Mini-camcorders such as the Flip Video Mino boast surprisingly decent video quality, but up to now the one thing that's been lacking has been the sound quality. Why, only the other day, we were recording a performance by our favourite band and the audio just wasn't good enough to
bootleg enjoy later in the privacy of our own home. The Zoom Q3 looks to change that. It features a pair of built-in high-quality stereo condenser mics, for a whopping audio resolution up to 24-bit/48kHz WAV, or 320Kbps MP3.
Features include a selectable X/Y microphone pattern, which can focus on individual instruments or capture the sound of the whole room. Perfect for picking out the band rather than the chaps at the bar who are planning to get their money's worth by talking the whole blinkin' way through.
The Q3 sports a 61mm (2.4-inch) screen, built-in USB cable, and support for SDHC memory cards up to 32GB. Power is supplied by two AA batteries, offering up to 2 hours of recording.
On the video front, the Q3 doesn't quite match up to the audio side of things, its YouTube-friendly 640x480-pixel resolution at 30fps falling short of the HD standard many other similar-sized shooters have reached. Still, it bodes well for future iterations from Zoom, with the technology from its excellent Zoom H4n portable audio recorders potentially shaking up the mini-camcorder territory owned by Flip and the likes of the Kodak Zi6.
The Zoom Q3 goes on sale to the public in September with a recomended retail price of £229, but Zoom UK reckon we'll see it widely available for around £199. Sound as a pound.