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Kodak PlaySport Jx3 Review

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Monil Hariya

Digit Rating: Good
3.5 3.5/5 image description
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Features:
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Performance:
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Value:
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Design:

PROS

  • Waterproof up to 3 metres
  • Good video quality outdoors
  • Stylish and sturdy
  • Nice body colour

CONS

  • Decent video quality indoors
  • Small screen
  • Navigation tough
MRP: 8999
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Summary

The PlaySport Zx3 brings a fresh look to the market of compact camcorders with its features like full HD capability, face detection and electronic face detection. If you are looking for a camcorder have a look at the PlaySport at some mall or shop before you buy any other brand.

The Kodak PlaySport Jx3 is a compact camcorder capable of recording HD videos at 1080p. The stylish looking PlaySport comes with a 5 megapixel CMOS sensor for video quality better than point and shoot cameras. It is simple to use and does not have many features, so it can be used to record videos without many settings and share with family and friends.

Package Contents:

  • Kodak PlaySport camcorder
  • Kodak Li-Ion Rechargeable Battery
  • Adapter and cable for charging
  • HDMI and AV cables
  • Wrist strap
  • User Guide
  • Arcsoft Media Impression Software (on-camera)

The quality of cables and adapter is good.

Look and Feel:

 

Front panel

 

Back panel

The name PlaySport suits the camcorder as it looks stylish but at the same time is very sturdy. The front panel is clean white and the back panel comes in purple/blue/gray. Weighing at 128g (without battery) the PlaySport feels like a cell phone. It seems the PlaySport can take a few shocks due to accidental falls. It is comfortable to hold for those having medium sized hands as well as large hands.

The on/off switch located on the side is pretty smooth.There are buttons on the front panel for video shooting mode, playback, settings, and delete. There is also a 4 way navigation key with a center button. The buttons are hard but good. However, it is not easy to use the navigation keys as they need to be pressed really hard.

There is a flap with a snap lock for battery and memory card on one side and one for HDMI port and mini USB port on the other side. The flap is pretty sturdy with good hinges. The snap lock is easy to open but closing it might be annoying because of the snap lock system. The package contains a strap which can be attached at the lower end of the camcorder. It is good as you won't have to worry about your camcorder falling from your hands.

The 2-inch screen is small. A lot of space is wasted around the button area which could have been used for a larger screen. The lens at the back is on top left corner and does not have any external cover except a thin glass sheet.

Right side
Left side
Ports

Features:

The PlaySport is waterproof upto 3 metres which lets you shoot underwater. Also you don't have to worry about your camcorder getting wet in the rain or water splashing on it.

The Playsport has a 5 megapixel lens for still photos as well as video recording. The PlaySport records videos at 1080p at 30fps. There is an option to choose lower resolution. In one of the modes it can record 720p videos at 60fps. It also features a monoaural microphone for audio recording.

The PlaySport features 4x digital zoom. It also offers electronic image stabilization and face detection. The brightness of screen can be adjusted. It has a HDMI out to connect to a TV. Also there is a mini USB port for data transfer.

The internal memory is 128MB expandable upto 32GB using a SD/SDHC card. There are 3 modes to help recording in various light conditions.

Performance:

The PlaySport captures still photos at 5 megapixel with an aspect ratio of 16:9, which is good for a camcorder. The quality of photos is decent with good lighting. In poor light conditions the image quality is dissapointing. Also in poor light the screen seems to show a bright picture but when captured the photos are darker. Also there is no option to change the resolution. Camcorders like the Playsport are not meant for still photographs so we can't really complain about it.

The Playsport lets you select yhe resolution at which you want to record videos. At 720p you can record at 30/60fps and at 1080p at 30fps. It supports recording at WVGA (848 x 480) at 30fps.The video performance was tested in 3 different conditions as follows:

Bright lighting (Outdoor):
The PlaySport is ideal for shooting outdoors. The quality of video in bright light is very good. The colours are crisp. One thing to keep in mind while using the PlaySport is to move it slowly. If moved fast an evident blur is seen. Also since it has a digital zoom it is advisable to avoid using it as it lowers the picture quality.

Medium lighting (Indoor):
The video quality indoors is not good. Noise is visible in the entire frame. Even at highest resolution the detail is not good. Playsport is not ideal for indoor use.

Low lighting (Indoor with lights off):
We did not expect much from this test but performed it just as an exercise. As expected the video quality is pathetic with noise all over.

Underwater:
Yes we tried using the PlaySport underwater, and it works really well. The sharpness is lost while shooting underwater but you cant expect it to perform like the professional cameras. Video quality is decent and water does not seep into any of the openings so no need to be worried about using it underwater or in moist conditions.

The audio quality is very good. The microphone is sensitive and picks up even low sounds while recording videos.

The compression technique used is not very efficient , a one minute video recorded at 1080p takes up 90MB. Since a SD card is not supplied you will need to buy a 16GB card if you want to record HD video for around 3 hours.

The Playsport is provided with 3 modes for shooting. These modes do not affect the quality of video. It actually affects the screen enabling you to see what you are shooting in various lighting conditions so that you dont have to worry about the glare while shooting outdoors.

The PlaySport has a settings button. The settings menu has icons for various settings and no description as to what it will do. This is very misleading as you do not know what you are doing. A description or at least the name of the icon would have been good.

Conclusion:

The MRP of PlaySport is Rs. 8,999. Kodak currently has an offer on, which retails the PlaySport for Rs 7,999. Also assuming a 16GB card costs aroung Rs. 2,500, the cost of owning the PlaySport shoots up to Rs 10,499. It is good to carry on picnics and treks as it is waterproof and easy to use. The PlaySport Zx3 brings a fresh look to the market of compact camcorders with its features like full HD capability, image stabilization and electronic face detection. If you are looking for a camcorder, have a look at the Kodak PlaySport before you buy any other brand.

Ratings
Features: 7
Performance: 7.5
Build Quality: 8
Value for Money: 6.5
Overall: 7


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