Review: Samsung HMX-Q10

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by M.R. Gavin

My earliest memory of a video camera was in the late ‘90s when I asked my aunt how a left-handed person could use the camera if the strap is on the right. Fast forward years later, and I’ve got the Samsung HMX-Q10 in my hands. With the weight of only 214.55 grams, you need not worry of muscle sprain when carrying this camcorder. The Samsung HMX-Q10 fits just right in your palm and gives you total control over the camera.

The highlight of this camcorder is the Switch Grip function, which makes lefties dance with joy as finally, a video camera designed to cater their special needs. Even if you are left-handed, you can still use the switch grip function when your hands and shoulder get tired, especially when recording without a tripod. It is also very useful when recording in difficult situations and positions. There is an option of turning off the Switch Grip but I think it takes out the whole point of the Q10.

There are only few physical controls—record, zoom in/out, home and the lens cover switch. When handling the camcorder, your thumb naturally rests on the record button but when it comes to controlling the zoom buttons around, it becomes a little tricky and makes your shots shaky. It would have been better if the zoom controls were placed on the top side of the camera right where the index finger can control it with ease. There is a lens cover switch for the Samsung HMX-Q10, which is different with other camcorders as usually lens open automatically. You might have the mistake of recording while lens is still closed, luckily, there is a prompt to check your lens every time you turn on the camcorder.

Opening the flap of the camera reveals the 2.7-inch LCD touchscreen. The interface is very simple. Right beside the screen is the home button, making it easier to go back to your home screen and change the settings. The home screen consists of smart auto, manual, art film, album and settings. It can’t get any simpler than that.

My favorite feature is when in manual mode, you can adjust the white balance, exposure, focus and a whole lot of other things. It gives you total control of how you want your videos and photos to look like.

Video quality suffers in low light though, it would have been better if there is a little light in front of the camera to use when in night mode. The audio quality of the videos is something not to be too excited about, but it would work for home videos and the like. If seeking for better audio/sound features, the Q10 will fail you. It doesn’t have a port to attach an external microphone.

When shooting, you will see the fine quality of the videos especially when there is fair lighting. Quality may suffer when there is too much light though, so if shooting outside, better use the manual option. There is a 1.4-inch 5-megapixel BSI CMOS sensor and an F/1.8 Schneider Kreuznach HD lens with a 10x optical zoom and 20x digital zoom. These lenses are perfect for shooting macro subjects and events that require shots from a distance.

I brought this camcorder to a basketball game and tried recording parts of it. The videos we’re clear and sharp and didn’t show how shaky my hands were while recording. The built-in IOS Duo is truly effective, especially recording activities such as sports.

There is no built-in memory but you can use SD or SDHC cards up to 32GB. It would have been nicer if you could at least snap photos without a memory card.

 

Battery life is undeniably good; I was able to use the Samsung HMX-Q10 for three days without having to charge the unit. Also, it just takes four hours to fully charge—whether from a PC/laptop or via power adaptor.

There is a bit of delay when taking photos with the Q10. Stable hands are also needed because the slightest movement sometimes gives out a blurry shot.

Specifications
MEMORY: SD/SDHC up to 32GB
ZOOM: 10x Optical Zoom /20x Digital Zoom
DISPLAY: 2.7” Auto Rotate Touch-Panel LCD
VIDEO RESOLUTION: Full HD 1080/50i, 720/50p and standard-def 576/50p
PHOTO RESOLUTION: 4.9 megapixels (2944 x 1656 pixels) and 2 megapixels (1920 x 1080 pixels)
INPUTS AND OUTPUTS: USB 2.0
DIMENSIONS: 119.4 x 53.3 x 43.7mm
WEIGHT: 214.55g

What’s Hot:
 • Switch Grip
• Full HD capability
• Up to 4.9MP photo quality
• Very User friendly
• Good battery life

What’s Not:
 • Zoom buttons are awkwardly placed
• No port for external mic

Bottomline:
If you are a lefty and needs a video camera then this should be number 1 on your list. The interface is very user friendly and just like navigating through your smartphone.

Buy Meter: 7.8

[This review originally appeared in the October 2011 issue of Gadgets Magazine]