HD Pocket Camcorders Go Head-to-Head

We compare the best ultraportable high-definition camcorders on the market

They may be tiny, but pocket camcorders are a gigantic force to be reckoned with, thanks to the rapid growth in popularity of Pure Digital's Flip line of video cameras. In 2007, nearly one million Flip cams were sold in the U.S. alone according to IDC Research, and an NPD Research report named Pure Digital's Flip Ultra the top-selling camcorder in that country last June.

Big-name companies are taking notice — Cisco ac­­quired Pure Digital for $590 million in stock in March, and major players are trotting out small, cell-phone-size pocket camcorders to chip away at the Flip's throne, armed with the same dead-simple operation, easy sharing features, and cross-generational appeal as Pure Digital's pioneering moviemaking device.

These ultraportable camcorders make uploading and sharing videos very simple, usually with flip-out USB connectors and on-board software. Though the clips lose a lot of quality once uploaded to the Web, the pocket camcorders tested here are all high-definition models. That gives you greater flexibility with the source video — you can choose to view it on an HDTV or upload it to an HD-friendly Web service.

None of these models can replace a fully-fledged HD video camera, of course (see the latest examples at our AV Enthusiast Centre). But you don't have to read a manual to use one, and all are built for quick-and-easy video sharing, are in the $100-$200 price range, and are small enough to tuck into a bag, pocket, or purse.

So can any of them beat the Flip Mino HD at its own game? We tested competing high-definition pocket camcorders from Creative Labs, Kodak, and Sony against the Flip to see which offered the best video quality, the most cinematic footage, the nicest feature set, and the most colorful clips.

In video quality, the Creative Vado HD outshone the competition, and its wider-angle lens is a great touch; but its microphone is one of the weakest. Flip's MinoHD is a great low-light performer and captures filmlike footage, albeit with a yellow tint; its rigid flip-out connector may not play well with your PC's USB-port arrangement. Sony's Webbie HD MHS-PM1 has the best feature set-for a great price, too — but its video quality is middling. Kodak's Zi6 and Zx1 offer the best frame-rate options, but the Zi6 often produced oversaturated colors, and the Zx1 has a weak microphone.

Here are links to the rest of this package:

Slideshow: HD Camcorders That Fit in Your Pocket

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tim Moynihan

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2019

This Holiday Season, protect yourself and your loved ones with the best. Buy now for Holiday Savings!

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?