Panasonic SDR-SW20 review: Panasonic SDR-SW20

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CNET Editors' Rating

2.5 stars OK
  • Overall: 5.2
  • Design: 5.0
  • Features: 6.0
  • Performance: 5.0
  • Image quality: 5.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Waterproof to 5 feet with decent results.

The Bad Poor performance and image quality; insecure handstrap; relatively expensive.

The Bottom Line The Panasonic SDR-SW20's only saving grace is its water-, shock-, and dust-proof body (and even those have limitations). Otherwise, there's no reason to buy this pocket camcorder.

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For those who need a compact, weatherproof camcorder that can take some abuse and only plan on sharing the results online, the Panasonic SDR-SW20 may be of interest. Otherwise there are plenty of pocket camcorders that produce the same or better video for less money.

The SW20's major selling point is its sturdy, waterproof body. It's protected down to 5 feet underwater for a maximum of 30 minutes at a time, adhering to the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 60529 IPX8 standard. It's also dustproof and resists damage if dropped from heights up to 4 feet (using MIL-STD-810F method 516.5 for shock testing). And for all its toughness, the SW20, which records MPEG-2 video at a maximum of 10Mbps to SD or SDHC cards, weighs only slightly more than 8 ounces and measures 1.3 inches wide by 2.5 inches high by 4.5 inches deep. It's worth noting, too, that Panasonic warns that the water-resistant packing degrades over time and recommends that a dealer replace the packing at least once every 18 months.

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Where to Buy See all prices

Panasonic SDR-SW20 (Red)

Part Number: SDRSW20R Released: Feb 1, 2008
Low Price: $299.97 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Feb 1, 2008
  • Optical Sensor Type CCD
  • Width 2.5 in
  • Depth 4.5 in
  • Height 1.3 in
  • Weight 1.2 lbs