Samsung’s HMX-H200 is technically the entry-level model in a range that contains two more powerful brothers, but it’s far from underpowered.

While ‘entry-level’ all too often means no frills, no fun and no upgrade path, in the H200’s case it simply means that a few nice but inessential features have been done away with to shave a few pennies from the price.

Tasty chips

The H200 lacks the built-in storage found on the higher-end models, but you still get the important stuff – an f1.8 lens and a 3.3MP CMOS sensor from Samsung’s new range of backlit chips that promise to finally do away with CMOS’s reputation for poor low-light performance.

Rather than giving you 1080p with glitches, poor colours, rubbish contrast and motion blur, the H200 has gone for 1080i and nailed it. As a result, the H200’s spec sheet doesn’t look as impressive as some of its rivals, but succeeds where it counts – on the screen.

Pictures are full of vivid colours and sharp detail picked up even at long distances. In automatic shooting mode even the fastest whip pans and flashing lights barely fox the focus and exposure, and even under artificial light – usually the bane of camcorders – the H200 captures great looking pictures backed up with a good loud audio pick up.

Review continues after the break…

Motion sickness

Just about the only complaints we can make about the H200 is that the processor produces a few artifacts when shooting fast motion and, of course, the looks: among a range of interesting designs, the H200’s looks are positively plain.

These superficial quibbles are offset not only by the camera’s performance, but also by its features list – with spot-focusing, built-in editing software, a time lapse mode and 20x optical zoom, it’s a fine buy at the price.

Stuff says... 

Samsung HMX-H200 review

Won’t win awards for its looks, but a fine performer that punches well above its price point