Sunday, February 14, 2010

CheapGeek- Creative Vado HD 3rd generation review.

Creative VADO HD 3rd Generation  
Here's the deal.
This is a very small and portable HD camcorder. Smaller than most cell phones.
This is not a professional series anything.
It's a low cost HD camcorder. It's small, sleek and has a good build feel to it. Here's the most important part. The Video is very good for the type of camera that it is. 
I don't expect professional quality out of a $150.00 camera. 
The quality you do get is very good. 
This camera shoots at a much wider angle than other cameras in it's class. 
Landscapes, inside, rooms and shots where you want to see everything, that is a big selling point.
It has fairly accurate color representation, the video has a decent amount color, contrast and saturation. 
The video is not too over saturated, the sharpness is decent and the audio pick up is good, provided there's not too much ambient or background noise. 
The digital zoom is a little jerky, but manageable. 
The Electronic Image Stabilization works, slightly.
The controls on the back of the camera are a little touchy. 
The camera is small and accidental button presses can occur. 
However, press the power button once during filming and the controls lock. 
Very handy. 
This camera has TWO VERY important features to those wanting more than just a Flip style camera with the big red button. 
It has some video controls and an external microphone jack! 
That is one of the reason's I went with it. 
If you want to use the external microphone jack and and record in stereo, 
it needs to be a stereo microphone. 
The camera has some other quirks. 
Great looking Camera, but- the glossy camera body is a fingerprint magnet.
 The size, good and bad- It really needs some extra grip or maybe a textured area on the front of camera for better feel and stability.  
The camera only holds 4 gb of video before you need to transfer it a computer.
Built in USB dongle for transfer and charging the camera can be good or bad. 
I have to use the USB extension cable to be able to use my computers front USB ports.
Uploading movies for editing can be a little tricky. 
Here's the caveat-
Remember, it's high definition. If your 4 year old computer can't handle the amount of digital information that gets transferred during the upload process, it's NOT the camera.
If your videos are herky-jerky, NOT  the camera- it's your computer.
You need a dual core processor at least, a decent video card along with a couple gigs of ram and a large hard drive to store the video in. 
Here's an analogy- Standard definition is like watering your grass with a garden hose, high definition is like watering your grass with a fire hose!
If you're using Windows Vista or Windows 7, download Windows Live Movie Maker.
It can handle the H.264 .mov files and has the codecs needed to sync the audio and video to give it the correct playback. The video quality is not bad after rendering, and the price is right. Free. 
It's a pretty easy to use a video editor as well. Easy, cheesy movies, no problem!
Mac users can get away with using Imovie 7 and the computer requirements are about the same. 
INTEL based Mac with dual core processor, good video and ram, and the big hard drive. 
I think IMovie makes better movies than Windows Live Movie Maker and the finished result looks more polished.
BUT- it really is the one of the 2 best handheld flash based HD camcorders out there. 
The other is the Kodak Zi8 (I have that one too) 
You really do get your money's worth with this camera.  
It's cheap. (I really want any of the new Canon Vixia series, that's for the future)
Overall, I like the size, the wide angle, the external microphone jack, the video quality, it's cost. 
The 3rd Generation Creative Vado HD 4gb camera is a really good camera and a really good price.
The Technical specifications and details are below, as well as the link to Creative's web site.

Creative Vado HD (3rd Gen)

Bundled Software

  • Creative Vado Central for PC and Mac

Technical Specifications

Weight:93g (with battery)
Dimension (H x W x D):3.9" x 2.2" x 0.6" (98.8 mm x 57.6 mm x 15.8 mm)
Memory size:4GB1
Sensor:HD CMOS (1280 x 720)
Video resolution:HD (1280 x 720p), VGA (640 x 480)
Low light performance:Extremely high sensitivity at 3.3V/lux-sec
LCD:50.8 mm (2") diagonal, 16 million colors
Screen resolution (pixels):640 x 240
Zoom:2x Digital Zoom
Recording capacity:Up to: 1 hour (HD+ quality), 2 hours (HD quality), 4 hours (VGA quality)
Digital video file format:*.mp4 (H.264, AAC)
Video frame rate:30 frames per second
Speaker and microphone:Built-in
Software:Pre-loaded Vado Central 3.0
TV out:RCA, HDMI (HDMI cable included) 4
Exposure Adjustment:Auto or Manual
Picture Resolution:HD still picture at 1280 x 720
Digital Picture File Format:*.JPEG
Wide-angle lens:Yes
Multiple connectivity earphone jack:Yes (for external microphone, AV cable and earphones)
Tripod mount:Yes
Power saver:Yes
Delete all, Play all:Yes
Set Date/Time:Yes
Set frequency:Yes (50Hz or 60Hz)
PC connection:Built-in flexi USB connector
Battery life:2 hours2 3
Online sharing:YouTube™, Photobucket™,, Facebook, KinKast
1 4GB memory includes built-in software. 2 Actual battery life will vary with use. Battery has limited recharge cycles and may eventually need to be replaced. 
3 Vado battery and battery charger will not work with the Vado HD (3rd Gen).
4 Bundled HDMI cable is only for certain regions. Please check with your local representatives or offices for package content.
System Requirements

Minimum PC Requirements
Minimum Mac Requirements
Intel Pentium 4 2.8GHz or faster
Microsoft® Windows® 7, Windows Vista® or Windows XP(SP 2)Apple Mac OS® X 10.4 or later
512MB RAMVado Central™ for Mac OS® X
USB Port
Package Contents
  • Vado HD (3rd Gen) Pocket Video Cam
  • Rechargeable Li-Ion battery
  • HDMI cable*
  • USB Extension cable*
  • Quick start guide
  • * Available in certain regions.