Who needs an HD camcorder when you can fake it for cheap? That seems to be the rationale behind Samsung's latest standard-def offerings, the SMX-K40 and SMX-K45, a pair of budget models which include an HDMI connector and some mysterious "advanced upscaling" technology to play it on an HDTV in "near full-HD quality."
If I sound dubious, it could be because based on the specs--it's not clear, but it sounds like they use a submegapixel CCD--I have doubts they will be able to produce decent standard-def video, much less attractively turn 720x480 into 1,280x720 (or heaven forbid 1,920x1,080) HD output. But never fear, because you also get the essential stalker zoom lens for that warm and fuzzy outspeccing-the-Joneses-for-a-low-low-price feeling. In this case that means 52x magicaliciously Intelli-Zoomed to 65x. At least they have optical image stabilization.
The K40 has no built in memory, while the K45 has 32GB. It seems to matter to Samsung that the K45 uses SSD rather than some other type of built-in flash memory, but it's only notable because it makes the price difference between the two models a whopping $170 rather than the usual $100.
More interestingly, like direct-to-Web minicamcorders you can charge these models via USB and the K45 has the editing and upload software in memory. Plus, HDMI is nice to have for HDTV connectivity, upscaling notwithstanding. And the design is quite attractive (very reminiscent of Sony's older CX models).
The SMX-K40 will run $329.99, and the K45 will cost $499.99 when they ship in August.