RCA Small Wonder EZ201 review: RCA Small Wonder EZ201

If you decide to e-mail a clip, the program automatically compresses the video to reduce the file size. Even short clips (from 20 to 30 seconds) result in nearly 1MB e-mail attachments, but the beauty of the software is that you can shoot a video and send it off in less than 5 minutes by pressing just a few buttons. Recipients simply click on the attachment and play it back using Windows Media Player.

New this year for RCA is its partnership with Box.net, the video-sharing service. Instead of sending your video files as e-mail attachments, which tend to clog up in-boxes when they're bigger than 2MB, you can easily upload a file to Box.net--signing up for a free account with a username and password takes less than a minute--and send out an e-mail notification to a host of recipients. As part of the upload process, your video file is compressed even further, compared to the file created for an e-mail attachment, so the quality isn't quite as good--but for most folks viewing a streamed file in a YouTube-like viewing box is more convenient than opening an e-mail attachment. That said, users do have the option of downloading and saving the video to their PCs or Macs (yes, Mac users can view the streamed video).

If you're really lazy--or truly technophobic--you still have the option of bringing the camera to any CVS, Rite Aid, or Ritz/Wolf Camera store that processes Pure Digital's $30 single-use digital camcorder. The folks there will make a DVD of your footage for $10. RCA also will be releasing an optional DVD docking and recording system for the EZ201 called the RCA Memory Maker, eliminating the need for a PC to burn your videos to DVD.

Last year, we noted that the RCA's earlier EZ101 offered only so-so video and had a few shortcomings. The biggest problem was an audible clicking sound whenever you pressed the button to zoom in or out (it's a 2x digital zoom). RCA has fixed this problem, but just be warned that the built-in mic is pretty sensitive and will pick up any extraneous noises you make when handling the camera. Ultimately, it's also probably a good idea to avoid using the zoom altogether. Since it's a digital zoom rather than optical, the picture degrades slightly when you zoom. You're better off "manually" zooming by physically moving closer or further away from your subject.

While the Small Wonder's image quality is far from stellar, for most folks it's going to be good enough--and the simplicity of the product is certainly very appealing. Throw in the memory expansion slot and a sub-$100 price, and we have no problem recommending this camcorder to anybody looking for a quick and easy way to share video.

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date May 10, 2007
  • Optical Sensor Type CMOS
  • Width 2.5 in
  • Depth 1 in
  • Height 4.5 in
  • Weight 3.5 oz