Toshiba has provided some more fun-oriented facilities. There’s a motion sensing setting, which triggers recording when there’s action in the frame. The time lapse mode records a frame every 1, 3 or 5 seconds. There’s also a slow motion option which grabs video at four times the normal speed but at a lowly 320 x 240 resolution.
The S20’s box is full of extras. Alongside a handy protective pouch, there’s a little screw-fit tripod with flexible legs. The analogue AV cable only provides composite video and mono RCA audio, but there’s a mini HDMI port if you want to watch your video in all its HD glory. Toshiba even includes a converter cable with full-sized HDMI on the other end so you can plug directly into your HDTV.
If you want to edit footage from the S20, it’s recorded as AVIs and we found these compatible with all the software we tried. However, being H.264 performance is extremely slow, making editing a relatively laborious process with the 1080p footage. Toshiba supplies Video deluxe 15 Plus and Movie Edit Pro 15 Plus, both from MAGIX, in the box, but they’re just trial versions.
The S20 follows the trend of the last couple of years and provides built-in Internet connectivity. As soon as you plug the device into a PC via USB, you will be prompted to install the H.264 codec from the S20’s onboard memory, if it isn’t on your system already. The YouTube Direct software will then start up straight from device as well. However, its features are extremely limited, offering just the ability to input and save your YouTube login, and then upload your video as a public or private clip. You can’t even provide a YouTube category or tagging information.
What really lets the S20 down, however, is its image quality. In good lighting, colours are vibrant enough, and detail reasonable. However, there are issues with contrast, with bright areas often blown out. Low light is unsurprisingly this camcorder’s Achilles' Heel, as with most low-cost models. Although the S20 can achieve a reasonably bright image in poor illumination, with a fair amount of colour preserved, the automatic exposure often fails completely to set itself correctly, creating a completely dark image.
Fortunately, the video light is reasonably bright for the S20’s size, and provides a handy boost at ranges up to a couple of metres. The Night mode also brightens the image, but accentuates the grain as well. Overall, though, the S20 does not do well under modest artificial lighting conditions, which is unfortunately a key environment for a camcorder aimed at the impromptu capturing of social events.
The Toshiba Camileo S20 is certainly a great-looking camcorder, and you’re likely to receive admiring glances after pulling it out of your pocket (unless you chose the pink version…). At around £150, it’s very reasonably priced, too, and this includes some worthwhile extras in the box such as the HDMI cable and tripod. However, image quality is behind pocket Internet camcorders such as the Flip Video Ultra HD and Creative Vado HD in low light. So whilst it’s good value, the Camileo S20 only offers the video capabilities you would expect at this price.