The Flip and Vado have had things their own way for far too long but 2009 suggests the budget pocket camcorder line could be about to become as cluttered and competitive as the netbook sector. Goodie!
Leading this charge is an unlikely competitor: RCA which has blown my socks off today with the stunning 'EZ209HD'.
As the convoluted name suggests the camera is HD capable shooting 720p video at up to 30 frames per second (plus a 60fps sports mode at WVGA) and snapping 8MP stills. A 2in display is also packed in along with a microSD slot and - the killer feature - an HDMI slot.
Most impressively, all this is contained in the slimmest and lightest pocket camcorder body to date. The exact dimensions and weight weren't given but in hand it felt no more than 100/110g and measured about 6/8mm across excluding the lens.
Battery life is perfectly acceptable at two hours on a single charge, integrated software guides the user through native video editing including trimming and joining as well as pulling out still frames. A wizard then assists with online uploading (yes - YouTube support is there).
A chunkier version of the EZ209HD called the EZ300HD matches its skinnier brother stride for stride while boasting a larger 2.4in display and 2GB of internal memory.
Shipping this quarter, the EZ209HD and EZ300HD will retail for just $119.99 and $169.99 respectively. Creative, Flip - game on!
Update: We've just heard the silver edition of the EZ209HD won't initially be available but an equally swanky black version (pictured below) will be.