Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Ematic eCam HD Under $50 Camcorder Review

You might think I like picking on poor innocent camcorders. In reality, this is an open marketplace. People are free to spend their money however they like. I just want people to spend it wisely.
If I was standing in the store with known Frugalistas I would tell them "No, no, heck no and hmm, let's think about that one."

I don't want people wasting money on crap. If you do your homework before shopping you reduce the amount of crap that enters your domain.

The next candidate is the Ematic eCam HD. You can find it currently selling for $70 or more. Work your way through a couple of web sites and you can find it at a legit retailers like or Sears selling it for $38.99. (At the day of this post on November 14, 2012)

To The Specifications:
  • Image Sensor 1.3 Megapixels
  • LCD Screen Size 2"
  • Records in 640x480 VGA and 1280x720p HD
  • Video format .mov
  • 4X Digital Zoom
  • Lithium Ion battery with est. 90 minutes of recording time
  • SDHC Memory Card up to 16GB. In the manual it appears to be a full size slot but on the web site it refers to it as a microSDHC memory card reader. It might be a model variation.
  • No Image Stabilization, no optical zoom and no ability to add an outside microphone

Those of you on Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 who are planning to use Windows Movie Maker2, Windows Live Movie Maker or the new version Windows Movie Maker should know .mov will not play nice with that video editing software.

Those of you on the Macintosh side of the fence should have no problems.


I've been looking over the manual. On the included installation disc is the Xvid codec. According to the manual, "the Xvid codec and ArcSoft Media Impressions must be installed before you can work on your videos."

Mac Users, you see it coming right? You can't install that software; it appears to be Windows only. You might not need it if it is indeed a true Quicktime .mov video format. iMovie certainly supports the .mov file. But if it is a variation of that format you might have an issue.

Windows users, don't get smug. Even if you install that Xvid codec, you still might have problems opening the .mov video using any version of the Microsoft video editing software.

What Is The Catch? 

Well, for $39.99 it seems to be okay. For $70 I'd pass on it. The sensor is too small. The vendor seems to be moving toward selling tablets so you have to look under the Product list of mp3 players to find the camcorder.  It is a closeout.

As to tech support? It is web based. You ask a question in a little box. You get a response. No knowledge base. No "How Do I's." No phone. No e-mail. I'm not even sure of the country of origin of the vendor.

At this time I can't even find test or demo videos on the device. You are on your own.

Buy It Or Not?

For $39.99 I could kinda say maybe. I would encourage you to seek out reviews from those that have bought the device. I've done that and many are not happy with the sound quality.

I can't get a straight bead on the capabilities, the Emactic web site say one thing about the camcorder and the manual states another. On the plus side, there is an actual manufacture web site for the camcorder. Many of the cheap ones seem to spring up from the vapors. 

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