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Samsung SMX-C20 review: Samsung SMX-C20

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The Good Small and light; distinctive design; very easy to use; 10x optical zoom; direct Web upload function.

The Bad Standard-definition only; average video quality; poor photo quality; could be better value.

The Bottom Line A quirky, fun camcorder that records only standard-definition video and low-resolution photos, the Samsung SMX-C20 would have scored higher if it had been just a little cheaper.

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6.5 Overall

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When it get things right, Samsung is capable of producing some uniquely attractive electronic devices, and the SMX-C20 is precisely one of those products. Small, ovoid and available in various colour accents (ours was red), the SMX-C20 camcorder may not have the high-definition video capabilities of some of its rivals, but it certainly knows how to catch the eye of the more style-conscious gadget buyer. It also happens to sell for a fraction of the price of most HD cams -- £140 -- and it's about as complicated to master as a shoelace.

Given that most of us have access to either an HD TV or high-resolution computer monitor and even YouTube has gone high-def, is there really any place for SD-only camcorders these days?

A different slant

Opting for a fold-out form factor over the increasingly popular candybar designs favoured by other pocket-sized video cams, the SMX-C20 isn't afraid to buck a few trends. It features a most peculiar upward-angled lens that gives the impression someone has sheared off its front end at a 25-degree angle. This, we're told, has been implemented in the name of ergonomics. The slanted lens is supposed to encourage a healthier, more-natural hand position. Just who would be using their camcorder for RSI-inducing periods of time, we're not quite sure. What we can tell you is that holding the device non-horizontally takes a bit of getting used to and doesn't seem to help eliminate camera shake. An electronic image stabiliser is available, but this doesn't particularly help, either.

The SMX-C20's strangely slanted lens is all in the name of ergonomics, according to Samsung.

Welcome features include a 10x optical zoom, SDHC-compatible memory card slot and a one-button direct upload option that sends your clips straight to YouTube, Flickr or Facebook over USB.

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