Aiptek PocketDV 8900 mini-review
I bought a Aiptek PocketDV 8900 from Zazz! more than a month ago. Just then when I was browsing through OO.com.au‘s catalogue, I saw this Yes Multi-Function Digital Video Camera for $275 + delivery, and it looks exactly the same as my Aiptek!! Same size, same spec, same bundled accessories — except it was rebranded as “Yes” instead of Aiptek. And at a price that even rivals what I paid a month ago!
So I thought I’ll do a mini-review on this model. If you are interested in getting an Aiptek PocketDV 8900 (which has also been reviewed on APC Magazine), OO.com.au’s re-branded “Yes” is a good cheap alternative.
First of all, what is Aiptek PocketDV 8900? It is a small MPEG4 camcoder with only digital zoom and 5Mpixel CCD, and it can takes up to 640×480 at 30 frames per second. On the side it reads “Mini Media Center“, as it not only can take videos, it can also take photos, view photos, listen to MP3, watch videos, take voice notes, and you can even use voice cancelling feature to act as a Karaoke machine.
It also comes with almost all the accessories you’ll need with this little gadget. Earphone (good quality one with white cable and earplug), carry case, AV cable, mini tripod and a remote control. The machine is tiny — smaller than most digital cameras these days and very light. Great for carrying around to capture the moment. And it is at a price that won’t break your bank account.
However, if I need to come up with a summary sentence for this little gadget, it’s “able to do everything, but not very good at anything”. There are a few problems with it. First of all, don’t expect a great lens at this price. Actually, don’t expect a good lens with any entry-level MPEG4 camcoder. You will never be able to take great picture with this PocketDV 8900 — get a proper digital camera for those occasions.
Taking video is great, and 640×480 at 30 frames/sec look very good — much better than the 320×200 every camera does these days. You do need very good lighting though, as the pictures will be very noisy in low-light conditions. Built-in night mode supposed to fix that, but then this tiny unit does not have enough processing power to make night mode useful. Digital zoom? Completely useless as pixelisation will ruin the picture.
Videos are recorded in ASF container format. Video is in MPEG4 at 3,000+kb/s, and audio is a bit weak in adpcm_ms, mono at 88kbps. It came with software that can do ASF conversion, and Windows Movie Maker can also import the video into its collections. You can take 40+ minutes of video on a 1Gb SD card.
Here’s a sample of a short video taken on PocketDV 8900, unedited. It turns out quite well with that much action going on. Download PICT2545.ASF (13.4Mb, 31 seconds). I think the colour runs a bit too rich under the sun.
- Small and light. Very portable.
- Multiple functions — video, audio, photo, MP3, karaoke, etc.
- Good video with sufficient light.
- Lots of accessories.
- Good auto focus.
- Relative large LCD at 2 inch.
- Nokia-compatible rechargable battery.
What’s Not So Good
- Useless night mode for video, and too much noise under low-light condition.
- Very slow flash recharge.
- Short battery life (around 90 minutes of video shooting).
- Unnatural colour.
- A bit more expensive than other MPEG4 camcoders.
Interested in getting one? Yes Multi-Function Digital Video Camera at OO.com.au is the same thing at a very good price. It is not a replacement for a digital camera with good optical lens, nor a replacement for stand alone DV — but a fun little gadget that shoots good video and ok-quality photos.