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RCA releases 'HD' version of Small Wonder budget camcorder

RCA has introduced the Small Wonder EZ300HD, the high-end model in its Small Wonder budget camcorder line. This model offers an HD capture mode.

The EZ300HD has an HD shooting mode--but don't expect true HD quality.

Got a look at RCA's new EZ300HD Thursday and at first touch it appears to be a significant step up from the other budget camcorders in the company's Small Wonder line.

The highlights here are a 720p (1280x720) HD shooting mode, a 2.4-inch LCD with "improved viewing in bright sunlight," and a swiveling lens that gives you more flexibility when shooting. The 2GB of built-in memory gives you one hour of recording time in HD mode or six hours of recording time in the lower-resolution YouTube capture mode. The EZ300HD is powered by a rechargeable lithium ion battery pack and its memory can be expanded by purchasing a higher-capacity SD card.

On paper at least, the EZ300HD matches up well with Kodak's Zi6, which also bills itself as an HD camcorder. We had this to say about that model: "The Kodak Zi6 is technically an HD camcorder the way a tomato is technically a fruit: it meets the definition, but doesn't deliver the experience. True, the Zi6 records video in 1,280x720-pixel resolution at both 30 frames per second and 60fps--720p resolution--which technically qualifies it as an HD camcorder, but a lot of factors go into creating an image, not just a CMOS sensor capable of capturing an image at a certain resolution and frame rate."

We assume the same will be true of the Small Wonder EZ300HD, but as usual, we'll reserve final judgment until we get a review sample. At least the EZ300HD is less expensive than the Kodak Zi6, which currently costs about $175. The EZ300HD carries a list price of $159.99, but according to the PR rep, it will be sold at Circuit City for $130.