Whilst Toshiba's camcorders have been improving, they still don't quite live up to the company's branding in other areas of consumer electronics. The Camileo X400 we reviewed a few weeks ago was a reasonable step in the right direction, and the X200 we have here is a lesser sibling. It has many of the same features, but also some significant differences. Do they combine to make another promising move forward?
The biggest difference between the two camcorders is the sensors they both use, and here things get a little complicated. At first glance, the X200 actually looks better than its more premium stable mate, as its CMOS has 8Mpixels whilst the X400's has just 5Mpixels. However, the X400's sensor incorporates back-side illumination, which makes it more light sensitive. So, in theory, the X200 will have inferior low light performance, although Toshiba doesn't state the sensor size for either camcorder, which also has an effect on sensitivity.
The differing sensors have another side effect. Where the X400 boasts a pretty healthy 23x optical zoom, the X200 only offers a more modest 12x. However, the X200's extra pixel resolution is harnessed to provide an Advanced Zoom option, which boosts the factor to 20x. This crops into the sensor, so doesn't lose resolution, whereas a conventional digital zoom simply enlarges the pixels, making the image look more blocky. However, the Advanced Zoom is either on or off. There's no gradual progression between the two modes.
So the X200 has some clear inferiorities to the X400. But it also has lots of the same features. There's a quick menu along the top of the touch screen, which provides access to the backlight compensation, video quality settings, Advanced Zoom, and video light options. It's great to see backlight compensation so readily accessible, and video quality options extend all the way up to Full HD at 30 progresive frames per second. There are also 720p options at 60 and 30 frames per second, plus VGA at 30 frames per second.
You can grab stills at up to 16Mpixels, too, which obviously entails a fair amount of interpolation, as it's twice the sensor resolution. There's a tiny 128MB of memory built in, so the SDXC card slot must be called upon for storage. With the top video data rate sitting at around 12Mbits/sec, you can store around 11 minutes of video per gigabyte.