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Medion Life S47000 review

Seth Barton
17 Nov 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
100
inc VAT

This inexpensive splash-proof camcorder loses out to the Flip Ultra HD in terms of ease of use and video quality.

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Specifications

1/4in CMOS sensor, 800x480, 1,280x720, 0.0x zoom, 85g

German PC manufacturer Medion is the latest company to challenge Flip, maker of the excellent Ultra HD, in the mini HD camcorder market.

At just £100 the Life S47000 Digital HD Sports Camcorder, to give it its full name, is very competitively priced, and its 'Sports' moniker is well deserved too.

The rounded plastic casing has a rubbery outer rim, which makes the Life S47000 feel very sturdy. There's a hook in the top right-hand corner, so you can attach a lanyard, although none is supplied. The camera is splash-proof, too, with rubber plugs and seals to keep water away from the ports, SDHC memory card slot and battery compartment.

The S47000 uses a Li-ion rechargeable battery, which helps keep the total weight down to a tiny 85g. However, it's charged using a separate mains charger and can't be replaced by a pair of AA batteries in an emergency. This makes it less flexible and convenient than the Ultra HD, which charges its AA-replaceable battery pack through its USB port. The battery lasted for 96 minutes, providing plenty of recording time.

Next to the battery is the SDHC card slot. There's no built-in memory to speak of, so you'll need to provide your own SD or SDHC card. You can buy an 8GB card for £12 including VAT, so if you don't have one already, you'll need to factor this into the cost. We were surprised by the high video bit rate of around 12Mbit/s in our test recordings, which equates to 85 minutes of stored video on an 8GB card.

Despite the H.264-encoded video's high bit rate and 720p resolution, its quality couldn't match that of the Ultra HD. There's no lack of detail in images, but exposures were occasionally off, with bleached out surfaces in strong sunlight. Colour balance was also an issue, with bricks on buildings near our offices appearing far too orange. It wasn't much better in low light, with lots of noise and the odd stuttering frame.

The mini HDMI port lets you connect the S47000 directly to an HD TV - and we applaud Medion here for providing a suitable lead in the box. There's a USB port, but the camcorder has no built-in editing software for uploading clips to YouTube, so you'll need to do this manually. The port doubles as an AV output. Bizarrely, there's a headphone socket, as the S47000 can also be used as an MP3 player. It's primitive, though, with very basic track navigation - there isn't even a shuffle command. You can buy an excellent dedicated MP3 player for less than £50, and we'd recommend doing so.

The S47000 is more likely to survive an available, outdoor life than any other mini camcorder, and it's very reasonably priced. However, unless you regularly find yourself getting wet at the weekend, you're better off spending the extra money and buying Flip's Ultra HD.

Basic Specifications

Rating***

Recording

Optical zoom0.0x
Digital zoom2x
Sensor1/4in CMOS
Sensor pixels1,000,000
Widescreen modenative
LCD screen size2.0in
Viewfinder typenone
Video lampNo
Video recording formatH.264
Video recording mediaSDHC
Sound8-bit mono
Video resolutions800x480, 1,280x720
Maximum image resolution1,280x720
Memory slotSDHC
Mermory supplied85MB internal
Flashno

Physical

Digital inputs/outputsUSB
Analogue inputs/outputsAV out, HDMI out
Other connectionsheadphones
Battery type3.7V 1,100mAh
Battery life1h 36m
Battery charging positioncharger
Size65x105x23mm
Weight85g

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB
Price£100
Supplierhttp://www.medionshop.co.uk
Detailswww.medion.co.uk

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