Samsung’s Full HD pocket shooter has an innovative, tactile design – but is the spec sheet missing something important?
The big guns have well and truly arrived in pocket camcorder town. What was once a playground for Flip and Creative is now a warzone for Kodak’s Zi8, Sony’s MHS-PM1 and now Samsung’s debut, the 1080p U10.
Its claim to fame is an angled, ergonomic design. The 7-degree bend in the body shape certainly gives it a unique profile, and makes it easier to frame video and take 10MP stills.
A practical selection of shooting options – from the Full HD of 1920x1080 to 1280x720, and also 720x480 – lets you choose between squeezing more footage onto your SDHC/SD card or opting for less footage but at a better resolution for watching on your TV.
Those wise owls at Samsung have also provided charging options: you can power up from the mains or connect the U10 to a computer and charge it via USB. This makes sense as most pocket shooters trade heavily on the potential to quickly upload clips to sharing sites like YouTube and Flickr.
PC users are also treated to embedded software. This allows super-fast uploading, as the software opens as soon as you connect the cam to a PC.
It’s then a simple case of selecting the movies you want to post and pressing the one-touch sharing button. Mac users aren’t left out, though – the U10 records in the H.264 codec, so you can also play clips using QuickTime.
The U10 does suffer a few rocky moments, chiefly due to omissions from what is otherwise an excellent range of features. There’s no HDMI output to allow you to connect to a high-def telly, which is a shame when the U10 is capable of shooting in Full HD.
The digital zoom is also baffling. Shoot in anything other than Full HD and you have a 4x zoom – but select Full HD and you have no zoom at all.
And, be warned, the U10 boasts some touch-sensitive controls. These look nice but are unresponsive, making it frustrating when you want to be snappy with your menu selections.
Time for the upswing: the results from both video and stills are superb. The colours and level of detail are impressive for a cam (and lens) this small. So, whether you’re watching them on your computer or sharing them with your family online, everyone will be impressed – unless you’re uncles are the Coen brothers.
Admittedly, the low-light performance isn’t the greatest, but that’s a cross most pocket-sized cams have to bear. If you can handle the frustration of its touchscreen menu system, the Samsung U10 is well worth an audition.
Samsung HMX-U10 review
Superb video and a comfortable design, but those fiddly touchscreen menus can make it an awkward customer