Samsung H MX-R10 [PC P ro] COMPANY: Samsung PR ICE: £279 (£325 inc VAT) RAT I NG: ISSUE: 178 DATE: May 09 LATEST PR ICES: £347.10 (3 Retailers) Verdict: Sleek, sexy and capable of shooting decent quality video, the R10 is a great value all-rounder. Samsung isn't shy when it comes to product design, and its latest camcorder, the Samsung HMX-R10, has to be among the most unusual looking we've ever come across. Flat on one side with a sumptuous brushed-aluminium finish, concave on the other, rounded at each end and with the lens cut into the nose at a rakish, 45-degree angle: by all rights it should be ugly, but in the flesh it's highly alluring. Not only is this a good-looking design, it's also practical. Build quality is second to none, beautifully made and very compact, and with the lens pointing upwards you don't have to cock your wrist back uncomfortably in order to shoot straight ahead. After the initial weird feeling, you realise it's a concept that works extremely well. The HMX-R10 looks and feels like an expensive camcorder, so it's surprising to find it available at the relatively low price of £279 exc VAT. It's even more surprising to find that's it's so well specified: it boasts an 8x zoom and electronic image stabilisation; shoots in full HD at 1080/50i for an effective 25fps (at 17Mbits/sec), or 720p at 50fps and a bitrate of 12Mbits/sec; and it also takes ninemegapixel stills. Plus, there are a couple of fun slow motion modes to play with as well and an integrated stereo microphone. What it clearly isn't, however, is an enthusiast's device. In the interest of clean design there are few external controls - just the requisite zoom, record and a dedicated stills shutter button - which means adjustments to shutter speed, aperture and the like must be made via the HMX-R10's 2.7in touchscreen. Neither is there an accessory shoe, headphone or microphone.
There's no optical image stabilisation either. But the electronic stabilisation does work very well, locking on after a second or so to provide steady handheld images, even at extended zoom. Quality is pretty good too. In low light there our tests showed noticeable grain but little RGB noise, while colour accuracy was generally spot-on. Outside, the small lens meant detail capture wasn't the sharpest, but, again, colours were very good. The Samsung HMX-R10 is a very likeable camcorder: it looks and feels fantastic, it's highly pocketable, and it takes good quality footage at high resolutions. It's not quite up there with our A List choices, such as the Sanyo Xacti VPC-HD2000 for example, but its comparatively low price means it's a fine alternative. By Jonathan Bray SPEC I F ICAT IO NS: 1,080/50i H.264 MP4 format (1,920 x 1,080 pixels), 9MP stills, 9MP CMOS, 8x optical zoom, electronic image stabiliser, 2.7in touch-sensitive TFT, remote control, 1yr RTB warranty, 128 x 57 x 38mm (WHD), 231g.