To both camcorder users and lovers of the double entendre, size matters. Many people just don't want the burden of carrying a thundering great video device around with them while they're out and about, and the Toshiba Camileo S20 is a direct answer to this issue. It's a roughly smart-phone-sized product that can record video in high definition at up to 1080p. Toshiba has also managed to keep the price small -- at just £95, the S20 is one of the cheapest camcorders we've seen.
Shoot from the hip
The Toshiba Camileo S20 is a camcorder that likes to have its cake and eat it. It's cheap, but it also offers 1080p recording. It's easy to use and also easy to carry. Build-wise, the S20 manages to keep things small and slim, while retaining the benefits of a pistol-grip design, including a large (3-inch) fold-out LCD screen. Most other pocket camcorders opt for a candybar form factor and, while this has its own benefits, there's no denying the S20's alternative is more appealing to look at. Its body is square yet curved, glossy black with brushed-metal edging (though other colours are available) and houses a discrete, shorn-off lens on the front. The fold-out screen accounts for roughly a third of the device's thickness. Open it out and the S20 looks almost comically thin.
The device comes with a very small amount of its own usable memory (around 100MB), but you can expand this yourself with SD/SDHC cards of up to 32GB. An unexpectedly sizeable smattering of accessories is provided in the box, including a carry case, an international power adaptor with interchangeable plugs, an HDMI cable and even a mini tripod.
Basic control of the device is very straightforward -- point at the subject, press the red button once to start and again to stop. There are a few options and settings to play with, some of which are accessible via the system menus and others which have their own dedicated buttons on the body of the unit. This arrangement is actually a little confusing. A selection of small, fiddly buttons along the back edge includes one that cycles the device from Full HD (1080p) to WVGA (480p). Oddly, the button completely ignores the device's other two resolution settings (720p and VGA), which are only selectable via the menus. Another button switches the front-mounted video lamp on and off, while a three-directional rocker controls the 4x digital zoom.