Experts often recommend the Kodak Playsport Zx3 among pocket HD camcorders, but we found a lot of owner complaints for this model. On the positive side, it shoots in full 1080p high-definition, can snap still photos, and it's waterproof to 10 feet. The Zx3 includes an HDMI cable (so you can hook it up to your HDTV), but no built-in memory to hold your videos and photos, so you'll have to supply your own SD/SDHC memory card. Kodak has introduced an updated model, the Kodak Playsport Zx5 (*Est. $95), which adds dustproofing and shockproofing but doesn't include an HDMI cable (it does have an HDMI port, but you have to buy your own cable).
While some pocket camcorders have very few features, the Kodak Playsport offers goodies like face detection (the camera will automatically focus on people you choose) and the ability to adjust the microphone volume and screen brightness. Or, you can let the Playsport handle everything for point-and-shoot simplicity. However, Kodak's bundled editing/sharing software is PC-only. Many owners love the Zx3, but more than one in 10 owners at Amazon.com give it just 1 star, usually because the camcorder leaked underwater and broke, or simply quit working for no apparent reason.
Editors at CamcorderInfo.com subject the Kodak Playsport to their usual rigorous tests, ranking it against other camcorders based on the results. CNET, PCMag.com, About.com and the U.K.'s PC Advisor all test the Kodak Playsport and assign it a rating. Amazon.com posts more than 1,000 owner reviews for this camcorder.
The Kodak Playsport Zx3 rates highly here for a pocket camcorder Jeremy Stamas loves that the Zx3 is waterproof, and it shoots sharp video and even performs well in dim light, although the Samsung HMX-W200 has since surpassed it.
Review: Kodak Playsport Zx3 Camcorder Review, Jeremy Stamas, June 15, 2010
CNET gives the Kodak Playsport an "excellent" rating of 4 stars out of 5. Joshua Goldman wishes it came with a memory card and Mac-compatible editing software, but its waterproof housing and great video for its class earn it a spot on CNET's list of the best budget camcorders.
Review: Kodak Playsport (Black), Joshua Goldman, May 28, 2010
Sturdy, simple, versatile, waterproof and inexpensive is how PCMag.com sums up the Kodak Playsport. In the site's testing, it earns a rating of 4 out of 5 and an Editors' Choice badge.
Review: Kodak Playsport Zx3 Video Camera, P.J. Jacobowitz, May 13, 2010
The Kodak Playsport is one of two pocket camcorders (the other is the Flip UltraHD) to make About.com camcorder guide Greg Scoblete's list of the best HD camcorders. Video quality is "so-so," but the camcorder is inexpensive, durable and waterproof. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
Review: Kodak Playsport Camcorder Review, Greg Scoblete
5. PC Advisor
Britain's PC Advisor tests the Kodak Playsport on dry land, then sticks it in a jug of water before hauling it to the local swimming pool. The footage looks fine in all cases, making the Playsport one of the site's top camcorder picks.
Review: Kodak Playsport Zx3 Review, Rosemary Hattersley, May 6, 2010
This camcorder has racked up more than 1,000 reviews at Amazon.com. It gets an overall rating of 4 stars (out of 5), with 70 percent of owners giving it 4 or 5 stars. However, more than 160 give it just 1 star, and we saw lots of recent complaints that this camera leaked underwater or simply died.
Review: Kodak Playsport (Zx3) HD Waterproof Pocket Video Camera (Black), Contributors to Amazon.com