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Toshiba Camileo S20 review

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Reviewed:

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Toshiba Camileo S20 colours
  • Toshiba Camileo S20 colours
  • Toshiba Camileo S20 LCD display
  • Toshiba Camileo S20
  • Toshiba Camileo S20
  • Camileo S20 Digital Camcorder (Flash Memory - 16:9 - 7.6 cm 3" Active Matrix TFT Colour LCD4x Digital - 128 MB Flash Memory)

Summary

Our Score:

7

User Score:

Pros

  • Thinnest HD camcorder on market
  • Reasonably priced

Cons

  • Lacks manual controls
  • Image stabilisation not available in Full HD mode
  • Substandard image quality

Key Features

  • Full HD recording
  • Mini-HDMI port
  • Direct YouTube uploading
  • Manufacturer: Toshiba
  • Review Price: free/subscription

The first portable video cameras were so big they needed two people to carry them around. But camcorders have been getting smaller every year, and Toshiba is claiming yet another record with the Camileo S20. At just 17mm thick, this is the thinnest Full HD camcorder currently on the market, making even Sony’s HDR-TG7VE look like a porker.

The S20 weighs just 115g without the battery, and it’s small enough to fit into a jacket, trouser or even shirt pocket without causing an unsightly bulge. You can purchase it in no less than eight different colours, including ivory white, blue, chocolate brown, orange, pink, ruby red, silver, and black. So there’s sure to be a version to suit your outfit.

The sensor is a 5-megapixel CMOS, but Toshiba doesn’t divulge its dimensions, and the optics are fixed. There is a macro switch on the top of the device, which works in the same way as with other fixed-lens camcorders such as JVC’s PICSIO GC-FM1, moving the lens so close objects are in focus. Toshiba throws a hefty dollop of interpolation at the sensor to provide 16-megapixel still images. However, the resulting images lack the detail you would expect for their resolution.

Toshiba Camileo S20 colours

The S20 records H.264 video, with four different quality options. Three operate at 30 frames/sec, including 1080p Full HD, 720p, and VGA. A further mode runs at 60 frames/sec with a curious resolution of 848 x 480. There is a small amount of memory built in, but with just 96MB free it’s really only sufficient to check the camcorder is working. So you will need to invest in some SDHC media to get shooting. A 4GB card will be enough for around an hour of footage at the top Full HD setting.

The range of controls is greater than with pocket Internet camcorders, but not by much. There are separate buttons to switch video quality, turn on the built-in video light, and toggle between camera and camcorder modes. A final button turns on the Pre-REC buffering function, which spools video constantly, then adds it onto the beginning of a shot when you press record, reducing your chance of missing something.

Toshiba Camileo S20 LCD display

Everything else goes through the jog dial. There are white balance presets for daylight plus fluorescent and tungsten artificial lighting, but there’s no manual option. The scene mode section includes a selection of digital effects alongside a soft skin mode, night mode and backlight compensation.

But there aren’t any options to change shutter speed, iris, or focusing, and no more advanced scene modes. As we mentioned earlier, the lens is fixed, so there is no optical zoom available. There is a 4x digital zoom available, but even that only works when you’re not in 1080p mode, presumably because it requires surplus pixels on the sensor which aren’t available at this resolution. For similar reasons, the digital image stabilisation doesn’t work at 1080p, only when shooting at lower resolutions.

JDunn

February 14, 2010, 4:42 pm

Again, no menion of the battery. If its built in then this is another cheap camcorder with a defined life of perhaps 2 years.

Zero

February 19, 2010, 6:33 pm

I have used this cam, and have edited the video footage too! Its a alright cam, but you see that its trying to focus on anything. Which in turn brings out crap quality.

James Morris

February 25, 2010, 7:56 pm

@JDunn The battery is removable.

Paul Rogers

October 14, 2010, 10:08 pm

The S-series Camileo cameras are fantastic value at under £70 now..I have owned the earlier S10 model for a year took some great video and photos with it. Although they have fixed lenses and no manual controls, the video quality makes up for that in my opinion. It is far better than all it's competitors including the Flip, for both for videos and stills (I tried a few). I often shoot stills with my S10 rather than carry around a bulky digital camera, as the image quality is very decent in both wide angle and macro. The main selling points for me are the incredibly compact size (you really don't notice it in your pocket) the long battery life and fast charging time.

AR

November 14, 2011, 5:28 am

HI All,

Can we use this as a webcam? coz when I try to connect it with computer it only brings up windows explorer so I could copy or delete the video files

ELIPHAS KASHINDI

June 13, 2014, 12:50 am

s type is great I do have one but its battery lifespan is finished and I am in Africa in Namibia I could not get its battery in the market,

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