Despite Flip's exit from the market it created, the number of different pocket Internet camcorders available continues to grow. Latest to join the bandwagon is Polaroid, although the brand's heritage in instant consumer image capturing makes this kind of camcorder a fairly natural progression. But it's not just a basic pocket Internet camcorder. The X720 is waterproof, too, and comes in at a surprisingly keen price.
The X720's waterproofing stretches to a depth of 3m, although Polaroid doesn't quote any particular compliance with international standards. It achieves its resilience thanks to locking flaps over its compartments. One covers the battery, which comes in the form of two regular alkaline AA cells so you will have no problem finding fresh power when out and about. The second protects the USB 2 and mini HDMI ports, as well as the microSD slot. Both flaps have rubber pads to ensure a tight seal, and both have double mechanisms keeping them securely shut. Neither seemed likely to open accidentally during our testing.
One thing Polaroid has not provided information about is the sensor the X720 uses. It has the ability to shoot video at up to 1,280 x 720 and 30 frames per second. You can also shoot WVGA - a widescreen version of VGA - at 30 or 60 frames per second, regular VGA, and QVGA. Still images can be captured at 3, 5 or 8Mpixels, but as we don't know the resolution of the sensor we can't say how much interpolation is involved here. As we mentioned before, microSD is used for storage, which is unusual even in pocket Internet camcorders. This will have shaved a few millimetres off the dimensions of the X720, though, and media isn't significantly more expensive than full-sized SD at most capacities.
The X720 has a few more features than most pocket Internet camcorders, although only a few. These are all operated by a smattering of rubberised buttons, which need a good solid press to register being touched. The zoom is a mere 3x and digital, with all the implications for reduced video quality that entails. But things improve slightly from here. In particular, you can enable a small selection of scene modes, including landscape, portrait, sport, and night landscape. So although no direct control over shutter or iris is available, you can bias these for different types of shooting via the scene modes. There's an ISO setting, too, giving 200 and 400 options as well as automatic, which is strangely available in video mode as well as photo mode.