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Samsung HMX-U20 review

This pocket camcorder packs a quality lens offering optical zoom

Our Verdict

For

  • Good quality zoom
  • Still picture performance
  • Fast to adjust
  • Price

Against

  • Little noisier than competition
  • Slow to focus

The most noticeable feature of the Samsung HMX-U20 is the lens, which makes it look more like a serious piece of photographic equipment than a pocket video camera.

However, this feature has real benefits, like optical zoom, that differentiate the U20 from its brethren and their digital zooms. The effect is quick, smooth zooming that can be accessed during full 1080p recording and doesn’t produce noise or distortion.

The Samsung also impresses with 7.8MP stills, which beats most phone cameras hands down and even gives some digital compacts a run for their money. With all this, the Samsung U20 is a fantastic travel companion.

Footage also looked good, but results were a little noisier than those of the Toshiba and Flip MinoHD. Colours were true and it dealt with changes in light better than any other camera in our test, which harks back to that quality lens.

However, it wasn’t all plain sailing. At times the camera struggled to focus, leaving faces blurry and plunging the camera into confusion for a few seconds. This mostly occurred while shooting in busy places, but the Samsung was the only camera to really suffer. Compared to the way the Kodak and Toshiba dealt with focusing, this was disappointing, and at times made the footage all but unwatchable.

If there’s one way the U20 makes up for this, it’s through price. At £90, the camera is the cheapest in our test for a model capable of producing decent HD footage. However, there’s no memory built in, so the purchase of an 8GB card is necessary, which will bump it up to about £100.

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Tech Specs

Product TypeDigital Camcorder
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Number of Image Sensors1
Effective Image Resolution10 Megapixel
HDMIYes
Recording MediaMemory Card
Image StabilizationElectronic
Optical Zoom3x
Brand NameSamsung
Screen Size5.1 cm (2")
Video FormatsMPEG-4
Recording FormatsFull HD
Built-in DevicesMicrophone, Speaker
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityRoHS
Image Sensor Size1/2.3"
Maximum Image Resolution4224 x 2376
Maximum Frame Rate30 fps
Battery RechargeableYes
Battery IncludedYes
Audio ChannelsStereo
Maximum Battery Run Time1.67 Hour
Display Screen TypeLCD
Image Sensor TypeCMOS
Maximum Video Lines1080
Progressive ScanYes
USBYes
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card, Secure Digital (SD) Card
ColourBlack
Video SystemPAL
Focal Length5.10 mm to 15.30 mm
Image FormatsJPEG
Audio FormatsAAC
Focus ModesAuto
ManufacturerSamsung
Product ModelHMX-U20
Product NameHMX-U20 High Definition Digital Camcorder
Aperture Rangef/3.5 to 6.8
Manufacturer Part NumberHMX-U20SP/XEU
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.samsung.com/uk/
Marketing Information

The Samsung HMX-U20 now comes with upgraded sharing feature, which enables files to be uploaded to Social Network Service like YouTube at a touch of a button. Simply select the file you want to upload, the site you want to upload it to, and touch the direct upload button. Providing perfect Full HD video recordings, the Samsung HMX-U20 gives you a high-quality experience that amazingly fits into your pocket.

Microphone TechnologyElectret Condenser
Package Contents
  • HMX-U20 High Definition Digital Camcorder
  • AC adaptor / charger
  • Battery pack
  • Hand grip strap
  • A/V cable
  • Instruction book / CD
Display Resolution154000 Pixel
Limited Warranty1 Year
White Balance Modes
  • Auto
  • Custom