Samsung VP-HMX10 (XSA)
- Affordable HD, decent video performance, external microphone jack, swivelling hand grip
- Cheap plastic build quality, 'only' 720p, occasional noise issues
It's been a long time coming, but Samsung's first high-definition camcorder has arguably been worth the wait. If you're after an affordable high-def camera to use with your shiny new LCD TV, the VC-HMX10 represents good value for money.
Price$ 1,199.00 (AUD)
After a frankly ridiculous amount of procrastination, Samsung is finally set to release its first ever high-definition camcorder, the VP-HMX10. As implicated by its low price tag, the HMX10 is very much a budget-orientated high-def model aimed squarely at entry level users. As such, it will fail to satisfy discerning videophiles who demand the unparalleled image resolution and clarity of 'full' HD. Nevertheless, it remains a worthy option for people looking for a cheap way to upgrade their SD camera.
The VC-HMX10 records video to SD/SDHC memory cards in the MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 video format, which offers superior rates of compression. SDHC media (and its assorted equivalents) are considered the Next Big Thing in the camcorder industry due to their high storage capacity and user-friendly convenience. At present, up to 32 gigabytes can be stored onto one SDHC card, which is the same amount of memory found on many hard disk-based camcorders.
The VC-HMX10 offers five different settings for video quality, comprising of Super Fine (HD), Fine (HD), Normal (HD), Standard (SD), and Economy (SD). This should be enough to keep everyone covered, regardless of their hardware or memory restraints. However, with a single 1.5Mp CMOS sensor measuring 1/4.5 inches, it isn't the most capable high-def camcorder on the market. Sporting a maximum resolution of 720p, it is outclassed by most HD camcorder on the market, which typically offer a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels. On paper, this makes the VP-HMX10 an inferior product, though its target audience of casual users are unlikely to notice the difference.
During testing, our shots were occasionally marred by blotchy artefacts popping up on screen. While this was admittedly quite rare, it will nevertheless infuriate perfectionists and Tropfest hopefuls who require every frame to be glitch-free. We were also disappointed by the amount of noise apparent in low-light conditions, which made for some grainy and unattractive footage. This is a common flaw found in nearly all consumer-level camcorders, yet the lack of a dedicated night mode made it a lot more noticeable. Otherwise, the video quality was quite impressive overall, with accurate lifelike tones and a distinct lack of ghosting or motion blur, even when shooting fast moving images.
In terms of design, the VP-HMX10 shares much in common with its two flash-memory based HD rivals; the Sony HDR-CX7K and Panasonic HDC-SD9. From their miniaturised 'barrel' shape to their glossy black finish, all three cameras are nearly identical. However, the VP-HMX10 looks a lot cheaper on closer inspection, with ugly looking buttons, a stiff, uncomfortable hand strap and a much flimsier feel. The top-mounted battery compartment (which also houses the SD card slot) is of particularly low quality; requiring you to manually pull out the spring-loaded lid. Of course, this is the price you pay – or rather, don't pay – for a lower-cost model.
On the plus side, this is one of the smallest HD camcorders we have ever reviewed, making it a handy choice for frequent shooters. Indeed, the included carry bag could almost double as a sunglasses case; giving you an idea of its tiny dimensions. Of course, this can sometimes be a double-edged sword, particularly for people who have trouble shooting steady footage – a problem which is further exacerbated by the lack of an optical image stabiliser (instead the HMX10 offers an inferior EIS stabiliser).
Despite its somewhat tacky build quality, the VP-HMX10 benefits from several professional trimmings that are not found on either of its competitors. First and foremost amongst these is a 3.5mm microphone jack for external mics. This is a huge selling point for serious filmmakers on a limited budget who require crystal clear audio to go along with their high-def video. Unfortunately, because of the unit's tiny size, no accessory shoe is included on the camera, meaning you'll have to hold the microphone yourself (or get someone to do it for you). Nevertheless, this remains a highly impressive feature for an entry-level high-def camera; we take our hats off to Samsung for putting in the extra cost and effort.
Another neat feature unique to the HMX10 is its swivelling hand grip. This provides the camcorder's body with 135 degrees of rotation, allowing you to easily capture shots at unusual angles. For example, shooting directly upwards can be quite tricky when using a traditional hand strap, but the HMX10's versatile grip makes this a complete breeze. Again, this will benefit users in the short filmmaking camp who regularly capture creative or avant-garde shots.
When it comes to functionality, the VP-HMX10 is a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, we found the touch-screen menu to be well laid out and attractively presented, yet on the other, certain small icons proved to be stubbornly unresponsive. The camcorder also takes several seconds to switch between video, photo and playback modes, which is sure to grate over time (it also won't let you capture still images while in video mode; even when you're not actually recording video). Manual options are quite ample; including exposure, focus, white balance, shutter speed, tele macro and a selection of scene modes.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Subaru XV 2017 review
- 2 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 3 Kogan Atlas UltraSlim Pro laptop: full, in-depth review
- 4 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 5 Kogan curved 4K UHD 55-inch LED LCD TV review
Latest News Articles
- Microsoft's Story Remix uses machine learning and mixed reality to make your movies awesome
- New IoT malware targets 100,000 IP cameras via known flaw
- Facebook launches tool for capturing 360 video inside VR
- Sony's PlayStation 4 Pro finally adds 4K video support for local files
- HBO brought its best shows to life at SXSW with an awesome escape room
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- Huawei P10 smartphone review
- Huawei P10 Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTSocial Media Executive / Specialist (Facebook) - online gamblingNSW
- FTProject Manager / Scrum MasterVIC
- FTBUSINESS TECHNOLOGY PARTNERVIC
- FTSolution Architect - DatacentreVIC
- FTSystem Analyst - IntegrationQLD
- CCIdentity Access Management - Business AnalystVIC
- TPDigital ProducerVIC
- FTMobile Apps TesterWA
- FTTest EngineerVIC
- FTStorage EngineerSA
- FTService Desk AnalystNSW
- FTTelecommunications Provisioning LeadQLD
- CCData AnalystNSW
- FTIT Support / Desktop SupportSA
- FTSenior Software Developer (x3)WA
- FTDashboard Developer | up to $92 p/hrVIC
- FTManual TesterACT
- FTSenior Solution Designer, Investment and Trading PlatformNSW
- FTDemand Release ManagerNSW
- CCSharepoint DeveloperNSW
- FTDatabase Engineer (Oracle)ACT
- FTIT ManagerNSW
- CCSolution DesignerNSW
- CCIteration Manager/Scrum MasterQLD
- CCPHP DeveloperNSW