Creative Labs found a niche in the quickly growing pocket camcorder space by bringing out models that cost less than its competitors but offered many of the same features. To a degree, the same holds true for its latest model, which Creative simply calls the Vado HD 3rd Gen.
This model offers 720p HD resolution, 4GB of built-in memory, and an HDMI output in a compact, stylish package that weighs a mere 3.3 ounces. It lists for $179, significantly less than the second-generation Flip Video MinoHD and about the same as the rival Kodak Zi8, which requires you to purchase an additional memory card because it lacks any real internal memory. Your color choices are white, purple, black, blue (cyan), and red.
Though attractive, the Vado 3rd Gen doesn't feel quite as durable as the heavier Kodak Zi8 or the metal-bodied second-generation Flip MinoHD, and since it has a shiny finish, it does seem prone to scratches. As is typical of this class of camcorders, the design is pretty basic: the operating side features a large 2-inch LCD (640x240 pixels) with only a single record button flanked by capacitive touch buttons that are quite responsive.
On its side you'll find a Mini-HDMI port for outputting video to HDTVs, though no cable is included. At the bottom, there's a threaded tripod mount and flip-out USB connector for uploading and charging via a PC. Finally, on top, you'll notice a headphone jack that also accepts optional external microphones.