Of all the budget minicamcorders released in 2008, RCA's Small Wonder Traveler EZ210 may be the oddest duck of the bunch. It has some things going for it: SD card support up to 8GB; a large, sharp 2.5-inch LCD display; and a "rugged" exterior that can presumably help the Traveler--now made by Audiovox--survive some short falls. It's also fairly affordable, with a street price of less than $100. However, it's somewhat bulky, rather ungainly looking, and suffers from a couple of other design issues.
Like other Small Wonder camcorders, this model uses two standard AA batteries instead of a slim lithium ion rechargeable battery found in the Creative Vado or Flip Video Mino. The 6.5-ounce Traveler EZ210 is also bigger because it houses the 2.5-inch LCD on its backside. Unlike that of other Small Wonder models, the Traveler's screen doesn't flip out. It's also worth mentioning that the operational buttons on this model are slightly bigger than those found on other minicamcorders. A button for snapping low-resolution still images (think cameraphone quality) has been added to the mix.
Perhaps the strangest design choice is the inclusion of a mysterious piece of detachable plastic at the top of the unit. Could it be to protect the lens if the camera should fall? Or is it sort of a modified lens hood that helps you avoid lens flare? Apparently, neither answer is correct. Rather, the manual refers to the piece as a "carrying handle." You can then attach a "neckstrap" to the handle but only a handstrap is included in the box. The company also includes a lens cover, which is thoughtful, but also a little odd. While we suppose the lens cap adds a degree of ruggedization that other minicamcorders don't have, chances are it will get in the way while you're shooting since it dangles from a cord you attach to the bottom of the camera. Of course, you can simply not use the cap.
That carrying handle poses another design problem. With the Small Wonder EZ200 and EZ205, the USB connector is cleverly hidden underneath the LCD. However, with this model, you have to take off the carrying handle to extend the USB connector arm. That's just annoying.
On a more positive note, the camcorder ships with a 2GB SD card that slips into a slot in the battery compartment--you have to remove the camcorder's front cover to get to both the batteries and memory card. You can buy an additional memory card to have on hand in case you fill up the camera with video on a longer vacation--or you can simply buy a much higher capacity card (up to 8GB) if you want to be able to store several hours of video. As it stands, 2GB stores about 60 minutes of video at the HQ high-quality setting. You can record at the lower quality Web Sharing setting, but we recommend sticking to HQ.
As with previous models, you can delete undesirable clips right away, and the EZ210 provides a video output and bundled cable, so you can view clips on any TV with a composite-video input. As noted, two AA batteries power the unit and it comes with an inexpensive felt protective carrying case, as well as a USB extender cable.