Toshiba Camileo SX500 review

Like Samsung, Toshiba is focused on the budget end of the HD camcorder market. Its second most-advanced Camileo camcorder is the glossy black SX500 with and red detailing. Sitting just under the £230 SX900 in the range and competing directly with Samsung’s HMX-Q10, it won’t break the bank.

The SX500 offers a modest 5x optical zoom plus 12x digital extension. Its on-paper advantage is a larger number of pixels on the sensor than most rivals, notably a 10-megapixel CMOS chip at 1/2.33in. This allows for theoretically best-in-class 8-megapixel photos to be shot and committed to SD card, as well as 1,920 x 1,080 pixel Full HD video in MPEG-4 format at 30fps, with stereo microphone. Close focusing is down to 1cm.

We also get a respectable flip-out 2.7in LCD screen with a widescreen 16:9 format display and standard 230k-dot resolution, but it appears noticeably grainier indoors than rivals. Like the others here, the Toshiba boasts HDMI output alongside standard definition AV output plus USB connectivity. It’s also the most diminutive and slender model on test, smaller even than the Samsung and not much thicker than an average smartphone at 33mm. Thus if portability is an issue, the SX500 is worth considering; a rubberised non-slip surface on the battery compartment side of the device adds grip in lieu of a strap. Here again the battery is charged within the device, which takes two hours, with mains lead and adaptor provided out of the box. Power lasts an hour with continuous use.

Unusually, a 22-stage manual focus is provided and face-detection technology is offered for stills shooting, recognising up to 12 faces in the frame. Toshiba makes a claim for a decent low-light ‘4 lux’ performance too.

Cheap and unflashy it may be, but the SX500 hits the nail on the head for the latest must-haves

OUR VERDICT

In use, however, the top and backplate controls felt a little cheap for our liking – we were particularly unimpressed with the stiff and uncomfortably narrow rocker switch for operating the zoom. It’s also slower to power up from scratch with a wait of up to four seconds, and image quality was inevitably no match for models costing twice the price. Nevertheless, a sound option if compared with the likes of the now defunct Flip Video pocket cam rather than top-end models.

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