Shoot 1080p video with $149 digital camcorder

Lights! Camera! Aiptek's Action high-def pocket shooter gets a price drop.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
The Aiptek Action can record 1080p video at 30fps or 720p at 60fps. Walmart

In the market for a digital camcorder? You could spend $179.99 on one of those Flip Video Minos, which let you record a whopping 60 minutes of YouTube-quality video. Or you could pay $149 for the Aiptek Action, which records hours' worth of HD (up to 1080p) video on inexpensive memory cards. Hmmm...

Yep, sounds like a no-brainer to me. The Action is a slim, pocketable camcorder (and 8-megapixel camera) with a swiveling 2.4-inch LCD and an SD slot that accommodates cards up to 32GB. It captures video in H.264 format, which you should have no trouble editing in programs like Pinnacle Studio. And it includes a 3X optical zoom and component-video outputs for connecting directly to your HDTV.

I haven't tried the Action myself, but Walmart buyers collectively rated it four stars out of five. (That's significant because the Action is available only at Walmart.) However, while video quality was reported to be quite good, still photos come out mediocre at best. I'm more concerned with the lack of an optical zoom.

Walmart's product page is annoyingly light on details, but you can get the full scoop on the Action at Aiptek's site. This could be a great "starter" HD camcorder, or even a secondary one for two-camera shoots. I must confess to a misguided love for the aforementioned Mino, which is tiny and drop-dead simple to use, but for less money you can get a major bump in pixel count. Like I said, kind of a no-brainer...