ReadySteady pocket camcorder stabilizer review

What is this strange pendulum hanging below the camcorder? An external battery? Some eccentric fashion accessory from the Far East? Actually, this is the ReadySteady: a camera stabilizer (and potentially a stand) designed for use with various pocket camcorders such as the Flip Mino, Sony Bloggie, Sanyo Xacti (like our HD1010 here) and Kodak PlayTouch. The device really is as simple as it looks -- it consists of just a two-part 3.5-ounce aluminum disc and a flexible camera stand, the latter of which can be stored within the disc. Likewise, the instructions are pretty straightforward: simply poke the stand through the disc, screw it into your camcorder, put a grip near your camcorder's bottom, and then apply some force onto the disc with your other hand (as pictured). Voilà! So, does this $29.99 device work? And is it worth it? Read on to find out -- an extensive test video awaits you after the break.%Gallery-101476%

There's little to fault about the ReadySteady's structural strength -- the aluminum disc is solid enough to punch a serious dent into someone's head, especially with its overhanging diamond grip ring (but don't try this at home); the two halves of the disc are also tightly secured by a central screw thread, but it isn't difficult to twist them open, either. As for appearance, we dig the snazzy brushed metallic finish on both the outside and the inside, although there is one problem: after a few days' worth of light usage, we've somehow already accumulated a few scratches on the outside, and the brush pattern makes them more noticeable. We spoke to the designer about this and while he claims he hasn't had such a problem with his (which has been abused for months), he'll look into offering a clear anodizing option for some added protection. Until then, buyers should opt for the black version, or at least buy a carrying case elsewhere first -- the ReadySteady doesn't come with one, sadly.

Enough with the hardware; it's time to see the ReadySteady in action. The video below is the result of our test in three types of scenarios: sitting on the bus, walking around, and panning on the spot. We also tested the device with and without our camcorder's built-in stabilizer in two locations later on.

As you can see, overall the ReadySteady added some contribution to our videos' steadiness, regardless of the status of our camcorder's built-in stabilizer. For us, the only part where we can really see the device serving its purpose is the bus video; in our other shots, the device didn't take kindly to our walking movement. To be fair, the ReadySteady was never intended to be a steadicam alternative, but we still struggle to see any improvement in our panning and static shots. That said, those who are seriously struggling with shaky hands can still give this thoughtful design a shot -- there's a 30-day money back guarantee, anyway.