Pocket camcorder reviews: FAQs
Pocket camcorders explained
We talk you through the functions, benefits and drawbacks of a pocket camcorder, helping you decide on the right device for recording videos and sharing them with friends.
How do I connect a pocket camcorder to a computer?
Virtually all pocket camcorders connect to a computer via a USB connection. This lets you transfer videos, upload them to the internet, and charge the camcorder while you're connected.
Some pocket camcorders even have a retractable USB-jack tucked away inside the body of the camcorder itself. This lets you connect the camcorder directly to a computer without the need for any cables.
One downside to this is that the body of the camcorder itself can make it awkward to connect to a laptop or computer's USB point. If you find this to be the case, it may be best to use a USB extension lead.
Do I need to buy a USB extension lead for my pocket camcorder?
Most pocket camcorders come packaged with a USB lead - even those which have a built-in USB-jack. Check our list of features and specifications on our reviews of the best pocket camcorders to be sure.
Is it easy to upload videos to YouTube with a pocket camcorder?
Almost all pocket camcorders come with software which allows you to easily transfer videos, perform basic edits, and upload footage to YouTube.
In most cases, this software is "plug and play". This means that the first time you connect your pocket camcorder to your computer, it will automatically begin the installation process for the software.
If you have an existing YouTube or Facebook account, the pocket camcorder will let you upload movies directly to this account. Alternatively, you can set up a new account.
Can I upload videos in high definition?
In most cases, the pocket camcorder software will allow you to upload your videos in the highest resolution
However, our testers noted that one or two models come with software which forces you to accept a reduced resolution as you upload to YouTube. In these cases, you're better off using YouTube's own upload tool.
Even when uploading in high definition, videos on YouTube will lose some of their detail and smoothness when compared to a video played back directly from the camcorder itself.
How can I view pocket camcorder videos on an HD TV?
If you wish to view your pocket camcorder videos on an HD TV, it's best to directly connect the camcorder to the TV itself.
Most camcorders come with composite cables, which let you connect the camcorder to the TV to view your videos. However, connecting a camcorder in this fashion won't let you get the best possible footage.
A pocket camcorder with an HDMI output is a safer bet. HDMI connections are the best means for communicating high definition data between devices like a camcorder and a TV.
However, not all pocket camcorders come with HDMI leads, so you may need to purchase one separately. Only a pocket camcorder with an HMDI output can be used with an HDMI lead.
See our Which? reviews of the best HDMI leads to help you find an affordable HDMI cable.
Why does my pocket camcorder footage look less impressive on an HD TV?
Because of the recording format that most pocket camcorders use, their footage is more naturally suited to being viewed on a computer screen than on an HD TV.
Most pocket camcorders record videos in Motion Jpeg files. These are optimized for viewing on a computer screen.
However, when you connect a pocket camcorder to an HD TV, it isn't unusual to see some juddering motion and a lack of smoothness to the footage. This is because the Motion Jpeg files are not best suited to the refresh rate used by HD TVs.
If you're likely to view your videos on an HD TV frequently, then you're better off purchasing a proper HD camcorder. These record videos in file types that are optimized for viewing on TV screens - though conversely, their footage can look juddery when viewed on a computer screen.
See our expert Which? reviews of the best HD camcorders.
The detail in your videos may seem less impressive when viewed on an HD TV, though this is mostly because the enlarged screen size exaggerates flaws in the original footage.
Do all pocket camcorders have internal memory storage?
Not all pocket camcorders have built-in hard drives or flash memory storage. Those that do let you record videos directly to the internal memory of the camcorder itself.
One advantage of this is that you don't need to purchase any additional memory card.
However, a disadvantage of an internal memory camcorder is that you cannot boost the amount of storage available, which you can do with memory card-compatible models, by buying further memory cards.
Should I buy a memory card for my pocket camcorder?
Not all pocket camcorders allow you to insert memory cards. Those that do may not come packaged with a memory card, so you may need to buy a memory card before you can start making recordings.
Check our handy compare features and prices tool to choose a pocket camcorder with either an internal memory drive or one that can take memory cards.
How can I charge my pocket camcorder?
Most pocket camcorders can recharge their batteries while connected to a computer via the USB plug.
Charging in this fashion is typically slower than charging directly from the mains. However, some pocket camcorders do not allow to charge from the mains at all, leaving you with only USB charging via a computer.
This can be a problem if you are travelling with a pocket camcorder, as you will need a computer to connect the camcorder to in order to charge it.
One or two pocket camcorders, including the Flip Mino HD and Flip Ultra HD, can only take charge from a computer provided that the computer itself is actively in use, with the operating system running.
This means you cannot connect these camcorders to a computer that is switched off or hibernating if you want to charge the camcorder batteries.
Some pocket camcorders take AA batteries, rather than custom-sized rechargeable batteries.
If you're choosing a pocket camcorder which requires AA batteries, we recommend using rechargeable AA batteries.
This is a more environmentally-responsible and cost-efficient way of powering your camcorder, as you won't have to continually purchase disposable AA batteries.