Creative Vado HD pocket camcorder
Creative Vado HD Offers Unique Features for a Pocket Camcorder
- Excellent low-light performance, wide-angle lens, exposure controls, earbuds can function as external mic
- No removable storage
The third-generation Creative Vado HD has the widest-angle lens of any HD pocket camcorder, as well as exposure controls and great low-light video quality.
In fact, the Creative Vado HD splits the difference between those two top-rated pocket camcorders, offering top-notch 720p footage in low light (like the Flip Mino HD) while sporting an external mic port and versatile in-camera settings (like the Kodak Zi8).
The Vado HD also has a wider-angle lens than those two chart-topping camcorders, as well as a pair of features I haven't seen in any pocket camcorder: exposure controls (you can ratchet up the brightness of your footage while filming, using a four-step EV adjuster), and a motion-detection mode that automatically starts recording when the camcorder senses movement in front of the lens.
The exposure adjustments are handy when you're dealing with low-light settings or other tricky shooting environments. In the following test clip, I adjusted the exposure values from dark to light (and back again) a few times to show the range of video brightness you can accomplish.
Another nice touch is the microphone-in jack, which lets you use standard earbuds as a microphone. It's a great option to have when you want to isolate your audio input. Don't expect full stereo recording when you're using earbuds as an external mic, however: In my tests, audio picked up clearly from one earbud, but not the other.
Head-to-head with the top-rated HD pocket camcorders, the new Vado HD fared very well. It's my pick for a go-to pocket camcorder if you're looking for a wide-angle lens; no other pocket camcorder I've tested (other than the first-generation Creative Vado HD) comes close to its wide-angle chops.
I shot all sample videos at the Creative Vado HD's highest-quality video resolution (720p, or 1280 by 720, at 30 frames per second). You can select a higher resolution for these sample clips by using the drop-down menu in the lower-right corner of the video player.
Wide-Angle Test: Creative Vado HD (Third Generation)
Wide-Angle Test: Flip Mino HD (Second Generation)
Wide-Angle Test: Kodak Zi8
In normal indoor lighting, colors in sample footage appeared very bright, but tended to look oversaturated. Footage shot with the Vado HD wasn't as sharp as video from the Flip Mino HD, but its colors were more vibrant. These test clips were shot with no exposure adjustments.
Video-Quality Test: Creative Vado HD (Third Generation)
Video-Quality Test: Flip Mino HD (Second Generation)
Video-Quality Test: Kodak Zi8
Low-light footage shot with the Vado HD was a bit murky, but among the best of the bunch in the pocket-camcorder category. Colors seemed a bit brighter than those in the Flip Mino HD's low-light footage, but the Mino HD's footage looked a little more sharp. All things considered, the Vado HD is the first pocket camcorder we've tested that rivals the low-light capabilities of the Flip line of camcorders.
Low-Light Test: Creative Vado HD (Third Generation)
Low-Light Test: Flip Mino HD (Second Generation)
The Creative Vado HD records MPEG-4 files to 4GB of internal storage, and your footage translates to about a megabyte per second at the highest video resolution (720p). As with most pocket camcorders, the rechargeable lithium-ion battery juices up via the same flip-out USB connector (on the bottom of the device, next to the tripod mount) that you use to offload clips from the Vado HD to your PC or Mac.
Operation is simple, and handled by a four-way, touch-sensitive directional pad that surrounds a centre record button on the back of the Vado HD. The touchpad--which controls the video playback, the exposure adjustments, and the Vado HD's smooth-operating 2X digital zoom--responds well (although I'd personally prefer physical buttons).
Occupying the edges of the device are three buttons and two ports: a power button, a video/still capture toggle button, a delete button, an external mic/headphone port on the top, and an HDMI-out port on the right side.
The 2-inch-diagonal LCD does its job, and offers decent visibility for shot composition in direct sunlight. The all-plastic frame is a better build than the first-generation Creative Vado HD, but it's still plastic and nowhere near as durable as the Flip Mino HD's casing. (That said, the diamond-pattern design on the front and back looks a lot sharper than the design of previous versions of the Vado.) You also don't get the macro/landscape toggle, removable storage, or 1080p shooting mode of the Kodak Zi8.
My buying advice: If you want a durable pocket camcorder that provides dead-simple operation and good low-light performance, opt for the Flip Mino HD. If you want 1080p footage, frame-rate controls, an external microphone input, and removable storage, choose the Kodak Zi8. If you want a wide-angle lens, exposure controls, an external mic input, and good low-light video, go for the third-generation Creative Vado HD. All three are excellent pocket camcorders, but the Creative Vado HD distinguishes itself with the best wide-angle capabilities of any HD pocket camcorder I've seen, excellent low-light video quality, a solid range of features, and a sub-$200 price.
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Moto G7 Plus review: Better where it counts
- 2 Nokia 9 PureView review: A flawed, ambitious, endearing flagship
- 3 Google Pixel 3a review: Less is more
- 4 Oppo A5Xs review: Cutting corners
- 5 Moto G7 review: The new gold standard for budget buyers
Latest News Articles
- Jabra try to reinvent the modern meeting room with new PanaCast plug-and-play solution
- Panasonic's powerhouse Lumix S1H can shoot in 6K at 24 frames-per-second
- D-Link locally launches Omna home surveillance hardware
- Ring expand local offering with new Stick Up Cam
- CES 2019: Arlo expand into the smart home, confirm Arlo Ultra pricing
PCW Evaluation Team
As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.
The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.
This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.
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
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.)
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!
- Everything you need to know before you buy a 5G phone in Australia
- Huawei P30 Pro: Full, in-depth review
- Computex 2019
- Everything you need to know about Smart TVs
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?