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Creative Vado HD 3rd Gen review

New pocket video cam improves on previous versions

Our Verdict

For

  • Good quality video
  • Stills capture
  • Lovely build
  • Removable battery

Against

  • LCD screen could be better

The new Vado HD is the third iteration of Creative's innovative pocket camcorder series. We've previously seen the original Vado, and last year we reviewed the original Vado HD.

The mini, mobile phone-sized camcorder has been with us for around four years now but has never been all that popular.

While it was great to have something the size of a mobile phone that you could take around with you to record incredibly low resolution video of your friends being sick outside kebab shops, you could increasingly get to do that on any modern mobile phone.

What's more many digital cameras had a fairly usable video function bundled in to them as well, and while still low res they at least had the benefit of generally having better quality lenses than either the pocket camcorder or phone. So why blow your cash on a pocket camcorder?

creative vado hd 3rd gen

With the advent of the HD pocket cams though things have got far more interesting. While they are still the size of a mobile phone the technology is suddenly much better allowing the pocket cams to overtake the average mobile phone in terms of resolution and clarity.

Representing the third generation of it's HD pocket cam is Creative's Vado HD and it's an impressive little bundle.

Click to see this video in 720p HD

We liked:

This Vado HD is as sleek as they come with a great finish. It feels light, but is still reassuringly solid; definitely something you can sit happily in the breast pocket of your ski jacket confident you wont be emptying it out as shards of silicon at the end of the day.

The simple interface allows for easy one-button recording with a single big red button on the front.

Unfortunately it is surrounded by some awkwardly touch sensitive buttons controlling zoom and exposure. They're far too easy to press without meaning to.

The screen, though a decent two inches, is a little washed out and isn't as clear as other pocket cams we've tested, specifically the new Flip MinoHD 8GB. That said though, the actual output quality of the video is far superior.

vado hd

The Vado HD has also got an impressive wide-angle lens on the front giving it a far broader field of vision than the more expensive Flip camera.

The Vado HD will also double as a stills camera, hitting back at the digital stills cameras trying to muscle in on the video market. It's only capturing the images at the same 720p resolution but it's a handy extra feature.

Of course, you can always capture still frames from videos you've recorded via the simple, but effective software loaded onto the camcorder itself.

vado hd minohd compared

The Vado Central software loads when you plug in the Vado HD via the USB port and gives you access to the videos and images you've captured. It also gives you the option to trim down the videos, export them to your PC, email them or upload them to sites like YouTube and Facebook.

Impressively, it comes with a mini HDMI cable for hooking it up directly to a HD telly and a USB extension cable, something the pricier Flip MinoHD doesn't give you.

We disliked:

As we've said the touch sensitive buttons are a little over-sensitive and the screen is a little washed out, but there really is very little else not to like about the Vado HD.

Our only real problems came from the actual editing software which gave us a little choppiness in trimmed down versions of the video files in media player, VLC.

Verdict:

This 3rd generation of Creative's Vado HD makes an impressive outing.

It packs a surprising amount of functionality in something normally considered more of a toy than a proper camcorder.

The addition of an external mic jack (which also serves as the analogue TV out and headphone jack) and manual exposure settings make this a very functional little device indeed.

Tech Specs

Product TypeDigital Camcorder
Flash Memory Capacity4 GB
Maximum Video Resolution1280 x 720
Number of Image Sensors1
HDMIYes
Product FamilyVado HD
Recording MediaFlash Memory
Digital Zoom2x
Brand NameCreative
Screen Size5.1 cm (2")
Video FormatsMP4
Recording FormatsHD
Built-in DevicesMicrophone, Speaker
Maximum Frame Rate30 fps
Battery RechargeableYes
Battery IncludedYes
Maximum Battery Run Time2 Hour
Display Screen TypeLCD
Image Sensor TypeCMOS
Maximum Video Lines720
Progressive ScanYes
Height98.8 mm
Width57.6 mm
Depth15.8 mm
ColourBlack
Video SystemPAL
Image FormatsJPEG
ManufacturerCreative Technology, Ltd
Product Model73VF062400012
Product NameVado HD 3rd Gen Digital Camcorder
Product LineVado HD
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part Number73VF062400012
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://uk.europe.creative.com
Marketing Information

Capture life's beautifully candid moments with the Vado HD (3rd Gen) - the latest model in the award-winning Vado series of pocket video cameras! One light touch on the touch-sensitive buttons and you can start recording instantly in high-definition quality. Lightweight and extremely compact, enjoy up to 120 minutes of widescreen HD quality video on the move. Don't cramp your style with additional camera equipment as the Vado HD (3rd Gen) comes equipped with a photo feature that lets you shoot up to 7,000 of widescreen still shots.

Package Contents
  • Vado HD 3rd Gen Digital Camcorder
  • Rechargeable Li-Ion Battery
  • Quick Start Guide
Display Resolution153600 Pixel
Limited Warranty1 Year
Weight (Approximate)93 g