The Kodak Zx1 is a welcome new weather-resistant addition to the HD pocket camcorder realm
- Compact, light, rubber casing
- Fiddly controls, could do with a better zoom, slow to start up
We liked the variety of shooting options on the ZX1 and its compact yet durable design. We would’ve liked to have seen more on-board memory or the provision of at least a modest SD card in the box, however. And while the footage we took looked good, we found the controls rather fiddly and their purpose not clearly marked. A better zoom would have boosted the good-looking Kodak’s score.
Price$ 299.00 (AUD)
Lessening the sting for flip-out-USB fans is the addition of an HDMI-out port and cable; the Kodak Zx1 is the only HD pocket camcorder we've tested other than the Creative Vado HD that has HDMI-out, so it earns a couple of brownie points there.
Also gone from the Zi6's bag of tricks is the landscape/macro mode toggle. As such, the Kodak Zx1 doesn't handle extreme close-ups as well as the Kodak Zi6 does, but video quality in other areas has actually improved when compared with its pocketable HD sibling.
For one, white balance has improved a bit. In our test shots, the Kodak Zi6 sometimes cast a bluish hue over white backgrounds, but the Kodak Zx1 shot brighter, whiter video when we put it through the same paces.
Kodak also seems to have fixed the colour-oversaturation problems we sometimes saw in the Kodak Zx1, but video looks a bit darker than most other pocket HD camcorders, even in bright indoor lighting.
The Kodak Zx1 also performed better in low light than the Zi6; that said, footage wasn't as smooth, and a bit choppier than our best low-light performer, Pure Digital's Flip Video MinoHD.
When its 2x digital zoom is zoomed out to its widest potential, the Kodak Zx1 is also in line with most other pocket camcorders. It offers the same wide-angle lens as the Zi6 and rivals such as the Flip MinoHD.
Perhaps the most noticeable difference when compared with the Zi6 - and with every other pocket camcorder — is the Kodak Zx1's weak microphone. The Kodak Zi6 has a great on-board microphone — the best we've heard in terms of volume and clarity - but the Zx1's microphone is at the bottom of the pack.
It had trouble picking up softer sounds in our standardised audio testing, perhaps because the mic is now on the top of the Kodak Zx1, rather than on the front of the device.
The Kodak Zx1 looks great and feels great in the hand; it kind of resembles a Nokia candy-bar phone on human growth hormones. It's far less bulky than the Kodak Zi6, with a hard plastic front and a slick, brushed-metal back. Under its 2in LCD screen, which handled all lighting conditions well, are control buttons cut out of the metal: a record button in the centre, a four-way directional pad to control its 2x digital zoom and frame-rate options, and four dedicated buttons for deleting clips, starting and stopping playback, and jumping back into recording mode.
Helping its looks are its various colour schemes: you can buy the Kodak Zx1 in red, blue, pink, yellow, or black.
What's more, you can also swap out the Kodak Zx1's faceplate with a second designer battery cover included with the camcorder. Also in the box are a nice offering of accessories: an HDMI cable, a USB cable for offloading your clips to a computer, a plug-in battery charger (with two rechargeable AA Ni-MH batteries), a wrist strap, and a soft carrying pouch.
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