Flip-style camcorders are great for casual video shooting, but their biggest shortcoming has always been the resolution-sapping digital zoom. Now Sanyo plans to bring the little pocket cams a bit more respect, by introducing the first Flip lookalike with a real optical zoom lens.
The 1080p-capable Xacti VPC-PD2BK's 3x optical zoom won't exactly set a serious videographer's heart aflutter, but it will let you zoom in on Aunt Mabel snoring on the sofa without the image becoming all fuzzy and noisy. Better still, Sanyo has taken advantage of the better optics to give the Xacti some pretty serious still-picture capabilities, with 10MP resolution and a decent-looking flash. They even worked on the audio quality, with a big pair of stereo microphones flanking the camcorder instead of the usual tiny pinhole-size mics.
Even with these upgraded features, the VPC-PD2BK will sell for $170, right in the same ballpark as its seemingly less-able competitors. It will hit the market next month.