Kodak Zx1 review: Kodak Zx1

CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Choice of recording modes. HDMI output. Uses AA batteries. Rugged design.

The Bad Digital zoom is laughably bad. Uses AA batteries. Controls are poorly labelled. No real on-board storage.

The Bottom Line Kodak's rugged portable video camera will appeal to outdoor shooters, once they get over the unit's strange controls.

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Design

If the early models of Motorola's RAZR and Nokia's mobile phone handsets were to engage in some kind of illicit affair, and somehow work out the differences between their competing interfaces, the mutant child that they'd come up with would look a lot like Kodak's Zx1 pocket video camera. The controls all lie on the face of the Zx1 and lack a lot of differentiation, but are clearly of the RAZR school of thought, while the body is just chunky in the classic Nokia candybar style. The Zx1 will fit in a pocket, it's true, but it'll take up the whole pocket, and in certain sleeker clothing you might look like you had some kind of hip-based tumour problem.

Our review sample came in a bright "pink rose" hue, but the colour isn't the interesting part of the Zx1's design. It's the deliberate decision Kodak's designers have made to make this an outdoor camera, from the solid body to the heavy rubber flaps that hide the output sockets and SDHC card slots. They're not totally waterproof, but they're certainly water resistant and moderately shockproof, making the Zx1 — at least from a design perspective — a good choice for active video shooters.

One unusual design decision that Kodak's taken with the Zx1 is the use of AA batteries. On the one hand, the use of AA makes the Zx1 a lot bulkier than it would otherwise need to be, and the supplied charger is exceptionally slow to build up juice. On the other hand, AA batteries are the very definition of ubiquitous, so if you do run out of power while you're out and about, chances are a cheap pair of AAs are never that far away.

Features

The Zx1 has a 1.6-megapixel CMOS sensor capable of video shooting in three modes. HD equates to a 16:9, 720p video at 30 frames per second, while HD60 offers 60fps, albeit with obvious and steep data costs. If you're just shooting for the lower-quality web, a VGA (640x480, 30fps) mode is also available, as is a largely pointless 3-megapixel still shooting option.

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Where to Buy

Kodak Zx1

Part Number: CNETKodak Zx1

Typical Price: $299.00

See manufacturer website for availability.