Digital Life: Capture the high on camera
High definition has become the buzzword of the last five years, with everything from TVs to DVDs touting stunning resolution. Hell, there's even a mobile phone claiming to record high-def video!
Camcorder makers have been plugging away at HD since 2007 but only lately have the prices come down from the stratosphere. The Canon Legria HF M31 is a good example.
Small and manageable thanks to its use of flash memory instead of bulky old tapes, the HF M31 still captures gloriously vivid video at full HD. The 32GB of storage on board gobbles up to three hours of footage, and a memory card slot enables you to keep on shooting after that.
Canon chose to relegate practically all controls to the monitor's touchscreen -- the system works, albeit in quite a fiddly manner. Put it this way: the HF M31 is no iPhone.
However, many owners will be happy with the automatic controls and may never need to delve into the menus.
Other quibbles include the noticeable graininess when the lights are low and the camera shake, that the HF M31 is unable to control at full zoom.
The balance is redressed somewhat by clever touches such as the Pre-Rec mode -- which automagically begins recording three seconds before you press the start button -- and fast-focusing. The icing on the cake is the quality of the video: crisp and vibrant high-definition in good conditions.
However, the Canon is a good deal dearer that some rivals in the same HD bracket, so shop around online.
Canon Legria HF M31, €850
If a fairy could grant iPhone owners just one wish, odds are most would choose extra battery life. The majority of iPhones are lucky to make through a single day thanks to their owners' appetite for juice-sapping internet, and so on. A few solutions present themselves: carry a separate battery pack for top-ups or choose one of those ultra-chunky sleeves that double as a protective case while hiding an extra battery.
The Case-Mate Fuel Lite sleeve attempts a half-way house: a slim-ish rubber casing delivering 40pc extra battery life. However, it's noticeably fatter than a typical protective-only sleeve and blocks the iPhone's connection port. Both phone and case can be charged simultaneously with a different cable, however.
The Fuel Lite makes for an acceptable compromise between battery longevity and iPhone pocketability.
Case-Mate Fuel Lite, €50, from O2 stores