Review Price £69.99
Its also possible to alter the way metering is performed, with centre spot and average options. Alongside automatic white balance there are presets for sunny and cloudy conditions, plus tungsten and neon indoor lighting. However, no fully manual option is available. There are a couple of digital effects included, for rendering your video in black and white, sepia and negative, although our usual feelings about in-camera effects - that you're better off adding these at the editing stage - still apply.
Most surprisingly of all, there's even a modicum of control over sharpness, with the facility to increase or decrease this by one notch. An EV exposure control with 13 settings between 2 and -2 is also available, although it's strangely located at the end of the second menu page. We'd expect to see this further up the options, as you may want to make more frequent use of it than some of the options above it, particularly as there is no backlight compensation setting.
As with virtually all pocket Internet camcorders, the range of ports available doesn't include minijacks for headphones or an external microphone - not that you would be able to use these underwater anyway. So you will have to rely on the somewhat mediocre built-in mono microphone. However, a slightly more annoying omission is the lack of a standard tripod screw mount. While this camcorder is clearly meant primarily for handheld use, you won't be able to hook it up to a Gorillapod, car mount or helmet attachment for shooting unattended. Instead, there's a loop on the bottom so you can attach the X720 firmly to a lanyard, which will be handy, but isn't a substitute.
With no sensor specifications available for the X720, we weren't sure what level of image quality to expect from it. Pocket Internet camcorders tend to perform better than you might expect in low light, considering their price. The X720 doesn't quite live up to this tradition, although it is still better than a lot of cheap camcorders we've tested. In our usual 100W ceiling light test, the X720 produced a fairly dark image, with muted colours, but at least it wasn't riddled with grain. In brighter, natural lighting the automatic white balancing did a decent job, but colours were slightly inaccurate, with reds in particular looking a bit washed out. It's also worth noting that the X720 has no image stabilisation system, so shaky camerawork means shaky footage. Overall, though, performance is far from atrocious, and certainly good enough for the price.
We're not sure how much Lady Gaga, Polaroid's creative director, was involved in the making of the X720, and there are no giveaway signs such as the chassis being made of raw meat. In most respects, Polaroid's X720 is a me-too product, with nothing particularly singling it out from the pocket Internet camcorder crowd. However, it does have one rather unique feature. Despite the added bonus of being waterproof, this camcorder costs just £70, making it one of the cheapest on the market. So although it's not that special in terms of image quality or features, the X720 is exceptionally good value.
Scores In Detail
- Image Quality