Samsung has followed the latest trend by including wireless features. You can hook your camcorder up to an existing WLAN and then browse and play back the videos and photos stored on it via any DLNA-compatible device. We got this working pretty well with one of Samsung's own Smart TVs, although Full HD video did stall occasionally due to the bandwidth required.
You can also set the camera up as its own WLAN and connect to it using a smartphone and the Samsung MobileLink app. However, this only allows you to browse photos on the camcorder and download them to the phone, not control the zoom and playback, as with Panasonic's and JVC's apps. You can also share photos wirelessly to Facebook and Picasa, and videos to YouTube, although for the latter you will have to have recorded the video in the lower-resolution Web/HD format.
Most excitingly, you can fill in the details of your USTREAM account and broadcast live video wirelessly to the Web. So the wireless control features aren't quite as extensive as JVC and Panasonic, but they are pretty good with some useful options.
The Samsung HMX-QF30 isn't perfect when it comes to usability, however. Our most serious niggle is the lack of a conventional zoom rocker on the top of the unit. Instead, the D-pad on the rear is used for operating the zoom. You can also call up software buttons on the touch screen, but the need to toggle these prior to use makes them a little clunky. As a result, whilst using the HMX-QF30 in regular palmcorder fashion is comfortable, grasping it like a torch isn't quite so user friendly.
In good lighting, image quality is commendable, particularly where colour is concerned. The level of detail is behind the best mid-range and premium models, but is good for the price. Although overall image quality is a distinct cut above Samsung camcorders of five years ago, there are still one or two rough edges.
We found the autofocus could be a little sluggish, particularly in low light. However, otherwise the HMX-QF30 does pretty well in poor illumination. There is some sign of grain, but colour fidelity remains good as the light drops. Overall, colour retention is slightly better than the JVC HD Everio GZ-EX515BEK, although detail and grain level are on par.
The HMX-QF30 is not a premium competitor, although Samsung has produced some models in this category in the past, such as the Samsung VP-HMX20 a few years back. But it does play to the company's current forte - good features and image quality for the money. At around £250, the HMX-QF30 surprises with its inclusion of Wi-Fi features, optical image stabilisation and a 1/4-inch sensor. So although the enthusiast settings aren't quite up with some of the mainstream competition, this is still a great budget choice, particularly if you fancy a bit of USTREAM live Web video broadcasting.
See our best camcorders round-up for the best alternatives.