First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
Millennius Full HD Waterproof Seacam
Millennius Full HD Waterproof Seacam review: a flash memory camcorder for underwater use
- Affordable price, HDMI cable included in sales package, it floats!
- No optical zoom lens, video struggles in moderate lighting, confusing menu icons
If you're after a cheap camcorder that you can use underwater, the Millennius Full HD Waterproof Seacam is pretty hard to beat. On the downside, its video quality and zoom function are both a bit lacking.
Price$ 249.00 (AUD)
The Millennius Full HD Waterproof Seacam does exactly what it says on the tin: it's waterproof (up to a depth of three metres), records in Full HD (to SD memory cards) and is tailormade for seaside holidays. With an RRP of $249, it's also pleasantly affordable (by contrast, Sanyo's competing underwater cam, the Xacti VPC-CA100 retails for $549).
On the downside, the Millennius Full HD Waterproof Seacam isn't the best when it comes to video quality and it has a limited zoom. The icon-based menus can also be confusing at times, especially for novice users. Nonetheless, if you require a cheap secondary camcorder for beach outings, it will fit the bill nicely.
Millennius Full HD Waterproof Seacam: Design and connectivity
The first thing that stands out about the Millennius Full HD Waterproof Seacam is its bright yellow finish — a trait it shares with the Sanyo Xacti VPC-CA100. While this colour scheme isn't particularly stylish, it does help to keep the camcorder visible if you accidentally drop it.
Measuring 54.7x67.5x121mm and weighing in at around 300g, the Millennius Full HD Waterproof Seacam is fairly compact for a waterproof camcorder. Unlike the Sanyo Xacti VPC-CA100, it sports a traditional camcorder shape, complete with a faux-leather hand strap. Personally, we prefer the pistol-like Xacti VPC-CA100 — its one-handed design makes it easier to operate underwater. That said, many users find the Xacti design to be unnatural and difficult to get to grips with. (In other words, it's probably a good idea to try before you buy.)
Handily, the Millennius Full HD Waterproof Seacam floats in water. This sets it apart from the Sanyo Xacti VPC-CA100, which sank like a stone during testing. If you plan to use your camcorder in deep water and are afflicted by butterfingers, this is a significant advantage.
For connectivity, the Millennius Full HD Waterproof Seacam comes with a mini-HDMI output and a USB port that also doubles as a composite AV connection. Both ports are concealed beneath a watertight, flip-lock chamber, along with the battery and SD card slot.
Millennius Full HD Waterproof Seacam: Performance
To test the Millennius Full HD Waterproof Seacam, we shot a variety of footage both on land and at the local pool. We then played it back on a Pioneer KURO PDP-C509A plasma TV using the supplied HDMI cable. (While we're on the subject of HDMI cables, Millennius deserves a rousing cheer for including one in the sales package. This is something that most manufacturers refuse to bundle with their products, including top-tier vendors like Panasonic and Sony. Hurrah!)
In dim-to-moderate lighting, the Millennius Full HD Waterproof Seacam gave a below-average performance. Images were fuzzier than we're used too, especially when using the 720p and VGA modes. Results were slightly more favourable when we switched to 1080p — however, this disables the camera's 4x digital zoom. It's worth noting that the Millennius Full HD Waterproof Seacam does not offer an optical zoom, regardless of the shooting mode you elect to use. This is unfortunate as it restricts the type of close-ups you can achieve underwater (a school of fish are likely to scatter if you get too close, for example).
On the plus side, video quality looked quite good in sunny outdoor environments, which are the primary conditions most people will use this camcorder in (who goes swimming on a dark, cloudy day?) The camera's 14-megapixel still image mode is similarly reliant on bright lighting. While not particularly suitable for making prints, they should suffice for Facebook albums and the like.
Millennius Full HD Waterproof Seacam: Handling and functions
The Millennius Full HD Waterproof Seacam sports a four-way directional pad for making menu selections. We found it to be more responsive than the Sanyo Xacti VPC-CA100's sluggish interface. However, its reliance on textless icons can occasionally get confusing. Consequently, you will need to consult the user manual frequently while learning the ropes. In addition to dedicated underwater and macro modes, the Millennius Full HD Waterproof Seacam comes with four white balance options, a few digital effects, a night mode and a choice between 50Hz and 60Hz.
As mentioned, the Millennius Full HD Waterproof Seacam is waterproof to a depth of three metres. Like the Sanyo Xacti VPC-CA100, it can only be used underwater for 60 minutes at a time. (We're not sure whether this justifies the use of the phrase 'Seacam', but we'll let Millennius' cheeky marketing slide.)
In conclusion, the Millennius Full HD Waterproof Seacam is decidedly average in most areas. However, its underwater functionality and low price tag make it a worthwhile purchase.
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