Kodak Zi8 impressions: surprising functionality, but it's still a pocket camcorder

We've been messing around with Kodak's latest pocket camcorder, the Zi8, and find the shooter to be an interesting hybrid. With a flip-out USB plug, HDMI out and an easily accessible SD card slot, this is clearly a "premium" mix of features for the class, but the $180 pricetag keeps the device firmly grounded in Walmart-friendly reality. Other odd perks like a line-in jack and 1080p have us scratching our heads -- but in a good way. Overall, we'd feel pretty comfortable saying the footage is about the best you can obtain at this pricepoint. Colors are great, the image stabilization isn't a gimmick (sorry, Flip), and if you squint hard enough you can almost believe the 1080p is 1080p. Still, the camera is hampered by its cheap approach to processing and compressing the footage it's taking in -- despite its limitations, we'd say the iPhone 3GS is besting most cheap pocket camcorders on this front, motion just looks much more fluid. But don't take our word for it, check out a couple of video samples after the break.

1080p, 30fps (encoded by YouTube)

720p, 60fps (slowed down to 30fps and exported by iMovie, encoded by YouTube)