If you use a pocket camcorder, you’re used to crummy, tinny audio being captured alongside your HD video. So, what if manufacturers turned such low consumer expectations on their ear and designed a high-quality audio recorder that just so happens to do video -- complete with a bump to 1080p HD? Olympus’ new recorder is just that -- a capable video device for audio enthusiasts that’s unfortunately hampered by one unique design decision.
Close your eyes, and watch some video. Now open them, but plug your ears. Neither one seems complete, so why do most home camcorder jockeys ignore the audio and focus only on the picture? The Zoom Q3HD gets the balance right, shooting HD video while capturing audio with two terrific microphones. You’ll be able to see and hear footage from a music recital, a quiet grandfather telling stories, or nearly any other situation where other pocket cams would fail. While we can pick at the Q3HD’s many issues—including weak battery life and a narrow lens—we’d gladly take its results over competitors.