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Record HD video with the Aiptek A-HD digital camcorder, $120 shipped

Amazon and Circuit City have the Aiptek A-HD digital camcorder on sale for $120 shipped. It records 720p video on inexpensive SD cards.

The Aiptek A-HD records 720p video on inexpensive SD cards. Aiptek

In the market for a digital camcorder? You could spend $179.99 on one of those Flip Video Ultras, which let you record a whopping 60 minutes of YouTube-quality video. Or you could pay $119 for the Aiptek A-HD, which records hours' worth of high-definition (720p) video on inexpensive memory cards. Hmmm...

Yeah, talk about a no-brainer. The A-HD is a slim, pocketable camcorder (and 5-megapixel camera) with a swiveling 2.4-inch LCD and an SD slot that accommodates cards up to 8GB (good for about 4 hours of HD video--get one here for a measly $28). It captures video in H.264 format, which you should have no trouble editing in programs like Pinnacle Studio Plus 11. And it includes component-video outputs for connecting directly to your HDTV.

I haven't tried the A-HD myself, but I can tell you it has a few limitations--most notably its lack of an optical zoom. According to various user reviews, it falters when capturing fast-moving subjects, and it's not particularly good at recording audio. (Speaking of reviews, watch this unintentionally hilarious one on YouTube.)

Despite these weak spots, the A-HD could be a great starter HD camcorder, or even a secondary one for two-camera shoots. You can get it for $119.99 shipped from Amazon. Circuit City has it for the same price, though you'll likely have to pay sales tax as well. Even so, this is without a doubt the best deal you're likely to find on an HD camcorder. The Cheapskate is mighty tempted.