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Samsung's cheapish mainstream HD camcorders

Samsung's HMX-H300 camcorder series looks like a ho-hum update to last year's H200 models, but it's hard to be sure without more specs.


LAS VEGAS--Samsung's HMX-H300 series looks like a ho-hum update to its H200 models of 2010--but that's in part because Samsung's so stingy with its specs that it's hard to tell what's going on. The series consists of four models--the H300 ($399), H303 ($449), H304 ($499), and H305 ($599)--with the H305 incorporating 32GB of memory. I'll guess that the models differ by amount of memory, starting at 0GB and increasing in price as their predecessors do, but the company hasn't bothered to state what the differences are.

As for "improvements" over the earlier models, the H300 series jumps to an optically stabilized 30x zoom lens from a 20x and a 3-inch touch-screen LCD from a 2.7-inch (though still at the low resolution of 230,000 pixels). It does incorporate a back-illuminated sensor for theoretically better low-light quality, though I can't tell if it has sufficient resolution: the spec reads "5 Megapixel 1/4-inch (1/6.3-inch, 1.75M Effective)" and I'm waiting for an explanation as to what the heck it means.

The company claims a 3-hour battery life, which would be appreciated, and the battery charges via the USB port. Face detection and the new Record Pause feature are also implemented in this model. Like the H200 series, the HMX-H300 camcorders record 1080/60i and 720/60p video. They'll ship in February.