Polaroid X720 Digital Camera Review

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Polaroid’s X720 is a fairly standard pocket Internet camcorder in most respects. However, not only is it one of the cheapest on the market, but it’s waterproof too, down to 3m. It also has a decent selection of manual settings, including a few scene modes, control over metering and sharpness, and exposure, although nothing as advanced as shutter and iris control. Image quality is merely mediocre, and there’s the notable absence of a tripod screw mount. But otherwise this is a great value camcorder.

Polaroid X720 Digital Camera Review

The X720s waterproofing stretches to a depth of 3m, although Polaroid doesn’t quote any particular compliance with international standards. It achieves its resilience thanks to locking flaps over its compartments. One covers the battery, which comes in the form of two regular alkaline AA cells. The second protects the USB 2 and mini HDMI ports, as well as the microSD slot.

The X720 has the ability to shoot video at up to 1,280 x 720 and 30 frames per second. You can also shoot WVGA – a widescreen version of VGA – at 30 or 60 frames per second, regular VGA, and QVGA. Still images can be captured at 3, 5 or 8Mpixels. The X720 has a few more features than most pocket Internet camcorders, although only a few. These are all operated by a smattering of rubberized buttons. The zoom is a mere 3x and digital, with all the implications for reduced video quality that entails.

Features, Performance

It’s possible to alter the way metering is performed, with center spot and average options. Alongside automatic white balance there are presets for sunny and cloudy conditions, plus tungsten and neon indoor lighting, there are a couple of digital effects included. However, no fully manual option is available.

Most surprisingly of all, there’s even a modicum of control over sharpness, with the facility to increase or decrease this by one notch. An EV exposure control with 13 settings between 2 and -2 is also available, although it’s strangely located at the end of the second menu page. As with virtually all pocket Internet camcorders, the range of ports available doesn’t include minijacks for headphones or an external microphone – not that you would be able to use these underwater anyway. So you will have to rely on the somewhat mediocre built-in mono microphone. However, a slightly more annoying omission is the lack of a standard tripod screw mount.

With no sensor specifications available for the X720, we weren’t sure what level of image quality to expect from it. In our usual 100W ceiling light test, the X720 produced a fairly dark image, with muted colors, but at least it wasn’t riddled with grain. In brighter, natural lighting the automatic white balancing did a decent job, but colors were slightly inaccurate, with reds in particular looking a bit washed out. It’s also worth noting that the X720 has no image stabilisation system, so shaky camerawork means shaky footage. Overall, though, performance is far from atrocious, and certainly good enough for the price.

Verdict

We’re not sure how much Lady Gaga, Polaroid’s creative director, was involved in the making of the X720, and there are no giveaway signs such as the chassis being made of raw meat. In most respects, Polaroid’s X720 is a me-too product, with nothing particularly singling it out from the pocket Internet camcorder crowd. However, it does have one rather unique feature. Despite the added bonus of being waterproof, this camcorder costs just 70, making it one of the cheapest on the market. So although it’s not that special in terms of image quality or features, the X720 is exceptionally good value.

Copyright byBest Digital Cameras

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