Samsung HMX-Q10 review
Samsung is pitching its user-friendly Full HD video-recording HMX-Q10 as comprehensively featured yet affordable. Like the Panasonic, this has a CMOS sensor at its heart, but costs half as much. At around £200, it’s our test bargain, along with the Toshiba. For those looking for an all-in-one tool, 4.9-megapixel stills are offered alongside video, courtesy of a 5-megapixel sensor. This is fair for an entry-level HD camcorder, though it hardly challenges smartphone output.
The Q10 is most interesting for being what Samsung has termed its first ‘switch-grip’ camcorder, enabling the device to be held and used in either hand. This is achievable because the controls are not only very limited; in the case of the record button and encircling zoom control, they’re also centrally located at the rear.
Samsung has managed to achieve this while maintaining a small and compact form factor; to use an inelegant comparison it’s of similar proportions to the tube inside a toilet roll. The hidden battery is charged in-camera and output ports lurk under a slide-open side flap that hides beneath the 2.7in LCD. Here the zoom – a modest 10x optical, 20x digital – is optically stabilised to prevent blur resulting from hand wobble.
If we’ve one grumble it’s that the HMX-Q10 looks and feels distinctly plasticky and, as on the JVC, the lens cover has to be manually flicked open; it’s clearly been engineered to hit a price point. Otherwise the device is activated simply by flipping open the screen.
With large, obvious control switch grip operation, the Full HD Samsung puts convenience at the forefront of its spec
If you hold the camcorder in your right hand the screen folds out to the left as on any other such device. To hold the camera in your left hand you’re basically holding the unit upside down – but it recognises this and so flips the image and touch-sensitive icons on the LCD – now sticking out to the right – so they are presented the correct way up. As the physical controls are either at the back or the front of the camera, whichever palm you’re holding it in, they’re within easy reach.
Image quality is not quite as sharp as the Canon nor Panasonic and the built-in microphone once again picks up operational noise. The zoom is commendably silent however, even if it’s less smooth in operation than its peers. Not a bad choice for those on a budget.