If you really want to get technical, look at the sensor size of the device. The larger it is, the better (generally) quality image it will capture (and video, I mean) and the better it performs in low light. They generally have lower noise in the images they capture.
Larger sensors tend to have better dynamic range and can handle highlights better.
Ideal camera/recorder would be a large sensor with at least 10x optical zoom, image stabilization, and ideally a 3-CCD camera, one sensor per each pixel of RGB, which is what the more expensive Canons, for instance, are like.
But, if we mean consumer level, I want large sensor, good optics (that includes LARGE aperture), GOOD battery life, and ruggedness...and I'd like variable compression and 1080p recording. Storage? Give me a built in SSD or flash memory, at least 128 gb but ideally 256 gb.