Swann Freestyle HD: The all-action video camera

As any would-be director will tell you, camcorders are great when it comes to recording footage, but you have to be careful where you take them. Expensive bits of kit at the best of times, they are so delicate and easy to break that one slip can see hundreds of pounds go up in smoke if you do not wrap them in cotton wool. Even just carrying them as you walk down the road can be potentially hazardous should it start to rain.

Swann Freestyle HD

What you need is an all action camcorder. One that you can clip onto yourself and wear, to take with you wherever you like, not to mention one that can take a knock or two. Enter stage right Swann’s new Freestyle HD video camera. Built to the toughest specification and capable of recording 1080p video with up to 3x digital zoom and still 8MP JPEG images, this is a camcorder you can use practically anywhere, and in any environment.

As well as capable of handling a knock or two, the protective case surrounding the camera is also waterproof up to 20 meters, which means you can use it outdoors without any fear of damaging it. The camera can also be worn either on an item of clothing, or clip to a wide variety of objects, including a bike, car or even a skateboard thanks to its interchangeable brackets.

Other features of the camera include a rechargeable Lithium-ion battery that allows up to 2.5hrs of recording time, a detachable 4cm screen which is used to view your recently taken movies and pictures, and a wireless remote control function.

If you are planning on going on an adventure, the Swann Freestyle HD should be high on your ‘to bring’ list. Recommended retail price of £279.99

For more information please visit Swann’s website: www.swann.com.

Acme MP-01 Media Player delivers Oscar-winning performance

Multimedia Players are the next evolutionary step in the home entertainment arena that started decades ago with the humble video player. The Acme MP-01 Portable Media Player is by all accounts an external hard drive that boosts 1TB capacity. By plugging the MP-01 into any compatible TV, you can play both films, programmes and video clips. Not only that, but it lives up to its multimedia billing allowing you to store photographs and songs as well, eliminating the need for a whole host of different devices for each.

Acme-Media-Player

Coming wrapped inside a smart-looking metallic silver box, the MP-01 is fully 1080p HD compliant, and boosts Dolby Surround sound for home cinema set ups. Small and slim-line in size, it measures 142.5(L) x 85(W) x 23(H) mm, and is light enough to carry around with you, which allows you to easily transfer it between your PC and TV.

No matter what format your movie comes in, you can be pretty safe in the knowledge the MO-001 will play it with every popular format supported. It couldn’t be easier to use – you simply plug it into your TV and scroll through the menu using the remote control, select the video or song that you wish to access, and away you go.

If you are looking for an all-in-one multimedia solution, then the £99 MP-01 makes for fantastic value for money. Sure, compared to some of its (far more expensive) competitors, it doesn’t come with Wi-Fi support or internet capability, but then for this price you cannot complain. It does exactly what it says on the tin, and if you are looking for an all-in-one device that will save you space and is convenient to use, then the MP-01 deserves to be high on your shopping list.

For more information visit: www.interactiveideas.com

Five of the best pocket-sized camcorders

After the Scottish engineer, John Baird first captured moving pictures for television, camcorders were born based on his findings, with the first demonstration of a camcorder taking place in 1956. Since then these incredible devices have never looked back and have evolved at a tremendous rate. Like most gadgets in the modern age, camcorders are becoming progressively smaller, so small in fact that you can now fit them in your pocket. Take a look at five of the best pocket camcorders.

Kodak-Playtouch

Kodak Playtouch

Costing £199.99, the Kodak Playtouch may be quite pricey, but gadgets are usually expensive for a reason. This light, compact and stylish camcorder has a three-inch touchscreen, sensitive to the lightest touch. Not only does the Playtouch have a macro mode for close-up filming, but it also provides both black and white and sepia filters – pushing this camcorder into superior territory. It records high-definition video at full 1080p resolution and can be connected to a flat-screen TV via an HDMI cable.

Samsung HMX-U20

The Samsung HMX-U20 needs to be mentioned on a ‘best of’ list because of one unique feature – it is the only pocket-sized camcorder on the market that features a proper zoom lens. Although the zoom may make the U20 look slightly bulkier and more ungainly compared to its super-slim challengers, it offers a 3X magnification that is rendered superior compared to the lower-quality digital zoom. The Samsung U29 records at 1080p high-definition – Not bad for just £129.

Sony Bloggie Touch

It’s name might be a bit ‘dubious’, but trust Sony to come up with the sleekest, most stylish, most suave looking pocket-sized camcorder. If you are after pulling pure class out of your pocket, you’ve come to the right place. With its curved edges, brushed metal finish, highly responsive three-inch touchscreen, 8GB of built-in memory and 1080p video recording, we reckon the Samsung Bloggie Touch is worthy of its £199 price tag. And that’s before mentioning its ingenious add-on lens that enables users to film 360-degree video panoramas.

Flip UltraHD

The Flip UltraHD is perfect for the more ‘amateur’ cameramen – and women – amongst us. Although it records in a significantly inferior – compared to its rivals – 720p high-definition, its redeeming feature is that it boasts extremely simple controls – is that a sigh of relief we hear from our less technologically-mined readers?  Being white, simple, light and costing a mid-range £159.99, the Flip UltraHD is most definitely worthy of its appearance in a best-of pocket camcorders feature.

Toshiba Camileo P20

Last but certainly not least is the Toshia Camileo P20. Visually, this camcorder is the most unique in our list. As with its slimline ‘pistol grip’ design and being available in various ‘vibrant’ colours, it certainly looks the business.  And shooting in high-definition at 1080p resolution, we believe the Camileo P20 more than justifies its £119.99 price tag.

Hands on: Panasonic HM-TA1 pocket-size camcorder

Panasonic-TA-1

LatestGadgets had the chance to test out the Panasonic HM-TA1. This will be Panasonic’s first pocket camcorder and goes toe to toe with the Flip Ultra HD. Let’s see how it compares.

The HM-TA1 is very easy to use and I was up and running within minutes. All the software is preloaded on to the camcorder so no CD required here. There are a few more buttons than on the Flip but there are more settings allowing you to tailor the video or picture to how you want it. Video is Full HD and pictures are in average 8MP. Unfortunately, there is no HDMI with the HM-TA1 so connecting to your TV might be a bit tricky. There is an in-built USB arm so connecting to your PC is simply plug and play.

The arm can be a bit awkward to get out but once you get the hang of it, you will be fine. A major plus for the TA1 is the SD slot so you can put a 16GB memory card in and record hours upon hours of video, unlike the Flip in-built storage. Why not go bigger if you like?

Sample footage (by a 3rd party):

The camcorder has a 4x zoom so you can video from a distance. For those action shots, the Electrical Image Stabilizer system will minimise blurring and hand-shake. It doubles as a webcam as it is Skype compatible. To upload video you have transfer to your PC first then upload to YouTube using the software which is similar to Flip. You can customise the TA1 from a choice of 40 skins

For Panasonic’s first outing into the pocket side of things, it is a good little camera for people who take a lot of video as you can get a memory card to suit you. Available from £99.99 at Currys. You will need to buy a memory card to go with it which brings it close the Flip Mino HD and Ultra HD in price.