Well, I am about to buy an HD camera/camcorder so I figured I’d do a market analysis (or review) of all the HD camera/camcorders out there that are under $200.
For one, I am looking for following qualities in an HD camera:
- HD quality (at least 720P) videos – I want to be able to record high-res videos that I can also upload to high-res video websites.
- Ability to use SD cards for extra memory or a hard disk – I don’t want a fixed internal memory, that’d make the camcorder completely useless if I am on a boat and I run out of memory. (No, I don’t want to bring my laptop with me everywhere I go.)
- Price – I want to bang for my dollar, I am sure you would want that too. I don’t really feel like spending over $200 on an HD camera.
- Size – At least I want the HD camera to fit in my hands easily and it’s portable. I don’t want something too big that I can’t take along on a world travel.
That said, let me review couple of HD cameras that might be candidates or not:
Flip Mino HD
First, I looked into the Flip Mino HD, which is probably the smallest-sized HD camera out there but the downfall is that you cannot use an external memory card. After recording 60 minutes of HD video, your Flip basically becomes “useless” until videos have been transferred to your PC. I can’t believe the guys making Flip didn’t think of this, 8GB internal memory is great but still a joke for recording 1+ hours of video.
- Small-size, you can practically carry it and capture while you snowboard, ski, or whatever.
- 720P HD
- No external memory
- No contrast/lighting controls
- Crude Camcorder functions – Mini isn’t supposed to be a full-out camcorder, that’s why it’s a “Minooo”.
Aiptek A-HD+ 1080P
I have never heard of Aiptek before but this new 1080P digital camcorder is affordable, accepts SD cards, and price is actually cheaper than the Flip MinoHD. Aiptek also has a 720P version for about $130 but I’d probably spend $20 more on the 1080P version.
- 1080P HD resolution, this will be perfect for playing your home videos on your HDTV or even uploading great resolution videos to YouTube and other video sites.
- Priced at just over $150, I don’t see how you can go wrong with this one. You can always buy a new one if you lose it or break it so you feel okay to throw this around normal duties.
- Size is pretty small too, not bulky and will be slightly bigger than your average digital camera
- You can fit up to a 32GB SDHC card, that’s a lot of recording time and you can get bunch of them for even longer recording times.
- Aiptek isn’t a proven brand for camcorders
DXG 720P HD Camera
The DXG HD 720P digital camcorder might be the cheaper, better clone of the Flip Mino series. I tend to like the fact that you can actually use external memory on this one and price is a real bargain at just over $100.
If you are too serious about videos you are taking and you want to spend the least, this might just do the job perfect as you won’t have to break your arm or legs to get one.
- Size is really small, portable.
- 720P HD with external memory slot, you don’t need to be stuck with 60 minutes unlike the Flip series.
- Again, like the Flip, these’s no advanced controls for advanced video control. (Did I say that right? You get the idea.)
Kodak Zi6 Pink Camcorder
If you are a pink-color-lover, you might want to consider the Kodak Zi6. Aside from being pink, this little beast can do 720P and has external memory slot for SD cards.
- Pink, a favorite color among females, could be good gift
- 720P HD
- External memory accepted
- Small, portable size
- Maybe pink isn’t your color.
Sony Webbie HD Camcorder
Sony has been always on top of their digital goods and the Sony Webbie HD camcorder is a good one with 1080P resolution and external memory slots for Sony memory cards. If you already own bunch of Sony cameras with Sony memory, this might be a great way to use your extra memory.
As for me, I can’t stand Sony’s proprietary memory cards that are not really standardized by the industry, I will stick with SD cards.
- Size is kinda big, won’t fit in your pocket.
- 1080P HD videos are no problem
- External memory
- 3 colors to choose from: Purple, Metal, and Orange.
- External memory must be Sony. Boo. That’s the only turnoff for me.
Well, Amazon has always been a good source for low prices and they are constantly changing so if you want to check out the latest and best digital camcorders, check this out too.
As for me, I think I might just go with the Aiptek. For $150 and all the camcorder features I need, this might just do the job. 1080P, 43 reviews on Amazon mostly positive, SD card external memory upto 32GB, and will fit in my pocket.
I am just glad I didn’t spend $299 at Wal-mart yesterday on an oversized Samsung that was really “outdated”.
Don’t ever buy stuff retail, especially electronic goods at mass-retailers, without first doing your homework online. You will be glad you read this blog post, now you know what features are important to a hacker, maker, and DIYer such as me.