Inspect a Gadget: Philips Esee HD CAM295BL Camcorder*

I have acquired a Philips Esee HD CAM295BL Camcorder thanks to MoneySupermarket and their ‘Inspect a Gadget’ blogger competition. As the website states:

With summer fast approaching, we’ve been thinking about what gadgets you take on holiday to entertain yourself on long flights or while lazing on the beach. The most popular travel gadgets, like tablets, e readers and MP3 players don’t come cheap, so we’re looking to find great alternatives that will be kind to your bank balance.

I had the choice of 5 different gadgets; Kobo Mini eReader; Sony 4gb MP3; Essentials portable DVD Player with screen; Allwinner tablet and the Philips HD Camcorder. I went for the camcorder. As I’m studying Wildlife and Media, I need to learn how to do videos and editing and all that… I figured this would be a great gadget to review as it fits with my needs.

Philips ESee HD
Philips Esee HD CAM295BL Camcorder @ Expansys

I was given the money to order the camcorder from Expansys. It is priced at £51.99 with a RRP of £99.99 on that website. This is definitely a cheap camcorder, for something that boasts HD videos at 30fps, 12mp/8mp photo resolution, dual record (full HD and internet friendly format at once!) plus much more!

When I picked up my parcel, my first thought was that it felt very light! I definitely expected it to weigh more. I haven’t really held a camcorder for a few years now – the last one being quite big and old! Upon opening the actual product box, I saw a super shiny, tiny camcorder! This is definitely something that you can take anywhere. It is smaller than the average mobile phone, and will very easily slip into your pocket! It was so shiny that I definitely found it difficult to photograph!

In the box I received an instruction booklet, another booklet with safety information, and a third with Philips support information and numbers. Nothing else in the box – no cables. (I’ll get to that in a bit!)

Here you can see the side facing you when you hold the camcorder. The red button is for recording/stopping and also to take a photo. The ‘border’ of this button acts as the zoom aswell. Up for zooming in, and down for zooming out! Underneath that there is a little slide button to swap between video and photo.
Then we have the MicroSD slot. This is probably my least favourite thing about the product. As a DSLR user, I have many SD cards, and just do not have MicroSD hanging around. I think a lot of people will have this problem, as SD is the most common card used. I ordered one with the money given for the product, but it hasn’t arrived yet so I’m using an old mobile 1gb MicroSD card! Beneath this is a HDMI port. If you have a HDMI cable, you can hook up the camcorder to your TV to view your videos/photos on there!

Now on the bottom of the camcorder is a button that says ‘push’. This pops out the USB plug, and this is how you can connect your camcorder to a pc/laptop and also charge it. Now it does feel a little bit flimsy, and I would always make sure the camcorder is supported underneath when plugged in, instead of dangling. Once plugged in, it installed the drivers needed, and there’s also a program that you can install which manages your photos/videos. I used this to make my sample videos below!

Once turned on, the first display asks you if you wanted to sort the time/date out straight away. The touch screen is simple to use, although I’d imagine it’s not as fast as the touchscreen on an iPad for example. It works well enough. The instructions in the booklet are clear enough, though I do think some text would have been better than just images!

The screen set-up has a play button for you to view for files, and another button in the top left. This holds the scene choices, effects and settings. Everything is simple to run through, and shouldn’t be difficult for first-timers!

I tried to run down the battery today (having used it both yesterday and this morning) but it still had two bars. I think this would probably last me all day when out – I suppose it depends how long the videos you record are!

The videos:

So in the first video I’ve just done a series of short clips and I’ve kept the sounds just to show how wind/roads can be heard. The second clip of the kayaks is zoomed in – you can see how the quality decreases with that.
The second video is of birds singing, so you can see how the sound is there.
Make sure you’re watching it in HD quality to really see how it is!

Some photos:

As you can see, the quality is pretty good for the price range, although it isn’t fantastic. This is coming from me who is constantly using a DSLR though! The camcorder would be perfect for day trips, holidays, and just for recording any sort of memories.

Pros:
– Small size.
– Turns on when you lift the screen and turns off when you put it down.
– Easy to use.
– Plugs straight into the computer.
– Screen rotates so you can even see yourself being recorded.

Cons:
– MicroSD memory.
– Plug feels a little weak.

*I received this item for free from Moneysupermarket. All opinions are my own, and I have reviewed this honestly.

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