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Toshiba Camileo Pro review: Toshiba Camileo Pro

The Toshiba Camileo Pro is a lightweight, easy-to-use budget camcorder with a 7-megapixel sensor. It's incredibly versatile, offering eight different functions -- video capture, taking stills, webcam, voice recording, MP3 player, file storing, motion detection and ebook display

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Richard Trenholm
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Richard Trenholm

Movie and TV Senior Editor

Richard Trenholm is CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture over the past 15 years from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.

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3 min read

The Toshiba Camileo Pro is the successor to Toshiba's Camileo model. It's a lightweight, entry-level digital camcorder with no fewer than eight functions. It captures video, takes stills, works as a webcam, records voice, plays MP3s, stores files, detects motion and displays ebooks. It's available now for a rather impressive £135.

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6.5

Toshiba Camileo Pro

The Good

Lots of functions; 7-megapixel sensor.

The Bad

Clunky controls; so-so low-light performance; flash is easy to cover.

The Bottom Line

Viewed strictly on its video performance, the Toshiba Camileo Pro puts the standard in standard definition. It's not always straightforward to control, but it does have some big ideas and despite its friendly price tag never feels cheap

Design
The Camileo Pro is based on a pistol-grip upright design. It's extremely small and lightweight. You'll have to watch how you hold it, as it's tempting to cover the textured flash at the front with your fingers.

The controls are straightforward. A square four-way click-pad with a central record/shutter button controls the flash, voice memo, self-timer and screen display options. A rocker switch beneath toggles between stills and video. Below that is a pleasingly care-free thumb-level zoom rocker. A playback button and all the connections are beneath these. The USB slot and headphone jack are uncovered, which isn't ideal, while the battery doesn't have a lock to stop it dropping straight out.


The Camileo Pro utilises SD cards. As the internal memory holds less than a minute of video, memory cards would be a good investment

You switch the Camileo Pro on by flipping out the 64mm (2.5-inch) LCD screen. The screen knows when you're shooting and inverts the image so you can see yourself when you flip the screen over.

Features
Toshiba trumpets the eight functions of the Camileo Pro, although in truth some of them are basically the same. It shoots video in video capture, webcam and motion detector mode. Admittedly, the motion detector is very clever, filming for as long as it detects movement in the camera's field of vision.

On the sound side, voice memos can be recorded and MP3s played. It also stores files and allows you to read ebooks. How you feel about reading off the small screen is a personal preference, but we wouldn't want to do it for long.

The Camileo Pro boasts a fairly lame 64MB internal memory, but also takes SD cards. As always, if you're going to buy a removable flash memory-based camcorder, it's worth investing in some SD cards for increased capacity. The pack also includes a fun, flexible and sturdy mini-tripod.

Performance
The Camileo Pro wins points for not having a convoluted acronym for a name, although we're not sure how a budget, standard-definition camcorder justifies being called Pro. The straightforward approach to naming isn't echoed in the somewhat fussy control system.

Our main complaint is that the biggest and most central button isn't the shutter release. Instead, starting and stopping video and capturing stills is carried out by pressing the buttons underneath, which is far less intuitive.


There's a straightforward no-frills feel to the camcorder features. Despite an elastic-feeling zoom rocker, the zoom isn't especially responsive and doesn't work while filming. Stills cannot be captured while filming, and the internal memory holds less than a minute of video.


TheToshiba Camileo Pro includes a handy, flexible mini-tripod, which prevents you covering the flash and microphone with your hand

Video is certainly usable, however. With no zoom to worry about while filming, the autofocus is more than capable. Colours are generally well reproduced, although a tendency to overexpose leads to some bleaching out of colour in bright sunlight. Footage of movement is choppy, but only when inspected carefully.

Low-light performance is better than we expected, in that the autofocus doesn't struggle too much and metering is capable. Unfortunately, this good work is undone by excessive noise in shadow areas. Low-light footage is really only suitable for small, Internet-only video files.

Conclusion
As a lightweight, basic and extremely affordable camcorder, the Camileo Pro does the job. That said, we can't help but wonder why Toshiba has chosen to make the Camileo Pro a camcorder, as its video quality is not the biggest draw.

A digital stills camera with exactly the same specs, extras and price would be an interestingly feature-rich model, while as a camcorder, the Camileo Pro represents something of a compromise. Still, it's a fun, accessible little shooter with some big ideas and deserves credit for being affordable, at £135, without feeling cheap.

Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Jon Squire

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