Canon Vixia mini Review (Video)
Canon's newest camcorder is the company's most unique to date.
With its unusual form factor, the Vixia mini is Canon's most unique camcorder, and it's the company's first foray into the world of pocketable recording devices. At $299 the camcorder is cheaper than your standard Vixia, but it's on the high end compared to most of the pocket-cam competition.
With a design that evokes a miniature projector more than the rough-and-tumble action cams the mini seems set to compete against, can Canon carve out a new niche in the market?
Design and Features
With a rotating LCD and kickstand—but no mounting options—the Vixia mini is more of a homebody than a go-getter.
Canon seems to be targeting the Vixia mini towards people who want to record musical performances, cooking demonstrations, or lectures, with the option to throw that content directly onto the web. With its wide-angle lens, built-in kickstand, and LCD that can twist to face towards you when you're on camera, the Canon mini is a cinch to setup and record all by yourself. On top of that, the Vixia mini has built-in WiFi that lets you send videos directly to YouTube or pair the camcorder with your smartphone.
The hands-free recording mentality is something Canon stole from adventure-cam models like the wearable GoPro or Contour models, but the Vixia mini doesn't have the mounting capabilities of those products. Instead, it offers more flexibility when setting up to record in a static environment. The result is a camera that's more geared toward people who want to capture wide-angle recordings in the comfort of their kitchen or living room—not while jumping out of an airplane or snowboarding in the Alps.
While the mini could certainly be adapted to work in those circumstances, the plastic construction and lack of mounting hardware are a real drawback there. The image quality, slow motion recording options, and portability are there, but right out of the box the $300 mini feels too vulnerable to risk by taking it anywhere too dangerous.
Can Canon's newest camcorder compete with GoPro? Or does the mini come up short?
The Vixia mini is a tad overpriced, but it's a good first step for Canon.
Is there a compelling reason to go with the Vixia mini over the incredibly popular GoPro? The mini is easier to use thanks to its built-in articulating LCD and kickstand, and its image quality was quite impressive (it is a Canon, after all), but at $299 the mini isn't all that cheap. GoPro, Contour, and Sony all make wearable adventure cams that are cheaper, far more versatile, and incredibly durable thanks to provided waterproof housings. There is an argument for the simple, user-friendly features that the Vixia mini provides, but we're not completely won over yet. Even so, the Vixia mini is an innovative move for Canon, and we're excited to see the company put an effort in this direction.
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