Toshiba Camileo BW10
Toshiba's Camileo BW10 is a simple, waterproof minicamcorder. And by simple, I mean it does little more than shoot full HD-resolution video and 5-megapixel photos on land and in the water to depths of 6.5 feet for up to 60 minutes. If you're looking for more than that, you probably want skip the BW10. But those who want an inexpensive pocket video camera for wet weather or poolside use might like what it has to offer--regardless of how little that actually is.
Though the BW10 isn't shockproof or crushproof, it does feel a bit tougher than a nonwaterproof minicamcorder. It's small and lightweight, so throwing it in a pocket or small bag isn't a problem. On the bottom is a locking, well-sealed door covering the SD card slot and removable battery pack. The left side has another door protecting its Micro-USB port (used for charging and file transfers) and Mini-HDMI port. There is no flip-out USB connector, so you'll need a cable or a card reader to move files to a computer.
|Key specs||Toshiba Camileo BW10|
|Dimensions (HWD)||4.2x2.2x0.9 inches|
|Weight (with battery and media)||3.7 ounces|
|Storage type||SD/SDHC/SDXC cards up to 64GB|
|Resolution, type||5 megapixels, CMOS|
|LCD size||2-inch LCD|
|Lens||Fixed focal length, f2.8 47mm (35mm equivalent)|
|File format (video, audio)||H.264 video, mono AAC audio (.MP4)|
|Resolution (highest)||1,920x1,080 pixels at 30fps (13Mbps; progressive)|
|Image stabilization type||Electronic|
|Battery type, rated life||Removable lithium ion rechargeable, 70 minutes|
|Software||Camileo YouTube Uploader (Windows), Magix Video deluxe 15 (Windows; 30-day trial)|
Despite the busy control panel below the small 2-inch LCD, the BW10's operation is straightforward. Press and hold the power button (it takes roughly 7 seconds to go from off to recording) and then press the video record button or shutter release for photos. There's a directional pad in the center: press right to change video resolution, left to change photo resolution, and up and down to control the digital zoom. There's a playback button for viewing photos and videos, and you can capture stills from videos by pausing the clip and pressing the shutter release. There's a menu button, too, but there's little reason to use it.
The BW10 is all automatic. The only shooting options are selecting resolutions for photos (5, 2, 0.9, and 0.3 megapixels) and videos (1080p, 720p, or 480p, all at 30 frames per second) and turning on face detection and tracking. There is a 10x digital zoom (not that you should use it), and there's electronic image stabilization that can't be shut off. You can't even turn off the beeping that accompanies menu selections or the shutter release sound.
|Features||Toshiba Camileo BW10|
|Lens cover (auto or manual)||None|
Video quality is good, but it doesn't compare to video from a full-fledged camcorder. At 1080p and 720p resolutions, the movies are enjoyable to watch at small sizes on a computer screen, with the former being sharper than the latter. At larger sizes, such as on a big HDTV, things like rolling shutter wobble, judder when panning, and motion blur and artifacting with fast-moving subjects are much more noticeable. At small sizes they're not bad enough to ruin your video. The electronic image stabilization seems to help with hand shake some, but don't expect it to be rock-steady if there's a lot of movement.
Indoor and low-light video is mediocre, which is pretty typical for minicamcorders, especially lower-end models like the BW10. Basically, you'll see all the same problems I mentioned above, but more of them and with visible grainy noise. There is a small LED lamp on front to help light close subjects, but I wouldn't count on it to brighten entire scenes.
Photo quality is on par with a camera phone; good enough in bright lighting for sharing online, but poor in low light. The BW10 does have autofocus for photos and video, and can focus on subjects about a foot from the lens.
Unlike most shoot-and-share minicamcorders, the BW10 has no embedded software. Included with it on a disc, though, are a basic YouTube uploader and a 30-day trial of editing software; both are Windows-only, and if you want to buy the full version of the software it'll set you back $90.
While the Toshiba Camileo BW10 isn't a standout in any way, it's not without merit. It is waterproof after all and can be found for little more than $100. It's easy to use, and although its video is full HD in resolution only, it's good enough for YouTube sharing.
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