Panasonic HM-TA20 rugged minicamcorder review: Pricey, but good

Your smartphone might shoot HD video, but this minicamcorder can go where most phones can't: 10 feet under water.


Panasonic's first attempt at a minicamcoder, the TA1, was a mess. The video quality was OK, but it offered no advantages over competing models; had mediocre editing and sharing software; and felt cheap considering its near $170 price. That's not the case with the Panasonic HM-TA20.

A waterproof, dustproof, and shockproof update to the TA1, the TA20 fixes much of what was wrong with the first-gen model. Mainly it's just a better design with more-useful features and easier operation due in part to a large touch screen. The embedded software is still a bit lacking compared with what competitors like Kodak include, but it's no longer the worst I've seen. You're paying extra for the durability (list price is $199.99), too, so if you don't need it there's a nonrugged version, the TA2, available for about $30 less.

Read the full review.

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Panasonic HM-TA20

As rugged minicamcorders go, the Panasonic HM-TA20 is very good and definitely deserves consideration.