Creative's Vado Pocket Video Cam is a pocket video camera that's slim and relatively inexpensive, and holds plenty of footage.
But while the Creative Vado has a generous feature-set and a nice display, the Creative device's video quality isn't all that good. That might not be a deal-breaker for price-savvy YouTube moviemakers, however, because the Vado has a lot of other things going for it.
The Creative Vado is a tiny, bare-bones camcorder with a flip-out USB connector; you use it to upload your clips to YouTube or Photobucket, with one click. High-def fanatics, check your 1080p dreams at the door: this iPod-size device is built for sticking in your pocket or bag, shooting video on the go, and then easily uploading your low-quality footage. On that front, mission accomplished.
The Creative Vado's 2in screen is a nice size. Contrast is sharp, colours are bright, and the display is vibrant enough for you to see what you're shooting and to play back videos in bright sunlight. But that impressive LCD is both a blessing and a curse, as videos look much better on the device than they do after you upload them to YouTube. After upload, we noticed much more pixelation and murkiness than we expected.
Operating the Creative Vado is pure simplicity. The four-way directional pad below the device's display lets you zoom in or out by pressing up or down, and the left and right directional buttons scroll through video clips during playback. A button in the middle of the D-pad starts and stops recording. One side button switches between the recording and playback modes, and another button below it deletes clips. Holding down both of those buttons takes you to the menu screen.
To connect the Creative Vado to a PC, you just flip out the camera's built-in USB connector. Plugging the Vado into any Windows computer's USB port (the device's on-board media-management software doesn't work on a Mac) launches the simple Vado Central app, which lets you upload clips to YouTube or Photobucket in a matter of clicks. (Plugging the Creative Vado into a PC also charges the unit.)
The Creative Vado's 640-by-480-resolution video quality isn't exactly terrible, but the Flips still outshine it. Although the Creative Vado is certainly good for quick-and-dirty clips, make sure to keep the lights on wherever you shoot. Lacking white balance and additional lighting, the Vado won't work well in a dark room.