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.

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Aiptek PocketDV Z300HD-V : Specs

  • HD video camcorder (720p)
  • 5Mp CMOS sensor
  • 32GB SDHC compatible
  • 3x optical zoom
  • macro mode for 50mm close-up still and video images
  • LED light and night mode support while recording
  • Reversible 2.4in LCD display
  • play back to an HD or SD TV with supplied cables
  • claimed battery life 60 mins
  • 113x70x33mm
  • 172g
  • HD video camcorder (720p)
  • 5Mp CMOS sensor
  • 32GB SDHC compatible
  • 3x optical zoom
  • macro mode for 50mm close-up still and video images
  • LED light and night mode support while recording
  • Reversible 2.4in LCD display
  • play back to an HD or SD TV with supplied cables
  • claimed battery life 60 mins
  • 113x70x33mm
  • 172g

OUR VERDICT

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.

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