Kodak Zx1 camcorder - First Look review

2008 saw Kodak enter the pocket camcorder market with the launch of the Zi6. Just 4 months on and the company has already updated its first model with the Zx1. So should you get excited about the new improvements? We took a gander at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

A new model means a new design with the only similarities being that you use it vertically. It is now a bit more rubbery and comes in five colours - black, red, pink, blue and yellow - with the screen, previously 2.4-inches being shrunk to a mere 2-inches - the same size as the Creative Vado.

The new rugged design gives you the feeling that dropping it - as we did on the show floor - isn't going to be the disaster that it could have been with the first model. It bounced by the way.

Under that screen you’ll find the buttons have been enlarged, flattened and made slightly more complicated. The record button is still central to the arrangement and the software is still as easy as ever to use, however you will have moments where you'll say "I wonder what this button does?"

Elsewhere on the casing Kodak has ditched the flip-out USB dongle and replaced it with a HDMI socket instead. The move means that you'll need to lug a USB cable with you wherever you go, however, it does mean that you can quickly share your video on an HD ready TV as long as you can find an HDMI cable.

It also means that without a large mechanical pop-out, the device can be somewhat waterproof, well splashproof at least.

On the battery front, Kodak has ditched the two AA batteries in favour of a rechargeable option, a plus or minus depending on how you see it. To capture all your content, there is a SD/SDHC card slot for memory cards up to 32GB, meaning you can record up to 10 hours of HD video.

Looks are one thing but what about performance? Well you'll still get the 720p recording function as found in the Zi6 and this records at both 60fps and 30fps.

Once you've recorded your footage you can transfer it to YouTube thanks to the built-in software and all you need to do is plug it into a PC, making this all very easy.

Verdict

Kodak had the leading edge with the Zi6 when it launched last year against the Creative Vado and Flip Mino however that edge is being lost fast.

Creative now have the Vado HD offering 8GB of built-in memory compared to the zero GB of memory here, whilst the Flip Mino HD gives you 4GB, and Sony has announced that it is entering the market as well with its range of Webbie camcorders.

Our brief play was promising, however with the market heating up it's not going to be an easy win for Kodak.

The Kodak Zx1 is due out in the US in April for $149.99. No UK launch date or price has been set as yet.