Zoom Q2HD Review: Nice Mic, Forgettable Video

By Andrew Tarantola on at

Zoom makes some fine audio recording equipment—not the best in the industry, but generally a fantastic value. Now, with the £149 Q2HD, the company has added video recording capability to a nice handheld field microphone. Is it going to make you the next Ron Burgundy?

 

What Is It?

A handheld 24-bit audio recorder paired with 1080p video.

 

Who's it For?

Citizen journalists, musicians, bootleggers, filmmakers on a shoestring budget.

 

Design

A mid-side mic and a forward-facing 5MP camera fit into a 2 x 5-inch package that weighs less than three ounces.

 

Using It

As an audio recorder, it's fantastic. It's a bit awkward as a video recorder—the camera, placed just above the grip, lets a finger find its way into the shot.

 

The Best Part

Its versatility. It works as a USB mic, tethers to a laptop for live content streaming, and records full HD video.

 

Tragic Flaw

It runs on a pair of AA batteries (either disposable or NiMH) but not for particularly long—only about two hours with video, four hours with just audio.

 

This Is Weird...

Whaddya mean I can't charge it via USB?

 

Test Notes

- The manual gain can be adjusted on the fly and the mid-side mic can focus from a 150 degree wide field to a narrow 30 degree pickup.
- Compact and lightweight, yes. Tough and sturdy, not so much. Don't drop it.
- Mic level meters take up the bottom third of the viewfinder screen and can be intrusively distracting when filming.
- The HDMI output, when combined with the on-board editing features, eliminates the need for a computer for on-the-fly video trimming.
- The UI is simple and intuitive, though finicky if you have thick fingers.

 

Should You Buy It?

Zoom products can deliver pro-quality audio at hobbyist prices. The gear is solid. That said, the video on this device is comparable to what an iPhone shoots—but with a brief run time and an awkward grip. The better bet for this brand for a novice is to skip the video entirely to use the £80, audio-only H1. Some pro videographers are already capturing great audio with a Zoom H4n.