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Review: Samsung’s Q20 video camera

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Samsung has a number of really cool products in their stable, and the Q20 video camera is no exception. The little package of dynamite is capable of shooting in full HD, while also taking still images, making it perfect for almost any occasion.

Samsung’s Q20 video camera (image: Samsung)

The camera can be used by left-handed and right-handed users with ease – all that they need to do is flip the camera around so that the hand-strap is in the right position. But this poses a bit of a problem. 

The screen and the lens of the camera will automatically rotate as the user turns the camera, which can result in some upside-down images. It happened on a number of occasions where we wanted to film something fairly tall or at an angle and the camera would automatically flip the display and lens.

It takes a while for the lens to adjust to its correct position again, by which time the action has already past or the shot has been lost. It is not a huge deal, as users will be able to lock the lens in position, but users will have to remember to do that before they commence with any filming.

As far as build goes, the camera is fairly sturdy and will withstand minor bumps and scratches due to normal wear and tear, but as with all electronics, users cannot expect it to survive a tumble down a flight of stairs.

For filming, the camera has a number of settings which users can tinker around with, but the most useful is the Smart setting. In the Smart setting, the Q20 will adjust the lighting and settings according to the surrounds and choose the best pre-set for the conditions.

It works well to a degree, but sometimes users want a different outcome as to what the camera is offering. There are ways to fool the Q20 into producing a desired effect, but it takes of bit practice. As far as other modes go, the camera has pre-sets like Western, Sepia, Black and White and a nifty ghosting effect.

Operating the camera is incredibly easy as all the right buttons will be well within the user’s trigger finger. The record and zoom buttons are conveniently located close to each other and no other buttons are necessary during operation.

The Q20 has a steady zoom speed, and tries to compensate for users’ swaying while trying to film something in the distance. It takes a bit of getting used to, as the user might think that the lens will veer to the side for no apparent reason.

Naturally users will need to flip open the screen on the side in order to see what is being recorded and it also serves as the camera’s on and off switch. When opened, the Q20 will turn on automatically and will be ready to record. The screen is of a sufficient size, but it would have been better if it was a capacitive touchscreen, instead of a passive one.

There will be times when users will struggle to navigate around the menus on the screen, as it will not always pick up the user’s desired movements the first time. A small amount of force on the screen will be necessary to successfully navigate around the options, but it is by no means a deal-breaker.

By opening the screen, users will be able to access the mini HDMI port and USB connection, which needs to remain open if users want to charge it through the USB port. It does come packaged with an AC charger which plugs into the back, but it is sometimes easier to use a USB connection.

The Q20 is a really powerful, compact video camera and is great for popping in a bag and taking on holiday. It might be slightly larger than what is already available on the market, but it has a couple of added features that will make it worth the buy.

Our score: 8/10

Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor

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