The latest camcorders are small, light, affordable and capable of shooting HD video. PC Advisor reviews 12 delectably diminutive devices.

Compact camcorders: the future's tiny

Shooting video directly to removable media has a couple more advantages. You're not restricted in terms of storage space, for one thing: if you want to shoot for longer you can simply insert a higher-capacity card. With SDHC boasting a 32GB capacity, the flash camcorder is reasonably future-proofed. And since the technology is ‘solid state', there is, in theory, less potential for something to go wrong.

Camcorders are shrinking, with their dimensions getting nearer and nearer to those of mobile phones. Prices are getting smaller too, as such products become the latest must-have mass-market devices.

More of us are investing in HDTVs and flat-panel screens and many of today's camcorders shoot in 16:9 widescreen movie format, complete with stereo sound. The Mpeg4 footage captured by such models can be replayed on almost any PC using Windows Media Player, QuickTime or RealPlayer.

However, for all the talk about the superior quality of HD video, the total pixel count only actually translates to a 2Mp image; paltry by still camera standards. And, of course, file sizes will inevitably be large even for short video bursts, so it might be worth investing in an additional drive.

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