Announced at the beginning of the year and available in the US for a while, the Mattel Hotwheels Video Racer is due to arrive on UK shores just in time for Christmas. We jumped at the chance to have a play, I mean, a test of the video camera built in to this tiny car.
Mattel Hotwheels Video Racer Features
Mattel Hotwheels Video Racer
While not too rich on features, the car is compact and allows you to view and delete videos you've recorded on the back screen of the car.
VGA video, 30fps with sound
High speed video at 320x240, 60fps with sound
Built in rechargeable battery
512mb built in
12 min standard, 25 minutes high speed recording
45 to 60 minute battery life
Mattel Hotwheels Video Racer Handling
Mattel Hotwheels Video Racer
There is a side on/off switch, a large button on the top to start and stop recording and two buttons under the screen. At the back is the USB socket, used for charging and transferring images. Included in the box is a short USB cable, velcro strap, 2 fastenings for use with velcro, 2 fastenings for use with the 2 provided sticky pads, a case for the car that clips onto the attachments and an instructions manual. The fastenings allow you to mount the camera to a helmet, bike handle bars, a car dashboard, or anywhere else you can think of.
Video software is not included in the box, instead you can download the software from hotwheels.com/videoracer where there is a 183mb download. Full instructions for the car are also on the website.
Mattel Hotwheels Video Racer Performance
Indoor Quality - the video recorder coped well indoors in standard office lighting.
Another example video: Mounted to the dashboard of a Mini, on a bright day it coped with the light, but when used to record a trip at night the street lights weren't enough to give a good view:
Value For Money
The car is £65 boxed with the accessories you see above, including the mounts for different uses, but does not include any track. Small digital video recorders that can be attached to a variety of surfaces are available for a lot less, such as this Mini DV recorder, but none of them are also as much fun as a toy car.
Mattel Hotwheels Video Racer Verdict
While the Hotwheels Video Racer doesn't feature many options, or controls, it does do video reasonably well, with acceptable VGA quality. It would be nice if the sound quality was better, but for what it's intended for it is reasonable and works well as a kids toy. Having a video in a tiny car is a novel idea and could be worth investing in, especially if you have a lot of Hotwheels track already. If you just want a portable, compact digital video recorder there are cheaper alternatives available.
Mattel Hotwheels Video Racer Pros
Easy to use
Built in screen
Lots of attachments
Mattel Hotwheels Video Racer Cons
Doesn't auto switch off
Can't access on/off switch when in case
Audio quality poor