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Q10 leading image

The tiny wonder – Samsung Q10 camcorder

The latest HD-camcorder offering from Samsung is remarkably compact and easy to use. It shoots video, which is nice, but then so does your phone. So what’s up? The Q10 is aimed at the casual video taker that needs a little more control and quality, but doesn’t want a huge bulge in their pocket. At four inches by two by two it’s handbag friendly, can be flipped over to be left-handed people friendly, and produces very decent results.

Steven Norris: Gearburn Editor
Steven Norris is a born writer, living in Tamboerskloof, Cape Town and educated in the ways of graphic design but destined to follow in the footsteps of... More

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Compact design

The US$300 Q10 SwitchGrip Compact Full HD Camcorder is a nippy little feller that goes from sleep mode to shooting full-HD videos in seconds. It is light, barely weighing quarter of a kilogram, and all it takes is to flip out the touch screen on the side, and the Q10 is on and ready for action.

Operation is exceedingly simple. To record, press the red button in the centre of the silver circle at the other side of the business end of the camcorder. To control zoom, simple rotate the dial left or right. Easy peasy.

Easy to handle

There is a small strap on the side and the camcorder accommodates both left-handed and right-handed users (hence ‘SwitchGrip’), as the device simply flips the screen’s orientation based on which hand you choose. It has a substantial feel, although those with even marginally gorilla-like hands will find the Q10 too small in your grip. This is the only niggle in an otherwise excellent ergonomic design.

The battery is located on the bottom of the device and snugly next to it is the slot for an SD memory card. When the viewing screen has been opened, a slide-down panel reveals space for the AV socket, an HDMI cable and a USB cable (all included with the Q10). Full HD films take up plenty of space, with a 1GB memory card only allowing up to seven minutes of recording time. A 16 or 32GB SD card is an essential additional purchase.

Basic HD video recording features

The Q10 is a ‘Full HD’, although note that it does 1080i only – if you want a full 1080p camcorder look elsewhere. You also have the option to select sub-HD (720p) or SD (576p) from the settings. The quality knocks the socks off high-end mobile phones’ camcorder features. Colours are sharp and vivid, sound is captured effectively from the source and lighting levels are automatically adjusted as it transitions from outdoors to indoor settings. There is also the ability to take still images as the camcorder is also 5MP digital camera. The image quality is not as sharp as a stand-alone digital camera, but it will do in a pinch.

The Q10 does all the hard work for you in ‘Smart Auto’ mode, other shooting option include ‘Art Film’ which applies a selection of built-in filters and ‘Manual’ mode, which does what it says on the tin. Once you have your clips in the library, there is also the option of stitching each clip together to create one long movie.

The Q10 also boasts an image stabilisation option, and while flagged as a key selling point, this does very little to prevent jerky videos.

Who it’s for:

  • Users who need a simple, pick up and shoot HD video camcorder

What we like:

  • The quality of the video
  • The ambidextrous nature of the camera
  • Its compact design

What we don’t like:

  • Camera is pretty expensive for what it offers
  • No included SD card
  • Feels cheap and flimsy
  • Touchscreen is not that responsive