Hello, haven't we seen this Aiptek somewhere before? Yes, it bears a remarkable likeness to the Toshiba Camileo Pro HD. But hold on a minute, that Tosh was £100 cheaper.
Has Aiptek adopted a cunning 'reassuringly expensive' marketing ploy? Not a bit of it. While the two cams may have more than a passing resemblance, the Z500 Plus aces its budget friend with the features.
1080p, kind of
The optical zoom's still only 3x but check out that 60fps 720p sticker, a frame rate twice that’s twice what the Toshiba can manage. That should mean silky smooth video. But wait, there's more. It'll even do full-blown 1080p, a feat many pricier cams can't perform.
Natch, there's a bit of fudging going on to get that 1080p badge at this price. For a kick-off it's only 30fps, so not nearly as judder-free as 1080p footage should be. Then it's of the 1440x1080 resolution variety, which means pixels are being stretched to fit your 1920x1080 telly.
Keep looking at the price when you check out the Aiptek's case. Toshiba did well to go with a more sophisticated black and rubber finish. This creaky silver plastic job is of the cheap and decidedly nasty variety.
The screen is identical to the Toshiba's, which is to say it isn't exactly hi-res, but it'll do. The menus are at simple and well thought through. The buttons are in easy reach but have been switched from Toshiba's rubber ones to cheap, hard plastic.
All in all, just about everything looks like it’s been done for a price. Plonk it on the table next to a 'proper' camcorder and you'll be beaten out the pub to howls of derision. Perhaps think about investing in a case, or a paper bag.
But enough of such frippery, it's all about the footage, right? Sadly it's just as bad. The 1080p video looks great, until you move. Then its Judder City and wavy lines all over the place. The 720p mode, while not as sharp, is better but, honestly, we're having trouble seeing any improvement over the Tosh.
In low light it becomes a joke. A wander down a dim corridor turns the screen to black and pretty much any indoor footage is decidedly grainy. Outdoors in the sunshine is definitely where this cam likes to play.
Sadly for Aiptek it just delivers too little for the money. Pay £100 less and you get the Camileo Pro HD, which does everything a YouTuber could want. And £100 more bags you the Sanyo HD1000, which is in a different league to this in quality. In other words, don't expect to see it in our Top 10 any time soon.