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Samsung HMX-H200 review: Samsung HMX-H200

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MSRP: $499.99

The Good 20x optical zoom; easy-to-use touchscreen controls; useful optical image stabiliser; HDMI output.

The Bad Slightly soft video image; not great in low light; poorly placed microphone and buttons; HDMI cable not included.

The Bottom Line The Samsung HMX-H200 is not without its foibles, but, if you can overlook these, you'll find it's a competent Full HD camcorder that’s easy to use and won’t break the bank.

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6.5 Overall

At first glance, the Samsung HMX-H200 doesn't seem massively dissimilar to many other camcorders on the market. Much like the vast majority of models we've seen of late, the HMX-H200 is a small, chunky barrel shape with a fold-out LCD screen, offering 1080p-resolution, high-definition video, mid-range (4.7-megapixel) photo quality and a number of useful functions, including a 20x optical zoom, HDMI output and an image stabiliser.

There is one major difference, though. The HMX-H200 can be purchased for less than £300.

Positions, please

Far from looking cheap and nasty, the HMX-H200's build quality gives the impression of a much more expensive product. The matte black metallic body and compact style is both attractive and practical. When you start using the device, however, you'll begin to see where Samsung has cut a few corners.

For example, there's a built-in lens cover, but it needs to be opened and shut manually, rather than automatically retracting whenever the unit is switched on. Also, the HMX-H200's microphone placement isn't ideal. It's located on the top of the device and, during testing, we found our fingers frequently rubbed or partially covered the mic housing, resulting in unwanted noise in our recordings.

Similarly, some of the buttons on the HMX-H200 are a teeny bit too sensitive for a device this small. It's all too easy to accidentally brush the 'mode' button on the rear of the camcorder while filming, for example, and the slightest touch will halt recording altogether.

Worse are the buttons on the fold-out LCD. They're positioned along the outside edge of the screen at just the point where your thumb rests. This means that any adjustment you make to the angle of the screen while filming could potentially activate the zoom or terminate the recording. It sounds daft, but we were caught out by this several times in our tests.

Silly button placement on the HMX-H200's 69mm LCD panel lets the camcorder down.

Apart from that, controlling the device is straightforward. Point-and-shoot operation will be instantly familiar to anyone who's used a camcorder before. The HMX-H200 uses a touchscreen interface for many of its settings, and this is quite easy to get the hang of thanks to simple navigation and a sharp 69mm (2.7-inch) LCD display. It's also very useful to have dedicated buttons for the image stabiliser, quick menu, 'smart auto' mode and so on.

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