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Out of the Pocket: DXG Line of Inexpensive HD Camcorders

Pocket-size camcorders have become very popular -- so easy to carry and simple to use, so you can bring them along to capture spontaneous moments that wouldn't be possible with larger camcorders.

You can find pocket camcorders for around $80 to $100, and HD versions for around $150 to $220, with products like the Pure Digital Flip, RCA Small Wonder, Creative Vado, Kodak Zi6/Zx1, and Sony Webbie.

These pocket camcorders share a similar design -- a rectangular box, held upright with the lens on the flat front and the display on the back. And they share a similar design philosophy, focused on making them dead easy to use by eliminating options and features -- including favorites like optical zoom, multiple video formats/resolutions, still photo mode, and nested menus of sometimes incomprehensible options.

But sometimes it's handy to have at least some options, so these companies have introduced slightly more upscale versions of these products with various features including a flip-out display, video modes (SD, HD, and Web), photos with macro mode, and high-speed recording.

Another company, DXG USA, has taken a different approach: offering a broad line of pocketable camcorders, with a broad range of advanced features, but in this same price range. (DXG has a 20-year history designing camcorders and cameras for OEM sales to other manufacturers, and has recently expanded into direct retail sales in the U.S.)

The DXG camcorder line includes standard-definition and high-def camcorders, with models that shoot at the minimum 720p HD res (1280 x 720), at the lower 1080p horizontal resolution (1440 x 1080), and at full HD 1080p (1920 x 1080).

In addition, DXG offers pairs of similar models in your choice of form factor: vertical (with the lens on the side and a flip-out display), and horizontal (like traditional camcorders).

The vertical designs are around the size of some of the other pocket camcorders (though a bit thicker at around 4 x 2 3/4 x 1 1/2 inches, and 4 ounces), and the horizontal designs are a bit longer and thicker (around 8 ounces).

Then DXG piles on advanced features found in higher-end camcorders, including the list above, plus digital voice recorder mode, internal storage plus SD card, NTSC and PAL video output plus composite or HDMI, an LED light for video and photo flash, and enhancement options (white balance, exposure compensation, color effects, and a self-timer) -- albeit not all these on all models.

But we like our portable devices to be more than utilitarian -- as with cell phones, we want to make a statement with style and even fashion. So DXG offers a choice of bright colors (silver, black, blue, red, pink). And it is expanding further into lifestyle and fashion designs.

The new DXG Luxe Collection, introduced this week, offers stylish designs to let you express your taste and personal style.

The two models are the Riviera, with a quilted design in white, black, and pink, and the Soho, an argyle in blue and pink. These 720p HD camcorders have 128 MB internal memory and are priced at $149.

Then for a more rugged design for active use, the DXG-125V All-Weather HD Camcorder is a splash and weather-resistant, with a rubber handgrip on the sides.

It's a 720p HD camcorder with fewer options, a smaller 2" display, and lower-res photos, and is due out soon at $99.

For swimming, snorkeling, and diving, the DXG-579VS Underwater Value Pack combines the DXG-579V camera with an underwater casing that is waterproof up to 15 feet, to protect from water, salt, sand, and elements.

The case is rubberized to provide full access to the camera controls: Record, play, zoom, shoot video or still photos, use the underwater light. It's a 720p HD camcorder, priced at $149 with the waterproof casing.

See full article, DXG HD Pocket Camcorders - Summer 2009, for more on the DXG product line and features.

See my Digital Camcorders Gallery for more on pocket camcorders.

    Find the DXG-579V Camcorder on Amazon.com

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