Compact HD camcorder
As expected, night shots were poor quality. The video quality was also variable. HD images look clean, clear and sharp on outdoor shots, but indoors, noise was apparent. Still, the installed software is easy to use and it’s quite straightforward to upload content to sites such as YouTube and Flickr
Looks good, but room for improvement
We were also perturbed by the jerkiness of the 1080p images. We tried running the videos on three different Windows PCs using different operating systems (XP, Vista and 7), processors (speeds ranged from 1.83GHz to 2.4GHZ) and amounts of memory (2 or 3GB). Even with all other applications closed, the 1080p video did not run smoothly. We also noticed this issue when we connected the HMX-U10 directly to a television. Shooting at 720p produced better results, delivering smoother motion during playback.
Fortunately, the playback issues aren't an issue with the footage per se. Transcoding the captured video to create our on-line review samples didn't exhibit these jerkiness problems, so it would appear to be a data throughput bottleneck issue during playback.
The HMX-U10 is proof that beauty can only be skin deep. In terms of looks and design, it’s head and shoulders above many of its rivals, but a clunky touch interface makes this a frustrating device to use, and both still and video quality are disappointing. If price is a concern, the U10 can be picked up very cheaply now, as the recently announced, image-stabilised, HMX-U20 is not far from the horizon. It remains to be seen if the quality and user interface issues will have been addressed, as there are many strong competitors around at this price point, and if Samsung wants to make its mark in this sector, it needs to raise its game. ®
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