Toshiba Camileo X200 HD camcorder
CMOS (size not disclosed) sensor, 1,920x1,080, 12.0x zoom, 301g
You get a lot for your money with Toshiba’s Camileo X200; a Full HD SDXC camcorder with a 3in touchscreen, 12x optical zoom and a microphone input for only £180.
Despite its budget price, the X200 feels exceptionally well built for a £150 camcorder. The box contains a carry case, and you also get two DVDs. One DVD contains trial versions of two Magix products, Movie Edit Pro 17 Plus HD and Video Deluxe 17 Plus HD, and the other contains Camileo Uploader and the ArcSoft MediaImpression editing application, so you can get editing and uploading your videos and images to YouTube and Facebook straight away.
In order to record video you need an SD card, and the X200 accepts SD, SDHC and SDXC versions. The camcorder has 128MB of internal storage but this is shared with the system software, which means you can only record around 43 seconds of full HD video or eight high resolution still images using the internal storage alone. Buying a 16GB SDHC card will only add around £10 to the price, though.
The X200 is well designed and easy to use. The wrist strap is adjustable, the large record button is located where your thumb naturally falls, and the zoom switch is located within easy reach of your index finger. Using the controls feels entirely natural.
The 3in touchscreen is big enough for a camera of this size and price, but we were less impressed with the quality of the touchscreen’s icons and menu organisation. Some of the icons are incomprehensible or don’t adequately convey the purpose of the function they represent. As an example, the HD resolution icons are identical except for an incredibly small set of pixels that are impossible to see clearly, no matter how good your eyes are. The menu is also fairly haphazardly organised, so it's never particularly clear which top-level menu will contain the function you want.
As for its image quality, the X200 is best when used in daylight. Colours are fairly accurate for a camera of this price, and the level of detail, while no match for the likes of the Panasonic HC-V500, is certainly acceptable. Unfortunately, captured video judders if you pan the camera at anything more than a slow speed. Slow panning is fine if you’re filming a scripted piece and using a tripod, but this is a camcorder for casual, fun use, which is likely to involve more panning around than the X200 can handle.
The X200's sensor records a tremendous amount of noise when used indoors under artificial light or in dark environments, and the noise level is hard to ignore when playing the footage back. You can improve the X200’s performance in low light using its surprisingly bright built-in light, but noise is still present. You can adjust white balance, but you can only select one of four settings: auto, daylight, fluorescent and tungsten.
Generally, though, the X200’s image quality is reasonable for its price. As long as you're not expecting triple-CMOS levels of detail and generally film in bright conditions, the quality is acceptable and still far beyond what you'd get from a mobile phone or pocket camcorder. The X200 is certainly compromised, but at this price you may be willing to forgive its flaws.