At first glance, Aiptek's plasticky and flimsy Pocket DV Z300HD-V is a lightweight camcorder whose style reflects its inexpensive price tag.
The lightweight Aiptek Pocket DV Z300HD-V, which features a metallic blue and chrome casing, feels plasticky and fairly flimsy – in particular with regards to its USB port cover.
Measuring 113x70x33mm the Aiptek Pocket DV Z300HD-V is slightly too large to fit into a pocket, but easily slips into a bag.
The 8Mp Aiptek Pocket DV Z300HD-V camcorder is easy to turn on - simply flip open the 2.4in swivel-mounted LCD viewfinder, which rotates through 180 degrees to capture video at difficult angles.
You can choose between the Aiptek Pocket DV Z300HD-V's autofocus mode and macro mode, which allows you to take video clips at a distance down to 50mm. And there's a 3x optical zoom, although this doesn't work during macro mode.
The Aiptek Pocket DV Z300HD-V captures video in either HD (high-definition 1280x720), D1 (720x480) or CIF (352-240) resolutions. D1 is recommended for burning the video to DVD, while the CIF resolution is ideal for uploading the videos to the web.
The Aiptek Pocket DV Z300HD-V has the ability to take still images at either 3Mp, 5Mp or 8Mp, and can be used torecord a voice clip or even TV programme using the bundled cables.
Once you've shot some footage, you can preview video clips on the Aiptek Pocket DV Z300HD-V using the mobile-phone style joystick located on the back of the device, or the fast-forward, rewind and play/pause buttons located on the LCD screen itself.
With a minimal internal memory of 6MB, you'll need an SDHC card (Secure Digital High Capacity, for >2GB storage) with the Aiptek Pocket DV Z300HD-V, although this doesn’t come supplied. The Aiptek can support up to 32GB of additional storage.
We tested the Aiptek Pocket DV Z300HD-V's other functions, which include white balance. Here, there are options to set the camcorder to automatic mode, or to select from a choice of Sunny, Cloudy, Video Light - which provided us with extra light during filming - and Night modes. There is also a flash for still images, which can be fired automatically or manually.
To transfer videos from the Aiptek Pocket DV Z300HD-V to your PC you must first install the bundled software. You'll also need to download QuickTime 7.0, since this was the only player to recognise our files.
While there was a notable difference between videos we recorded in CIF and HD resolution, we were particularly impressed with the HD output, which offered clear and sharp images.
The Aiptek Pocket DV Z300HD-V is a solid budget buy. If you want to capture some special moments in HD and aren't too bothered about an all-singing, all-dancing camcorder, then the Aiptek PocketDV Z300HD-V is for you.