Design and features
The Q10 looks unassuming enough from the outside — a compact camcorder with plastic finish, minimal protrusions and a small array of buttons. It's only when you observe the grip on the side that things start to look a little different. This is a camcorder for ambidextrous or left-handed filmers, as you can hold the camera in either your left or right hand.
So, as a result, the controls at the back work regardless of how you hold the camera, with a large record button nestled in the middle of a zoom control that's shaped like a big wheel. The simple design carries over to the Q10's operation; open the screen and be presented with the dulcet tones of Samsung's jingle to greet your cinematic tendencies. The 2.7-inch touchscreen hosts all of the remaining controls and shooting modes, accessible by pressing the home button just to the side. These modes include smart auto, manual mode, art film (apply different colour and fade effects) and album (playback mode). Inside, the camcorder is equipped with a backlit CMOS sensor able to take 5-megapixel still images and full 1080/50i, 720/50p or 576/50p video.
The 10x optical zoom lens has a maximum aperture of f/1.8. Dual image stabilisation is also provided; however, you do need to activate this from within the menus — it's not active by default. Connectivity is provided via A/V and mini-USB out as well as mini-HDMI. The Q10 uses a rechargeable Lithium-ion battery (charged in-camera), as well as SD/SDHC cards for storage.
Performance and video quality
Backlit CMOS sensors are designed to deliver better image quality in low-light conditions. Unfortunately, from our low-light test on the Q10, this camcorder doesn't exactly live up to that promise. Videos taken under these conditions exhibit a lot of coloured noise, and a general lack of clarity. Note that in this test video, the dual optical image stabilisation was turned off.
Footage filmed in adequate light and under artificial lighting looks pretty good for a camcorder of this price. It's just a pity that the low-light quality is so poor.
Still image quality is decent, though again there's a fair amount of noise present on the image when zoomed in to full magnification. Sound quality is fine from the built-in microphones at the front of the camcorder, with not too much wind noise audible.
The Q10 is incredibly easy for just about anyone to pick up and use, regardless of their experience with video cameras. What lets it down is the very poor low-light recording.