Price: £145 (£170 inc VAT)
More traditional in style and shape than the YouTube cameras, Samsung’s VP-MX20 also manages to squeeze in a lot more features. It has decent-looking optics that offer a whopping 34x optical zoom.
It has electronic image stabilisation and even such luxuries as stereo audio recording, wind-noise reduction, face detection, and it shoots at a much higher and more DVD- and TV-friendly resolution of 720 x 576i (in MPEG4 H.264 format).
It records this footage to SDHC flash cards and, although there’s no card included in the box, there’s no arguing with the value that this camera offers. Incredibly, its price is £170 inc VAT. This may be £50 more than the Flip Video Mino, but it can’t hold a candle to its features.
Image quality is more difficult to praise with such conviction, however. In low light, footage is murky and colours inaccurate, although footage is a lot less noisy than it is with the Flip and Creative cameras. We also noticed that focusing was slow, especially in unfavourable lighting, while pausing took a second or two to kick in.
Outside, the advanced features and zoom lens of the MX20 come into their own. The electronic image stabilisation is essential here, and it does a reasonable job, although at 34x zoom there’s very little any system can do to mitigate the effects of shaking hands.
We particularly liked the ability to quickly cycle through different white-balance settings with a simple, single button click. And the camera gives you plenty of manual control over settings such as white balance and shutter speed.
But all this isn’t quite enough to compensate for the poor low-light performance and slow focusing. Although the Samsung VP-MX20 has a remarkable range of features – in particular, that zoom lens – the results it produces aren’t quite convincing enough.