Ordered 3 & g/f ordered 3. They arrived (in Northeast IL) Friday, 11/27, even before we got our e-mail notification. So that part was great.
I opened one to use at a family gathering Sat. The battery came with a bit of a charge in it, although I charged it more before using it. Do not have any SDHC cards, but used an old 1GB SD card, and got an indication for well over 30 min of HD video, up to several hours at QVGA.
My first video was taken indoors, in average indoor lighting at night. Not particularly bright or dim. I did turn up the exposure & put it on "Night" mode, as it looked rather dark in the viewfinder. Video came out fairly grainy & washed out, with quite noticible vertical bands. Worse however, are flaws in the optical sensor. When filming, I figured it was a dead pixel on the viewscreen. Unfortunately, it's there on the video when played back on computer or TV monitor. One big blob of several pixels always on full bright (visible on camcorder screen) and when on computer screen or TV, over 20 single pixels that are permanently on, spread all over the picture.
These are very visible on the indoor / darker video, especially when they pass over any darker objects. Recording in an entirely black room today reveals them in all recording modes.
Outdoors, in bright sunlight, none of the dead sensor pixels are visible on the footage. However, the video is nowhere near as good as I had expected after viewing the YouTube samples. There is a LOT of noise & jitter in the video. Shooting a bunch of leaves on the ground looked almost like a random collage of colors... hard to make out what the camera is looking at.
Audio was ok. Not great at picking up soft stuff, but most conversations are clear. Shouting kids or even moderate volume piano send the mic into a world of (monaural) distortion.
Digital zoom looked pretty bad to me at any level. If you turn on the image stabilization, the zoom locks at whatever setting it is at when you turn IS on.
Not a huge difference in resolution between HD, D1, and VGA when hooked up to a 42" plasma TV with just the composite video cable. Have not tried the HDMI cable yet. QVGA blown up to that size looks... well, you can probably imagine... Seems to be impressionistic painting with a video camera.
This one will have to be returned / exchanged with the dead pixel problem. As for the other 5, I don't know whether to open & test them one at a time, or resell, still sealed, on eBay or to the person who offered $80 here for one earlier in the thread. Called Memorex & they will replace it under warrantee, but I have to pay shipping. They suggested I check WOOT's return policy. There, it looks like I could get my $ back, but will still have to pay shipping.
Perhaps the first one was just a lemon. I had high hopes for these, so am tempted to open / test one or more of the others. Don't know what I'll do at this point.