5 August 2013

REVIEW: Zinc Red-I Micro Camcorder

Red and/or dead.

You're a crazy bunch, aren't you? If you're not skateboarding to a funeral you're parasailing into the office. You mad lot, with your extreme sports and your YouTube channels. Anything dangerous that you do, from popping ollies outside the YMCA to not washing thoroughly after stroking a cow, gets uploaded to YouTube - and its all captured on your trusty smartphones.

But what about the stunts that are just a tad too dangerous; those where you really don't want to risk your flashy phone (whereas risking your life is fine)? How do you record those extreme moments? Easy... get yourself a Zinc Red-I Micro Camcorder.

Small, light and uncomplicated is what the Red-I Camcorder is all about. It is a video recording device that has been stripped down to the bare essentials. There is no viewfinder, no view screen, no zoom control, no focus control, nor any other traditional camcorder staples.

BUT... what it lacks in sophistication it more than makes up for practicality. You see, you're really not going to use this camera for anything other than strapping to your skateboard/bike/in-line skates/car/helicopter to capture incredible footage; the kind of footage that no other camcorder dare capture.

The Red-I itself is made from a tough plastic with just one or two features to talk about. First up is the 'eye' itself, a lens that captures in 720x480 HP resolution set below a microphone. On the bottom edge there is a mini USB port (wire included) for both charging and data access. On the sides we have a power switch to the right and the record button to the left. Above that is a slot for a microSD (not included), which is where all your footage will be saved as there is no internal storage. On the back there is a hole for a clip (also included) to allow the Red-I to easily attach to clothing.

The Red-I also comes complete with a protective silicone case that has its own flappy arms to wrap around other things and keep the camcorder safe. We really liked this bundled addition, which other manufacturers may offer for an extra cost.

So, once charged (about 30 minutes to charge fully) and ready to go with a microSD inserted, we began to film. However, as you may have noticed from our previous reviews, hard-living outdoor types we are not. And so, for our test of video quality we headed to the park for an afternoon stroll.

Not too bad, eh? Certainty not ground-breaking and the audio/visual quality isn't something you'd want to look at for prolonged periods, but still we are rather impressed. We imagine extreme sports filmy people using the Red-I's footage as a cut away from action filmed on a higher spec camera, for when the going is too risky for a more expensive model. That <£30 price really is a contributing factor here.

Of course the Zinc Red-I doesn't just have it's uses for film makers, particularly considering that Zinc are a company famous for their kids scooters. We can see road cyclists mounting one of these to their helmets or handlebars to record the traffic ahead of them should they ever need evidence for insurance claims. The same applies for motorists themselves with the Red-I easily mounting on a dashboard or rear-view mirror.

The Red-I is also small enough to be used as a surveillance camera as it could be stashed anywhere to secretly film. As long as you had enough storage on your inserted MicroSD card, it will happily record for the entirety of the two hour battery life.

One thing to note, and one you'll know about if you've already read our Quadcopter with LEDs review, is that although the Red-I is super light some RC helicopters still might not be able to lift it. This, of course, is an issue of the helicopter not the Red-I, but it is certainly worth taking into account if you were thinking of buying one to go flying. Like we did.

All the all, you get exactly what you pay for with the Red-I Micro Camcorder from Zinc - and that isn't a bad thing at all. Something cheaper wouldn't give you image quality the Red-I is capable of, nor the expansive memory and included rubber case, and anything more expensive... well you really wouldn't want to jump out of a plane with it, would you?

Then again, you lot probably would. Nutters.


Visit www.zincsports.com

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