Zx1

The Kodak Zx1 is a welcome new weather-resistant addition to the HD pocket camcorder realm

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Kodak Zx1
  • Kodak Zx1
  • Kodak Zx1
  • Kodak Zx1

Pros

  • Compact, light, rubber casing

Cons

  • Fiddly controls, could do with a better zoom, slow to start up

Bottom Line

We liked the variety of shooting options on the ZX1 and its compact yet durable design. We would’ve liked to have seen more on-board memory or the provision of at least a modest SD card in the box, however. And while the footage we took looked good, we found the controls rather fiddly and their purpose not clearly marked. A better zoom would have boosted the good-looking Kodak’s score.

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The Kodak ZX1 closely resembles the Creative Vado HD and, with its metalised front, reminded us of the company’s Zen Micro MP3 players. Its red-on-black colouring, meanwhile, reminds us of props from Disney’s ‘Tron’ film.

More importantly, the Kodak ZX1 is an admirably compact camcorder — approximately a third smaller than the Kodak Zi6 — that tapers down to the bottom and fits naturally into a pocket. We took it on a fairly hectic cycle ride, through forests and down steep hills, where it had no problem capturing our descent. It’s not great at zooming though.

At 90g, the Kodak isn’t much of a burden. But, as with the Flip Video MinoHD, it’s slow to fire up and we occasionally found it didn’t want to switch on, causing us to miss the odd interesting bit of action.

We preferred the ZX1’s rubber casing to the scratch-prone examples found on several of its rivals. Kodak claims this casing makes the Kodak ZX1 weather-resistant, which is good news given the track record of the British summer.

The Kodak ZX1 has a 2in LCD screen and snags 1,280x720 footage at 30fps or 60fps. You can then view the results on an HD screen, thanks to the provision of an HDMI output alongside USB. You also get an AV connection and the cable to hook it up this way.

What we liked far less was that the Kodak ZX1 doesn’t really come with any internal memory. You can record approximately 15 secs before having to resort to an SD or SDHC Card. We were also surprised to find AA batteries powering this camcorder, which make it significantly heavier than the svelte Vado and Flip.

Unlike some of the other contenders, the ZX1 can take 3Mp stills as well as standard-definition and HD footage. The footage you end up with offers pretty good approximation, with colours turning out fairly natural and not too much overexposure.

Offering a lot of what we like about Kodak's Zi6 pocket camcorder, the Kodak Zx1 has a slicker, more durable frame.

Like the Kodak Zi6, the Kodak Zx1 has the ability to shoot 720p high-def video at either 30 or 60 frames per second and carries the very reasonable price of £121 inc VAT.

The Kodak Zx1 also shares some other nice features with the Kodak Zi6, such as the ability to shoot 3Mp stills (they look better than your standard mobile-phone camera's shots, but not by much); expandable storage via a covered SDHC card slot on the side (alas, there's no on-board storage; you must use an SDHC card); the ability to flip between those 30fps and 60fps rates; recording standard-def VGA video, as well; and recording all three video modes as H.264-encoded .mov files.

But the Kodak Zx1 isn't just the Kodak Zi6's guts in a smaller, ruggedised frame. First off, gone is the flip-out USB connector, which makes sense because it would probably snap off during your first snowboarding wipe-out. Instead, you must attach an included USB cable to the Zx1 to offload videos on to your computer.

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