Toshiba Camileo P100 review
The P100's stylish design and impressive feature list don't match its poor image quality and clunky controls
Review Date: 29 Oct 2011
Price when reviewed: £115
Reviewed By: Barry de la Rosa
Toshiba's Camileo P100 is priced to compete with budget HD camcorders like the Samsung HMX-W200RP, but its smart pistol-grip design and glossy black finish make it look a class apart. It can shoot in 1080/30p, 720/60p, 720/30p or 480/30p video modes and has a 5x optical zoom. It also has 128MB of built-in storage, but you'll need to buy an inexpensive SDHC card to record any meaningful amount of video.
Controls are split between seven buttons and the touchscreen. The main menu is only available by touching the screen, which has a resistive touch interface and so requires a prod rather than a capacitive screen's caress. There are dedicated buttons for zooming and shooting both photos and video, and there's a pause button, so you can stop recording and start again without creating a new video file. A playback button lets you review previously saved footage, and there's a Share button for tagging photos and videos - when you plug the P100 into a PC you have the option to install Toshiba's software, which can convert and upload your videos to YouTube or Facebook automatically.
When shooting our test footage, we were initially impressed by its deep colours and strong contrast. However, once we looked a little closer we saw that footage appeared over-saturated and artificial-looking. Video also looked over-compressed, which led to a lack of detail - large areas of similar colour, such as pavements and the earth on the ground of a building site, turned into a smeary mess. We also weren't impressed with the electronic image stabilisation, which led to footage appearing slightly shaky. Overall quality was better overall than that from a Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S smartphone, but it's still not a patch on Samsung's similarly-priced W200 HD. It also couldn't compete with the Samsung for low-light footage - video had a significant amount of noise and lacked detail.
The 5x optical zoom works well - the camcorder zooms in to the limit of its optics, and you have to press the zoom button again to go into the digital zoom mode. This gives you up to 128x zoom, but as with all digital zooms, this ruins quality as you're just cropping into the image - loads of detail is lost. Low-light shooting is even more disappointing. Even with the LED flash switched on, shots were speckled with noise and detail was lost.
Reviewing videos and pictures you've already taken isn't made easier by the playback interface, which is slow to respond and shows your photos and videos as tiny thumbnails which are difficult to see on the low-resolution screen.
Ultimately, the P100 flatters to deceive. Its good looks and impressive feature list are undermined by its artificial-looking image quality and clunky interface. The Samsung HMX-W200RP has better image quality, is less expensive and can shoot underwater, so it's a far better buy.
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