly. There is no optical zoom available, just a 2x digital one. So the image does get a little more blurry when zoomed, although this isn't quite as noticeable with 720p HD footage as it was with the original VGA format.

Kanu

February 15, 2009, 1:25 am

This is supposed to be a review of an imaging device. However, it was appalling to find that the entire assessment of image quality was so tiny that if you blinked, you would miss it!





What we have here then, is a 4-page regurgitation of the press release and product datasheet, garnished with a cursory 4-line sprint through image quality.





This does not deserve to be called a "review" of a product, let alone a "trusted" one. Seriously.....

James Morris

February 15, 2009, 11:42 pm

Erm, okay... you seem a little angry. But I'm probably going to make you angrier here by telling you that you clearly missed the point about this product. Maybe you blinked a little too long. It's not meant for "seriously" anal types who measure the quality of every pixel produced. It's meant to grow the camcorder market towards those who just couldn't give a monkey's about that. All they need to know is - does this thing shoot decent or rubbish video, and under what conditions? This review tells you precisely that. Since there are no manual settings, you can't tweak it as with higher-end devices, so there is no way of adjusting performance. You point, you shoot. Why go into more detail on this aspect, when it is the other features which are more important in this case? I wouldn't even describe it as an imaging device, because its ability to upload straight to YouTube is equally, if not more significant. You would definitely not buy this instead of any "proper" HD camcorder, if you had the money. But for the target, non-specialist market it does the job intended pretty well. It would be better if it was more like 𧵎, though.

zenmeister

November 20, 2009, 8:11 am

I just went to pixmania.com and bought one of these for £89, together with the correct case for £9. Add in the cheapest P&P option and the whole package came to about £106, which is a heck of a good deal compared with the prices quoted in the review.


Maybe Creative are about to bring out a new model or something, but I'm very happy with my purchase.


The review was very good by the way. A friend has one, which I have tried and it is great. However, a mini-tripod is essential, partly to overcome the problem of the USB cable attachment projecting from the bottom of the case and partly to get decent shake-free images.

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