Creative Labs Vado HD 720p Pocket Video Camcorder Review

vado

As promised, here is my brief review of the new HD pocket camcorder I ordered a few weeks ago when Amazon had it as the gold box deal for just $130 (the current price fluctuates daily, but as of this writing it is $144 + $5.99 shipping, so about $150).

In short, I’m in love! Here are the things I really like:

1) The picture quality is amazing. We attached it to my parent’s 40 inch wide screen HD TV via the HDMI cord that comes with it (with the Flip Mino HD the cord must be purchased separately) and it looked perfect. No pixelation or fuzziness, just crisp clear and beautiful.

2) I love the widescreen 16:9 vs 4:3 ratio. Granted it’s going to make things difficult to mix these new videos with my old 4:3 videos in a video/slideshow, but moving forward I love the extra space.. it makes even our little home videos feel cinematic!

3) The included extras. I already spoke about the HDMI cord, but they also include a cable to extend the USB connection on the device. This comes in really handy if you have an older desktop that doesn’t have a front USB port. It also comes with a clear gummy protective case.

4) Size and weight: It’s tiny! Truly fits in your pocket.. or diaper bag without adding any weight. This is perhaps the best quality of any mini digicam vs. a traditional one.. you won’t ever feel like it’s too big to lug around or too hard to set up. It’s so easy to use that you will actually USE it.

5) Specs: It has twice as much storage (8GB) and twice as much playtime (2 hours) as the Mino HD but also costs less.

Here’s what I didn’t love so much:

1) The included software to make “movies” hangs and doesn’t work when I attempt to use the “create a movie” function which I think is meant to allow you to create movies with images etc. and also to mix two movies together.

I didn’t end up really needing it because most movies I just edit the start and end time and download to my computer (which this does fine) and upload as is. In the example movie below I wanted to put two clips together so I used Windows Movie Maker which comes installed on all windows machines or can be downloaded for free. (Just remember you need to go to Tools, Options and then click on the Advanced tab and select the 16:9 ratio rather than 4:3 and also PAL rather than NTSC. Otherwise you will end up with black bars on bottom and top and a squished ratio like I did here before I figured this out!)

The Bottom Line

All in all this is a very worthy upgrade from my non HD Flip and I recommend it without hesitation. If you don’t have any sort of camcorder then this is a great one to look into.. the price, quality and extras make it much more competitive than the comparable Flip.

Wouldn’t this make such a great group shower gift? What could be more wonderful than giving the gift of being able to capture all baby’s firsts to share with family and friends – in Widescreen HD no less!

Here is a video I made this weekend of Jasper using his new Walker.  Notice his excited squeals, he LOVES the independence of being able to “walk” and also is a bit of a speed junkie as you’re about to see..

Clearly an adrenaline junky.. it’s only going to get worse isn’t it? *Sigh*.

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ariana says:

Dee, what a great price!! Enjoy it :)

Dee says:

Hi Ariana,
just bought this yday, price on it dropped to $95 on amazon :) I do plan to get the Nikon D5000 which takes HD video but went ahead and ordered this anyways.
Thanks again for ur review

Sorelle says:

He said he isn’t sure but you may want to try re-installing the software

kari says:

Great video! Love your new gadget!
Liam has the same walker – although he hasn’t really used it to walk yet. Jasper is way more advanced in that department.

ariana says:

Sorelle, what a coincidence, wow!! Can you ask him why the software to create videos hangs? Such a great gift, you must be very popular at baby showers! ;)

Sorelle says:

hey! Not sure where my comment went sorry if this is posted again but I just wanted to say my husband designs Vados for creative! It’s our favourite gift for new parents! Glad you like it! I’m a long time reader but never commented before because I don’t have a baby just yet. IMHO Jasper is the cutest baby on the internets!

Sarah says:

He looks like a boy on a mission! He’s already stolen our hearts, so what could he be up to next??

Kaity uses her walker, but only to walk on her knees!! She is standing on her own, but no steps yet. I think I can wait for her to walk though. Our oldest was walking at 9 1/2 months!! Can you imagine!?!?!

Heather says:

Look at him go! Yay Jasper! The camera seems pretty handy!

Kimberly says:

So cute… I’m loving the widescreen video clips, and they’re so nice and clear! Jasper is seriously on the move! I’m sorry… I do suspect it’s only going to get “worse!” ;)

ariana says:

Jenn, that’s a good point I forgot, HD video definitely shows camera shake/motion more than low def. But I think outside I was walking around more which is why it’s more noticeable :) Keep in mind too that the version here is converted and compressed via the website that is hosting it, it looks way better on my computer/tv!

jenn says:

it may only be me, but it seems jerky while outside. once you were inside, it was not so jerky. as always, jasper is adorable!

priscilla says:

I love how he smiles at you when he’s “driving”

ariana says:

Leah, good point! Even the latest versions of my beloved Lumix point and shoot have the ability to do HD video, so might not be worth getting if you already have a camera that can do that. If yours doesn’t do HD and you like to make slideshows etc it might be worth upgrading. But if you are happy with the quality of the videos you have been making then why spend the money right?

Leah says:

hmmm…I will have to see about this. I have a digital camera that takes movies that I like, do you think it would still be worth while for me?
My daughter has that walker thing, I havent opened it yet but its good to see what it will do when I do! Jasper is getting so big!

Keri says:

I’m going to have to look into this! Our Sony is nice but not HD. Thanks for the review!

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