3D camcorder

Hammacher Schlemmer's 3D camcorder

A product that attempts to split the difference between Aiptek’s budget handheld and Panasonic’s you’ve-gotta-be-kidding-me deluxe unit, Hammacher Schlemmer’s 3D camcorder mostly succeeds—delivering a party in a box for a price most consumers will be willing to pay. Hoping to score a first-mover advantage on this hot technology, Hammacher Schlemmer isn’t the first company that insiders expected to unveil an affordable 3D camcorder, but given the company’s interest and investment in cutting edge, we shouldn’t be surprised. Hammacher Schlemmer has come off the starting line strong with a product that’s certain to wow those who didn’t think we’d see 3D on the consumer market for another 3-5 years.

The writing had been on the wall that viewers and consumer electronics and enthusiasts were hungry for the next big thing. High-def had tapped out, with plasma screens flying off the shelves but HD disc formats being greeted with shrugs. With most folks waiting for their DVD player to break before plunking down for Blu-ray, 3D is fast becoming this year’s biggest video trend. Most exciting is that Hammacher Schlemmer’s 3D camcorder is moving 3D from the movie lot to the vacant lot—no one would’ve predicted a year ago that high school movie projects would be rendered in three dimensions.

Some critics have complained about the $600 MSRP—and while we concede that on paper it seems steep compared to other units about to drop, we ultimately have to declare this 3D camcorder to be good value. The tipping point for us is the included 7” media viewer—which allows for 3D viewing without glasses. 3D for the TV has been considered prohibitively expensive (this is on the verge of changing), so we were impressed that Hammacher Schlemmer included this standalone capability in a product that is beating other models to the market.

It’s clear that Hammacher Schlemmer is aiming its 3D View at a fun-loving crowd. Serious filmmakers simply won’t be satisfied with the relatively low-res video. Similarly, the two-hour battery life means you won’t want to take this unit too far from home. But this 3D camcorder is just the thing to show off your daughter’s softball pitch to your friends, or to liven up a house party (imagine seeing your friends’ dance moves in 3D!). Stiff-shirts might call 3D a gimmick, but 3D camcorders have been drawing big crowds at tradeshows and expos—proving there’s plenty of popular demand.

Hammacher Schlemmer has loaded this 3D camcorder features sure to please early adopters. Onboard storage is managed with the familiar SD card—store up to 4GB at a time. The included media viewer can carry audio through headphones—or play loud and proud through built-in speakers. This attention to detail carries over to the camcorder’s functionality—users can easily switch between 3D and 2D, and between stills and video. An admirable pioneering effort, this 3D camcorder has set the bar high for competitors and made Hammacher Schlemmer a buzzed about company.