Read reviews on line. One site I like is http://videoaktiv.de/ , but it is in German. They have good reviews to help you narrow down your search. When you have a shortlist, go to a shop and bring a portable hard disk. Try out the various cameras on your short list, copy what you recorded in the shop to your portable hard disk and when back home review the footage from the different cameras. Then you have a good basis to decide.
Keep things like headphone connector, accessory shoe, mic in, and other items that may be relevant to you in mind when making your short list.