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[EngadgetHD] Samsung SC-HMX20C HD camcorder review by Darren Murph

[EngadgetHD] Samsung SC-HMX20C HD camcorder review by Darren Murph

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Published by moscos123
Samsung's SC-HMX20C is small. Real small when you consider the resolution at which this thing captures at. The unit can fit within one's palm, and while it is a bit heavy, toting it around in a cargo pocket wouldn't be entirely out of the realm of possibility.
Samsung's SC-HMX20C is small. Real small when you consider the resolution at which this thing captures at. The unit can fit within one's palm, and while it is a bit heavy, toting it around in a cargo pocket wouldn't be entirely out of the realm of possibility.

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Published by: moscos123 on Jul 10, 2008
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Camcorder/SC-HMX20CEngadgetHD.com
June 2008
1. Website
2. Review
 
Samsung SC-HMX20C HD camcorder review
by
, posted Jun 17th 2008 at 11:05AMShortly after spending some quality time with theworld's most diminutive HD camcorder ,we were able to corral another remarkably small competitor -- one that shoots 1080p.Samsung's SC-HMX20Cwasn't built to fit into the average back pocket, but its array of features more than made up for the size. After a week of wrapping our palm around thiscritter and capturing clips from everything ranging from America's pastime to a leisurelywalk in the 'hood, we're ready to disclose our thoughts on the matter. Interested? Catch thefull review after the jump.
Design
Samsung's SC-HMX20C is small.
Real 
small when you consider the resolution at which thisthing captures at. The unit can fit within one's palm, and while it is a bit heavy, toting itaround in a cargo pocket wouldn't be entirely out of the realm of possibility. The device itself felt extremely solid, the flip-out LCD was sturdy, and overall, we were very impressed withhow it fit in our hands when shooting. It should be noted that the SDHC / MMC+ card slot is
 
tucked behind the same door as the battery, but it's not like you have to remove the batteryto access the card slot. Additionally, the video outputs are hidden behind a small door which is concealed behind the flip-out LCD. Not a problem for us -- just letting the quirks beknown.
User Interface
Touchscreen LCD monitors can always be hit or miss, particularly on handheld camcorders.We're pleased to say that the flip-out touch panel on this unit was undoubtedly useful andwell implemented. The screen did have a thing for maintaining fingerprints, but it never became more than a minor annoyance. It recognized haphazard touches and only misreadour true intentions once or twice during an entire week. Our only real dig here was theslight pause between menu switches; momentary lag was introduced when traversingbetween a deep menu item and one closer to the top, but it never proved to be anythingmore than a slight irritation.The menu system itself was exceptionally well-crafted. A "Quick Menu" button pulled up thesix most popular selections (Storage Medium, Resolution, White Balance, Focus, Exposureand Shutter), and at no time did we feel the screen was too cluttered with options. The in-depth menus were yet again well thought out and easy to navigate, making on-the-flytweaks relatively easy to achieve. Switching between Movie Mode, Photo Mode andPlayback Mode was even simpler, as Samsung provided a dedicated button just beside thePhoto Capture button solely for swapping between that trio.We also appreciated the twin record and zoom buttons; users can zoom in / out and stop /start recording by hitting the thumb buttons on the unit itself 
or 
by selecting them on the flip-out display. Again, a minor -- albeit thoughtful -- touch. Overall, the SC-HMX20C wasdesigned for the average joe / jane to pick up and fire up without ever having to tear intothe user's manual. Sure enough, the only time we ever referenced said pamphlet was justto make sure we didn't miss anything while surfing around the UI ourselves. Granted, thisalso speaks volumes about its intended audience. Yeah, it does 1080/30p and 1080/60i(along with 480/60p and an SD-only SlowMotion mode), but this camcorder isn't made for professionals. That being said, folks obsessed with archiving every single family outing in
 
stunning HD will find plenty to love.
Video performance
Okay, so the UI is remarkable, but how's about the actual performance? First off, we werequite amazed to find that the 8GB of internal storage space could hold around 71 minutesof 1080/30p or 1080/60i in Super Fine mode. Knock those resolutions down a bit (butc'mon, who is going to do that?), and you can fetch upwards of 2 hours without evenslapping your own SDHC card in there. A fully charged battery showed about 90 minutes of life, and even with heavy LCD use, it proved quite accurate.Capturing video was a cinch, and we really appreciated how the camcorder kept track of files internally. Upon connecting it to a Windows XP-based machine, it simply mounted as adrive and enabled us to pull the MPEG-4 clips over to our PC's hard drive. Simple as that.Be forewarned though -- playing back said clips via QuickTime requires a pretty potentcomputer. Otherwise, Full HD clips will skip and stutter as your rig attempts to churnthrough.Overall, we'd have to say we're pretty pleased with the unit's ability to log clips. Yeah, wewish that totally novel SlowMotion mode was available in HD, and we wish the low lightperformance was a touch better (as with every other camcorder out there), but we reallycan't find too much to kvetch about. While shooting in broad daylight, we were satisfied withresults when keeping in mind that the target audience is novice / amateur users. Clips werefree from excessive grain, the audio capture was sufficient and playback on both acomputer and an HDTV was up to par. The 10x zoom was decidedly smooth and snappy,as well.While shooting in low light, the expected grain monster reared its ugly head, but such is thecase with all small, handheld camcorders to be frank. In other words, we wouldn'trecommend this unit for those who find themselves using it primarily at night or in dimly litscenarios, but those who wander outside every now and then during the day (imagine that!)will probably be pleased with what it can do. One other note on the SlowMotion: it's a sweet

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