This SD card-eating cam looks ideal for making budget high-def movies. But does its slender price hide an empty features list?
Not long ago, high-definition camcorders were the size of a bazooka, and didn’t cost a great deal less. But these days we live in an enlightened world of 720p camphones (see Samsung’s Omnia HD), and sub-£200 dedicated 1080p shooters like Toshiba’s Camileo family.
The H20 is the latest addition to the four-strong range, and its fast YouTube uploads, ability to record to SD cards and 3in LCD screen (one of the largest available) suggest it could be a mighty strong competitor to foes like the Creative Vado HD and Kodak Zi6.
The Camileo H20 has an attractive design, with a vivid red flash on its 3in LCD counteracting a moody, black body. Look closer, however, and there’s not much to suggest that it could last a road trip to the outback: it’s too light in the hand and there’s a flimsy feel to the controls.
Considering it’s aimed at the beginner who wants to shoot video for fun rather than the big screen, these controls are disappointing – they don’t fall readily to hand and have multiple functions that could baffle those who just want to point and shoot.
Still, the range of movie settings gets the most from whatever capacity SD card you choose. The maximum resolution of 1440x1080 (and 30fps) is nice work for a camcorder at this price, and there are four other modes, including an 848x480 60fps option and an email-friendly 320x240 that’s top notch when you want to share a video and need reassurance that even grandma’s old PC will cope with it. PC users also have the added hurrah of software for uploading direct to YouTube.
As much as we appreciate the H20’s price, though, its features menu is just too sparse. Save for white balance and exposure settings, there aren’t many other options to improve movies. Shoot first, avoid questions later, seems to be the approach.
Not that you’ll need to do a great deal of editing – the H20’s playback performance is, for the price, impressive. Okay, the auto focus struggles on complex scenes and low-light performance is pretty bad, but in decent light and when outdoors you can record enjoyable movies with strong detail and brightness.
Simpletons like the Flip Mino HD and Creative Vado HD are certainly easier to use, but the H20 is great value and a solid budget choice if you want something that looks less like a toy and more like a traditional camcorder.
Toshiba Camileo H20 review
Stonking value and surprisingly solid movies from a very plastic-feeling cam with a few design ‘issues’