The real trick up the W200 sleeve, however, or at least embedded in its circuitry, is its 1/3.2in CMOS. Not only is this pretty large for a budget camcorder, and the 5Mpixel resolution is decent too, but it also sports back-side illumination. This technology relocates the sensor wiring on the rear so each pixel receives more light, which has significant benefits for sensitivity, particularly when conditions are not very bright. This is a very promising specification for a budget camcorder. The W200 uses its sensor to provide video recording at 1,920 x 1,080 or 1,280 x 720, both at 25 frames per second, and still image capture at resolutions up to 5.5Mpixels (2,720 x 2,040).
Footage and photos are stored on MicroSD card. This is only the second camcorder we’ve reviewed to use this as its primary storage format, but it’s the de facto standard on mobile phones and is only slightly more expensive than regularly sized SD. The smaller memory card size allows the W200 to achieve its relatively diminutive proportions of 60 x 113 x 19.7, weighing in at 140g. Each gigabyte of capacity is enough for around 8 minutes of footage, so 8 or 16GB will be all most people need, adding around £15 to the overall cost of the device (for the larger of the two).
The W200 has a reasonable selection of features as well, although not as many as some waterproof camcorders in this class we’ve tested, such as Polaroid’s X720. Most useful of all, considering the intended purpose, is the underwater filter. This is immediately accessible via the D-pad, and alters the white balance significantly to make up for the discolouration caused by shooting through water. We found it reasonably effective. The only other directly accessible shooting function is the zoom, again via the D-pad. However, as always with this class of camcorder, the zoom is digital, and only offers a 3x factor, so isn’t that useful. It will also reduce image quality when invoked, as it simply blows up the picture digitally and interpolates the necessary pixels.