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Video Cameras

Vivitar DVR390H

It's a bird, it's a plane ... no, it's a 6-in-1 recorder/player. Wait for it, this portable device is a MPEG4 video camera, digital still camera, MP3/MP4 player, TV/video recorder, digital stills frame and voice recorder all wrapped into one.

Upside
Vivitar (distributed in Australia by Ricoh) takes convergence electronics up another level from the smaller Vivitar eek, with its DVR390H. This unit adds TV/video recording and digital photo frame capabilities on top of the eek's combination of a MPEG4 video camera, digital still camera, MP3 player and voice recorder.

It has storage capacity of 20 Gigabytes of onboard memory and SD card compatibility. Coupled with a long-life lithium-ion battery, Ricoh says it can capture 15 hours of VGA movies, 24,000 high quality still images and more than 5000 MP3 music files. The mains cradle unit further expands functionality with AV-in and out, USB and microphone connectivity.

Using the small detachable camera/camcorder module (40mm wide x 71mm long x 30mm deep), the DVR 390H captures MPEG4 video in both VGA and XVGA formats. It can record video from virtually any video source including TV, VCR and DVD. With its large storage capacity and a 3.6 inch LPTS TFT LCD screen with five levels of brightness control, users can easily store movies, videos or TV programs and view them when convenient. And using the microphone input connection, the DVR 390H also functions as a voice recorder.

The combined 3.1-Megapixel digital still camera features a 270-degree swivel lens, a macro lens of 0.7m to 1.4m and a 2x digital zoom.  User friendly features include variable quality settings, a self-timer with 10-second delay, built-in flash with red eye reduction and optional date stamping.

The large screen enables the DVR 390H to function as a digital photo frame. With the device in its cradle for continuous AC power, you can select the slide show format to cycle through stored photos.

In addition, the DVR 390H stores and plays MP3 music files through its built-in speaker or the included headphones. It is PC and Mac compatible and also comes with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, charger, AC adapter and a software package that includes Photo Suite, WIN DVD Creator and Muvee Auto Producer.

Downside
On the face of it, the biggest drawback to all this functionality may just be the price you have to pay; it is after all a portable device that will never replace the recording and playback devices you have in your lounge room. And its usability will always be constrained by battery life - Ricoh says the unit will manage three to four hours of video playback before you'll need to recharge.

Outlook
The DVR 390H looks like a great holiday device. You can watch movies on road trips - just bring extra batteries if you want to watch more than one movie. And with all of its added camera/camcorder and audio capabilities, it will certainly be competitive with products like the Sony MV-65ST DVD Station.

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