If you've been reading any of the gadget blogs lately, you're probably already aware that Flip Video has a new pocket camcorder called the SlideHD. The new product was leaked last week by a Best Buy employee in advance of its official April 13 launch (it also didn't help that Best Buy was selling the camcorder before it was officially supposed to launch).
Anyway, the SlideHD is here, and it represents an interesting move for the company, which is now owned by Cisco. Instead of adding more shooting features, a wireless option, or releasing a lower-priced model, Flip has gone with a camcorder that adds more playback features, thanks to a generous 3-inch wide-screen touch-enabled LCD that "slides" up at angle. The $279 SlideHD also comes with 16GB of internal memory, which allows you to capture up to 4 hours of HD video; that's double the storage capacity of previous Flip models.
In shifting to a touch screen, Flip has reduced the number of hard buttons. Like you do with a lot of other mobile video devices and smartphones, you control the camcorder by touching virtual buttons onscreen and play back content by simply touching its thumbnail image. In our early tests with the SlideHD, we found the screen to be responsive, but it doesn't have that buttery smooth responsiveness of the iPhone 3GS, iPod Touch third generation, or the iPad, all of which have capacitive touch screens. Also, though the screen resolution is fairly sharp, it's not on par with the resolution of Apple's portable devices or Microsoft's Zune HD.
Why did Flip decide to go in this direction? Well, company reps informed us in a meeting last month that its customers told them they wanted to be able to shoot and store a lot of videos (and snapshots) on the device, then be able to share them with friends and family on the road without hooking the device up to a TV or computer. Fair enough.
To accommodate this new vision, not only has Flip preloaded its user-friendly FlipShare software onto the camcorder, but it's also added Flip Channels to the device itself, which allows you to synchronize and store video that others have shared with you. Since that video is compressed for sharing, you can actually store up to 16 hours of videos from your Flip Channels right on the SlideHD.
"It's like having your own portable life book for spontaneous viewing anywhere," Flip says in its marketing materials. "SlideHD's 3-inch wide-screen playback makes it ideal for many occasions such as entertaining the kids with their own personal video show or fine-tuning a tennis serve."
Alas, you can't store any other kind of video on your Flip (it doesn't play back AVI files, for example). And those of you comparing features with competing models like Kodak's Zi8 should take note that Flip decided not to add a macro mode (for close-ups), an expansion slot for additional memory, some form of image stabilization, or an input for an external microphone. In fact, we were told that aside from added memory, the technical specs of the SlideHD were essentially identical to the company's popular Ultra HD model, which retails for about $100 less.
In terms of design, what's interesting is that the because the camcorder has two-tone coloring (white/silver), when you look at it in profile it seems bigger than the Ultra HD, when the two models are actually the same size. (Both the first and second-generation versions of the Mino HD are more compact).
Product specs:… Read more
Geeks.com has the Sanyo Xacti VPC-ZH1 720p camcorder for $149.99. That is after applying coupon code ZH1R at checkout and adding about $11 for shipping to the cost.
This deal came to my attention on Friday, so there's a good chance it will sell … Read more
When Canon announced its first pro MPEG-2 codec last February, it was obvious the company was finally readying solid-state products for its professional camcorder line, and, sure enough, the company followed up with a couple of models to supplement/replace its two-year-old HDV models, the XH G1S and XH A1S. The new CompactFlash-friendly XF300 and XF305 offer more compact, but heavier, redesigned bodies with some vastly improved features.
Of course, the main attraction is the move to CompactFlash--they support UDMA--with dual slots. (There's an SDHC slot on the bodies, but that's probably just for transferring settings.) The new … Read more
However, more serious moviemaking requires more serious hardware, and the pocket cams really don't have the right stuff. You need a larger camera, one with a lot of bells, whistles, and pixels.
Abe's of Maine has the Sanyo Xacti VPC-FH1 1080p camcorder for $379.95 with free shipping. You get that price by applying the LOYALTY10 coupon code at checkout.
Bells? Whistles? Pixels? The VPC-FH1's got 'em in spades. For starters, it captures full 1080p … Read more
After a long absence from the U.S. consumer imaging market, Toshiba has bravely girded itself to reenter the battle in one of the more crowded, confusing categories: budget HD camcorders. Starting small, with three models that have been shipping overseas for about nine months, the company plans to carve a niche for itself by piggybacking on its laptop and consumer electronics distribution channels and via bundling and promotion opportunities.
The three initial products--the company plans to introduce more later this year--are the Camileo S20, a $180 pistol-grip YouTube model (like Sony's Bloggie MHS-CM5); the Camileo H30, a $250 5X zoom traditionally styled model (like the DXG-A80V HD); and the $400 Camileo X100, a 10X zoom model that supports up to 60fps 1080pi (competing against models like the Samsung HMX-R10).
What are their prospects? Well, the S20 faces stiff competition, especially since most of its direct competitors--which I consider pistol-grip models, not candybar designs like the Flips--offer a 5X zoom lens compared with the S20's fixed focal length. (Plus, they usually come in multiple colors, but Toshiba is sticking to basic black in the states, at least for a little white.)
The X100 will have to match slightly pricier but usually poor-performing entrants from weightier brands like Canon and Sony, so who knows? The middle H30, on the other hand, will live in a price segment awash with lesser standard-definition options and the occasional Sanyo or DXG model and thus might prove attractive.… Read more
Panasonic's 2010 standard-definition camcorders all feature a 70x zoom lens (as did its 2009 models). That's a long range that I'm still not sure is entirely useful for most people. Mostly because you really need to have it on a tripod or other stable support so that the video isn't a nauseatingly shaky mess. That, and it's a little creepy that you can capture video of someone blocks away without their knowledge. On the other hand, you can do fun stuff like capture a movie of the moon with fairly good detail.
This video was … Read more
Introduced at CES 2009, the Sony Handycam HDR-XR200V has subsequently been replaced by the HDR-XR350V. The 2010 model incorporates a larger, backside-illuminated Exmor-R sensor--the newer sensors have displayed much better low-light video quality when tested in other models, like the HDR-CX520--as well as a larger 160GB hard drive. The lens is a bit shorter, however: 12x compared with the XR200V's 15x.
If you're looking for something at the same street price of the older XR200V, the 120GB XR150 uses the same sensor as the XR350V and goes a bit overkill on the 25x lens. However, it doesn'… Read more