Toshiba Camileo H20 review

Ben Pitt
18 May 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT



CMOS sensor, 320x240, 640x480, 848x480, 1,280x720, 1,440x1,080, 5.0x zoom, 320g

This is a remarkably low price for an HD camcorder, making it cheaper than two of the standard-definition cameras here.

The design is in line with the low price, but it's comfortable to hold. However, we found the buttons and menus a little confusing, even for basic functions. There's no lens cover and just a glass window covering the lens, but a soft case is supplied to protect the whole camera. Toshiba also includes an HDMI cable in the box. Battery life is reasonable, but charging took around five hours. The charger plugs into the USB socket, which is awkwardly located if you want to use the camera on mains power.

Video is recorded in H.264 format at 1,440x1,080 pixels per frame, but non-square pixels give it the same widescreen aspect ratio as the other HD cameras. This lower resolution wasn't a huge loss, though, and in bright light we were impressed by the amount of detail the H20 captured. It fell short of the best HD cameras but showed significant improvements over the SD models and even outperformed Panasonic's HDC-SD20 and Sony's HDR-TG3E at times. Colours weren't great, though, with overblown contrast sometimes obliterating highlights and shadows. Indoors, video was grainy, and in very low light the camera failed to record anything at all.

Our biggest concern is that moving subjects and camera angles resulted in a skewed image. This is a side effect of the way CMOS sensors capture each frame one line at a time (unlike CCDs, which capture the whole image simultaneously). As a result, the bottom of the frame is captured a fraction of a second later than the top, distorting the shape of moving subjects. It's a problem that was slightly visible on all the HD cameras except Samsung's VP-HMX20C, but here it was particularly bad.

The H20 should be approached with caution, but if you intend to shoot slow-moving subjects in bright conditions, it's a good alternative to the standard-definition cameras.

Basic Specifications



Optical zoom5.0x
Digital zoom10x
Sensor pixels5,000,000
Widescreen modenative
LCD screen size3.0in
Viewfinder typenone
Video lampNo
Video recording formatAVC
Video recording mediaSDHC
SoundAAC 48KHz stereo
Video resolutions320x240, 640x480, 848x480, 1,280x720, 1,440x1,080
Maximum image resolution2,592x1,944
Memory slotSDHC
Mermory suppliednone


Digital inputs/outputsUSB
Analogue inputs/outputsAV out, HDMI out
Other connectionsnone
Battery type3.7V 1,000mAh Li-ion
Battery life1h 17m
Battery charging positioncamcorder

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB

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