Coming to us in a fairly unpleasant ‘blazing yellow’ colour, this waterproof camera from instant favourite Polaroid is designed with extreme sports in mind.
Those indulging in skiing, climbing, walking, snorkelling and ‘general travel’ appear to be its main targets, and its watertight design allows it not only to be rain-soaked and snow-dunked, but submerged to a depth of three metres. Lightweight and measuring 90x62x20mm, the x800E has a solid feel to it, with the polycarbonate casing that is relatively easy to grip. The outer layer also sports a lanyard hook and a single watertight cover that shields its memory card slot, the mini USB (Pictbirdge compatible) port and battery compartment.
Design & specs
The x800E’s safe ‘n’ small design involves a few compromises, though none are particularly surprising. The first is the use of AAA batteries. Of course, rechargeable variants are available, though we imagine most users will use alkaline. Polaroid recommends this version of battery, if 20 or less photographs are taken with the x800E per month, but this could be a real plus point for overnight ski tours or two-day walks where mains charging will be impossible. Other compromises to portability include a microSD card slot (something that means a mini USB-USB cable will most likely needed to be carried around for getting photographs off the x800E), and the use of a fixed lens. Polaroid does offer an 8x digital zoom, but the lack of an optical zoom really does restrict the x800E’s versatility.
Switching between landscape and macro mode is, unusually, a manual affair, through a physical lever on the camera’s side. Another odd feature is that the rudimentary menus are operated using the shutter release button as the ‘OK’ control – which takes a bit of getting used to. The 2.4-inch LCD screen on the x800E’s rear turns out to be its major weakpoint; its soft, low-resolution construction makes photos difficult to frame, and hard to judge in terms of quality, with clarity reducing even further in sunlight.
Detail from x800E’s eight-megapixel sensor is relatively high, though there’s noticeable picture noise, and colours lack vibrancy. Pictures lack detail, too, due in no small part to the fact that the shutter button is rounded and not sensitive enough; jogging the camera while taking a picture is inevitable – a major design flaw.
Using the flash can be frustrating, with long waits between uses, though we wouldn’t recommend using the x800E indoors – as it delivers noisy photos in low light conditions, and the flash only causes over exposure.
Video capture is only possible in basic 640×480 pixel VGA quality, though that’s enough for YouTube. These are saved as MOV files, the results again suffer from noise and, if you use the digital zoom even a modicum, excessive pixilation is achieved.
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- Waterproof, easy-grip design, durability, AAA battery-powered.
- MicroSD card, low-resolution LCD screen, noisy photographs.
Superior to a throwaway underwater camera and sporting a surprisingly durable, highly travel-friendly design that works well in the waves. Although the waterproof lacklustre x800E’s stills and videos take the gloss, from an otherwise engaging effort.