"Recording all life's precious moments !!"
1. Coverage can be found online at: http://www.dreamwarecomputers.com/reviews_2008/samsung_hmx10a/index.htm 2. Reviewed: Article by: Steve Blackwell Product was submitted by: Samsung Canada Introduction: With most new televisions sporting high-definition support, our world is quickly becoming much... clearer! Of course with TV's running at a much higher resolution than before, recording all life's precious moments at the old 480 resolutions just won't cut it anymore. For those who are at ease with technology, looking into a flash-based high-definition camcorder will save you all the hassle of having to dump your tapes to PC/DVD in real-time. With 4GB built in memory and an extra SDHC card slot, the Samsung HMX10A may be a great contender for those looking to replace that old handy-cam with a sleek high-def camcorder. In The Box: (1) HMX10A Camera (1) Battery Pack (1) Carry Pouch 1/12 (1) Dock (1) AC Adapter (1) Remote (1) USB Cable (1) Component Cable (1) A/V Cable Spec: 2/12 3/12 4/12 5/12 Features: Fitting snugly into the palm of your hand, the HMX10A is an extremely compact camera for what it is. As you can see in the pictures, the camera's round shape allows me to wrap my hand around almost an entire two-thirds of the it. For those doing action shots where the typical hand-strap location is inconvenient, it can swivel a full 150 degrees (as pictured below). This swivel allows you to safely hold the camera very low, or up really high without having to release your hand from the strap, and of course for a camera of this cost, it doesn't hurt to have that extra sense of security! In my opinion, Samsung has done a great job with the layout of this camera. Although they've made it quite small, they've also managed to keep it very intuitive to use. On top, you'll find the typical zoom adjuster and photo button; something typical in this spot on all cameras. Well hidden is the black part 6/12 of the upper panel which is actually a door that released when slid back. Under this door is a spot for the battery pack as well as the SDHC/MMC+ card slot. Moving to the back side of the camera you'll find the large record button in a spot easily accessible by your thumb. Below that is the power slider and to the left of those two buttons is the mode selector and EasyQ buttons. The current mode is indicated by a row of LEDs, each with a small image below it to represent each one. Plugs on the back include the AC power connector and mic input. 7/12 Besides the swivel grip on the right side, if you look closely at the upper edge of the lens ring you'll find the switch to open/close the lens cover. Having a built-in lens cover door is a feature I've always looked for in cameras myself because it eliminates having to carry around a separate lens cover, something that is very easy to misplace. If you start the camera with the lens cover closed, or close it while it's running, a reminder will pop up on the screen telling you to open it. The bottom of the camera sports the traditional tripod screw mount as well as a small dock connector. Unlike most camera manufacturers who leave you to buy their docks separately, a basic plastic docking platform is actually included with the HMX10A! Built to hold the camera on a sideways upward angle, it also has the connectors on the back for USB, AC power and video output. For those doing a lot of video recording and editing, this dock can eliminate the need to constantly fuss with cables and will let you get down to business the second you're back at a PC. Helping to keep the body of the camera rather button-free is the touch-screen viewfinder. Being able to chose menus and navigate simply by touching what you wish to do cuts down on cluttering up the 8/12 body of the camera with buttons that serve only that purpose. Beside the viewfinder is the Q-Menu button as well as another zoom controller and record button. Although I was unsure at first if these would serve any valid purpose as a duplicate of functions already controlled from another part of the camera, I did find them rather handy to use and almost instinctively began to use them because they were closer to the screen which I was already watching. In the cavity that the viewfinder folds into you'll find a mere two buttons: display/iCheck and the screen brightness control. Under a cover below these buttons is your mini-USB connector, Component/AV output, HDMI output and factory reset button. The HDMI output supports Samsung's ANYNET+ feature which allows you to use your Samsung TV remote to control the camera's playback via HDMI communication. If you're tired of having to rely on those old 3-block battery meters on your LCD viewfinder, Samsung has added a feature to this camera that you may find very useful. iCheck is a feature that allows you to dynamically check remaining battery time (in minutes) and remaining memory (in minutes). To do this you can either hold the display/iCheck button for a few seconds while the camera is on and the info screen will be brought up, or you can hold the button while the camera is off to momentarily power it up into this screen. Additionally, beside the 4-block battery logo on the viewfinder the battery time remaining in minutes is also shown. After a full charge the battery was reporting around 95 minutes of power. This battery time is certainly a step up over the old tape-based camcorders which required much more power to run the tape heads than a simple flash-based camera like this does Although consumer cameras aren't quite at the full 1080 HD experience yet, the HMX10A shoots at a quite impressive 720p (by 1280 wide) with a frame rate of 60fps. This will allow you to capture exceptionally detailed videos that will not only look great on an HDTV, but any source you may play them back on. The four gig of built-in memory allows you to record approximately 45 minutes at full quality, and at the lowest resolution and lowest quality you can get up to 360 minutes on the 4gb! Of course there are many other quality options as well; three quality settings at high resolution and two quality settings in low resolution mode. Couple that 4Gb of internal memory with the SDHC/MMC+ support and you can 9/12 easily triple that space for a little more than a 5-pack of tapes would cost you for your old camera! Video is recorded in MP4 format with the H.264 codec. For low-light situations, the camera has a low light sensitivity of 15 lux and a built-in LED light right above the lense. Although this light won't do much for shooting a dark room, it will light up faces and objects that are in very close proximity to the camera itself. I was happy to see that the included remote was actually a size that was easy to hold and use. Unlike a lot of other device remotes these days that seem to be getting thinner and smaller every chance they can. A picture of the remote is shown below so you can see all it's functions. 10/12 Still image capture is a bit more limited than video recording on the HMX10A. It's limited to the "fine" quality only and can capture at resolutions of 2048 x 1536 (with interpolation), 1440 x 1080 and 640 x 480 (VGA). Being only a 1.6MP CMOS sensor, the still image photos are only around the quality of today's lower end cell phones. Installation: To copy files to and from the camera does not even require a driver install. Since the HMX10A is a flash-based camera, it simply shows up like a USB drive would on your system. If you have an SD card in the camera along with the internal memory, two drives will show up. Testing: Testing time quickly ensued and I was definitely excited to give this camera a go. This being our first review of a handheld HD camera, I couldn't wait to get started and find out just what this camera was truly capable of. (Note the battery life timer beside the battery diagram) After turning the camera on I was pleasantly surprised to find a video by a previous tester, something that appeared to be made by someone who works overseas at the Samsung HQ! Once erased the remaining time on the memory was about what Samsung has it rated at; around 45 minutes. For those wanting point-and-shoot simplicity, enabling the EasyQ option will give you just that. EasyQ essentially locks you out of all the advanced mode menus that could cause confusion for beginners. For those who know what they're doing, you probably don't want to disable this. Being able to enter the menus to play around with exposure, shutter, focus, etc. will give you tons of great options and a chance to get fancy with your videos. A handy option in the menu was a grid overlay where you can 11/12 choose between a large or smaller grid to display on the viewfinder to help keep objects in place within the scene while shooting. Even though recorded video is being compressed using the MPEG-4 H.264 codec algorithm, and because this is such an efficient codec, the quality loss is nothing to be worried about because it won't be vastly seen by the majority of users. Although the still pictures were taken at a resolution that's higher than most video cameras, the quality is unfortunately something that still really suffers. Only being around 1.6MP, it is even a lower quality than most good camera phones shoot at these days (most ranging from 3-5MP). I'm not sure how big of a limitation this would be for the actual lens design, but building a higher quality still capture sensor into this camera would probably catch the attention of even more potential users. Conclusion: Although flash/hard drive based HD cams aren't cheap yet, Samsung certainly has a great device on their hands in the lower price range of around $700. The HMX10A certainly left me impressed with not only great quality 720p videos but also a very good set of features as outlined throughout the review. For those looking to get out of the past and into the future with a new HD cam, I'd certainly recommend stopping by your nearest camera shop and playing with the Samsung HMX10A. Oh, and for those Oprah fans, it's one of her recommended gifts this year too. Pros: Great quality videos Although not hard-drive based like some, Flash memory is shock-proof Easy to use Compact size and hand-grip swivel SDHC/MMC+ support Included dock/carrying pouch was a nice touch Good battery life Cons: Should include an HDMI cable as well Would be nice if still-photo quality was greater then it could double as a photo camera 12/12