Among the two-day sale items featured in the Kmart Black Friday circular is the Jazz T20 camcorder for $20. Given that similar pocket-sized camcorders like the Pure Digital Flip Mino (*Est. $130) and Creative Vado (*Est. $90) sell for far more, the Jazz seems like a bargain in comparison. Unlike most full-sized camcorders, pocket-sized models like these lack many features and functions that make for more polished video, like manual focus and a microphone jack. They're designed to produce point-and-shoot video that can be quickly uploaded to Facebook and YouTube, or for people who just want to record on the go. For more information about these mini camcorders, check out our full report on digital camcorders.
The Jazz T20 regularly sells at Kmart.com for about $30, so the sale price represents a significant savings. But is it really a bargain? The Jazz camcorder hasn't received any user ratings at Kmart.com, and it only earns a middling average rating from fewer than 10 users at Amazon.com. Most users complain about poor video and audio quality, although a few say they are satisfied with what they get for the price. The best review on Amazon comes from a man who posts a video test of both the Jazz T20 and Pure Digital Flip, showing both images side by side. It's a very useful post and clearly illustrates the marked difference in quality.
Like the Pure Flip and Creative models, the Jazz T20 has a USB jack so you can easily upload video to your computer, and it's got a 1.5-inch color monitor for viewing your footage. The Jazz also boasts 4x zoom, unlike the 2x zoom of its competitors. Unlike the Pure Digital and Creative models, the Jazz has no onboard memory: You'll have to buy an SD card to store your video.
But there's a more serious drawback. Unlike the Pure Digital and Creative models, which shoot VGA video at 640 pixels by 480 pixels, the Jazz T20 shoots VGA video at only 320 pixels by 240 pixels. That's fine if you're just shooting videos for the web, where the picture isn't going to be very large, but a real detriment if you're planning to show these on your TV.
Ultimately, buying a Jazz T20 camcorder comes down to what you want out of a camcorder. If it's a toy for your children, it's a good deal (as some users at Amazon.com say). But if you're looking for a pocket-sized or full-sized camcorder that's more versatile and substantial, you're better off spending more money on a different model.