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Uniden UDC-7M review: Uniden UDC-7M

The UDC-7M is an entry level snapshooter that offers ease of use and long battery life for a low price, but is let down by sub par photo quality.

Zennith Geisler
3 min read

Probably better known for manufacturing cordless phones and other wireless products, Uniden has extended its product group to include a vast range of consumer electronics, including digital cameras. Offering a 5- and 7-megapixel model, both with 2.5-inch LCD and 3x optical zoom, we chose the latter to put through its paces.


Uniden UDC-7M

The Good

Affordable. Simple operation. Good battery life.

The Bad

Cheap build quality. Poor image quality. No included accessories.

The Bottom Line

The UDC-7M is an entry level snapshooter that offers ease of use and long battery life for a low price but is let down by sub-par photo quality.

The Uniden UDC-7M is a compact, yet boxy snapshooter with a plain design. Measuring 55.5mm by 91mm by 21.1mm (H x W x D) and weighing 120 grams (without battery or memory card) it is small and light enough to compete with many other digital compacts in size, if not in flair. The UDC-7M is quite sturdy and robust, though it is made of plastic, giving it a fairly cheap look.

Available in four colours (silver, black, red and blue) with silver contrasting, the UDC-7M sticks to the basics with a somewhat industrial look achieved by a circular imprint and faux rivets positioned next to the lens, almost as if to balance the design. Along the top are the shutter and the power buttons. While its handy to be able to hold the camera with one hand, turn it on and shoot with a quick move of your finger, there is the potential hazard of turning off the unit when going to take a shot, and vice versa.

The left side of the unit houses the DC input and AV output while the right side is shared by the memory card slot and battery compartment. The layout on the back of the camera is also fairly standard with the 2.5-inch LCD taking pride of place, leaving just enough room for controls to run down the right-hand side. As with many snapshooters, there is no optical viewfinder. Zoom controls sit on the top right, above a dedicated play button for reviewing your shots and playing back video. A four-way directional pad manages the flash, timer, movie controls and scene modes. More dedicated buttons sit below, one for the menu system and another for trash. A standard tripod mount is built into the bottom of the unit.

For its price, Uniden includes an impressive array of features on the UDC-7M. The 7-megapixel unit features 3X optical and 4X digital zoom, as well as six white balance modes and light sensitivity ranging from ISO 80 to ISO 800 (and ISO 3200 -- lamp mode).

The 15 scene modes include common offerings such as Auto, Sports, Portrait, Fireworks, Beach and Vivid, as well as a few more interesting ones like Still Photo Image with Audio, Blur-Reduction and Face Chaser (which recognises faces in the frame and locks them into auto-focus). The QuickTime movie mode produces videos with a resolution of up to 640x480, at a speed of 30fps.

The UDC-7M performed quite well in terms of utilising its functions. Menus were easy to navigate, and we had no issues that required resorting to the instruction manual. Start-up time and shutter lag were not very impressive, definitely not among the quicker compacts we've seen, though shot-to-shot time fared a little better at about two seconds. One quirk we found was the placement of the burst mode -- included in a menu accessible through the movie mode button, we found it illogical and stumbled upon it accidentally. Once found though, the two frame per second function lived up to its promise, though again not the fastest available.

Battery life on the Uniden UDC-7M was excellent, living up to its claim of 300 shots per charge with the included lithium ion battery. We were quite impressed with this result, especially as there is no optical viewfinder to use as an alternate to the LCD in order to save power.

Image Quality
Image quality is where the UDC-7M let us down. Our photos were soft, and often blurred. They looked decent enough on the camera's LCD, but when downloaded and viewed at full size, were quite disappointing. Colours were not truly represented, though when using the Black and White and Sepia settings, our results improved slightly. Image noise was significant as we increased the ISO settings, which is expected, but we felt the UDC-7M produced more noise than was acceptable.

As Uniden's first foray into the digital camera space, the UDC-7M could be worse. Good features and easy operation for a low price make it seem like a good deal, but until the image quality issues are ironed out, there are better offerings out there for the same price -- or less.