Inexpensive HD Camcorders: 6 Alternatives to the Flip

flipAs technology advances, cameras become smaller, sleeker, faster and the images become more high def while the technology becomes easier to use. The Flip video camera revolutionized camcorders by being simple to use with no software to download, only a simple USB connection to a computer allowing users to instantly download web-ready video. While the Flip cam is amazingly simple to use, there are now many viable alternatives:

1. RCA Small Wonder– hailed as a less expensive competitor to the Flip, it offers a swivel screen so users can view the video as it is being shot, it has an SD card slot for expanded memory and now allows users to post directly to YouTube. A DVD recorder doubles as a Small Wonder Direct Dock with one-touch functionality.

2. Kodak Zx1– is great for outdoors because it is water-resistant and has a major advantage over a Flip cam in that it is still photography ready rather than exclusively video. The Kodak Zx1 also comes in colors such as blue, pink, black, red and yellow and has well protected USB, SD Card slot, AV-out and HDMI output features. The cam runs off AA batteries and is NOT Mac compatible.

3. Sony Webbie– feels more like a traditional camcorder which may be more comfortable to some. The Webbie offers a large swivel screen and shoots in high resolution, backed up by an insertable memory stick. The Webbie offers still photography (5MP) and video and has a better battery life than many of its competitors. Media is saved on Memory Stick PRO Duo media, a proprietary drive for Sony products.

4. Samsung HMX-R10– easily has the most unique designs and looks more like a rounded Jetsons gadget than a camcorder. (You’ll either live it or hate it). It has a tilted lens, fits in a pocket, has expandable memory with an SD card and can record in full HD. The HMX also allows still shots along with video and offers superior color and noise accuracy over many of its competitors.

5. Creative Vado– offers 8GB of memory and a removable, rechargeable battery. The Vado has a HDMI cable to connect with and has a larger screen than a Flip although they share the USB flip feature. The Vado is one of the least expensive options on the market yet is frequently compared to a Flip cam. Built-in software allows you to edit videos on the fly.

6. Sanyo Xacti– is among the best camcorders for sports or action because it is fully waterproof (designed for underwater filming/accessory purchase necessary) and films in horizontal or vertical mode depending on how a user holds it. Some models offer 1080p filming, the highest resolution available in handheld camcorders on the market. As an owner of this cam I can tell you that the video quality is best outdoors with low to moderate motion. Also still shots are shaky and on a massive delay. The 3.0-inch, 230,000-pixel LCD monitor gives the cam the feel of a more expensive video camera.

With thousands of options on the market, tell us what HD camcorder you are using and why? What features are most important to you- social sharing, quality, durability, battery life? Tell us in the comments!