As smartphones with built-in HD video cameras become increasingly commonplace, the stand-alone pocket camcorder looks like it could be on its way to obsolescence. That's certainly what Cisco Systems seemed to think, at least, when it recently stopped production of the market-leading Flip camcorder. One company that apparently doesn't share this viewpoint, however, is Philips - today, the electronics manufacturer announced its new ESee pocket video camera. While there's certainly some overlap with many camera phones, the camcorder sports several features that might keep it from ending up in the bargain bin anytime soon.
Although the ESee does shoot in full 1080p HD resolution, users have the option of simultaneously recording a QWVGA 240p version of their videos. This leaves them with a sharp video for their own viewing, along with a much smaller file for emailing. Even the full HD files aren't as huge as they could be, due to Philip's use of H.264 video compression. Built-in Windows software also allows for one-button posting of videos to sites such as Facebook and YouTube.
Additionally, the camcorder is shockproof to a drop of 1.5 meters (5 feet), and waterproof to 3 meters (10 feet) for up to two hours. Other features include anti-shake gyro sensors, an 8-megapixel image sensor, built-in video editing capabilities, and (for still images) a flash, along with auto focus, face- and smile-recognition.
Battery life is fairly decent, at approximately two hours per charge of its lithium-ion pack. The camera has 128 MB of internal memory, along with a Micro SD slot that can handle cards up to 32 GB.
The Philips ESee pocket camcorder is available now, priced at approximately GBP149.99 (US$237).