Samsung’s HMX-U10 is the latest rival to the Flip, and comes packing 1080p video quality and stills imaging to the budget camcorder war. But is it enough to dethrone the current champ of cut-price camcorders? Find out in our Samsung HMX-U10 review.
Convenience. That’s the name of the game with these camcorders. And before even starting up the Samsung HMX-U10, you know it’s lost a couple of points on the Flip. For a start it needs an SD card to record onto, and while a high capacity card will give you more space than the Flip’s on-board memory, it does add cost and detracts from the convenience of a shooter with built-in storage. It also needs a USB cable – not a massive hassle, but less user-friendly than the Flip’s flick out connection.
But let’s look on the bright side. The HMX-U10 is less bulky than the Flip thanks to these differences, being shorter, lighter and slimmer. And it’s got stills shooting to boot (10-megapixels each, no less) – something lacking from all of the Flips. Although with a sluggish shutter speed meaning most shots are blurred, and no flash, it feels like a bit of an afterthought rather than a genuinely useful feature.
The U10′s controls aren’t very well thought out either. Instead of buttons, you touch your thumb on a touchpad, so rather than continuously hitting a button to zoom, adding judder to your filming, you just hold it. A good idea, but it doesn’t work every time, so you do end up pressing over and over again, defeating the aim.
The U10’s 1080p video quality is very good, but not really noticeably better than the Flip Ultra HD’s 720p. And sharing vids and pics to YouTube, Flickr or via email is a doddle, using the bundled software. But an HD camcorder with no HDMI port? What?
This is a bit of a disappointment. On paper it looks cracking, with higher resolution video, stills, and it’s cheaper than the Flip. But these camcorders are about usability rather than pure power, and on that the U10 falls down.