Toshiba Camileo S10 review

17 Jun 2009

A very small camera that's capable of excellent results in good light, but awful low light performance makes it largely impractical.

Price when reviewed 
132
3

Pocket video cameras have come a long way since they first hit the shops. They started out at a lowly resolution of 640 x 480, but it wasn't long before 720p reared its head and now, with the Toshiba Camileo S10, they've made it all the way to 1080p.

The camera doesn't quite shoot in Full HD, but its 1,440 x 1,080 at 30fps comes close. It records video using the H.264 codec to QuickTime MOV files, has grown-up features such as image stabilisation (only in 720p mode, though), a low light assistance light, and output direct to HDMI with the included cable.

It's very pocketable too, measuring just 19.5mm thick, with a 2.5in screen that pops out at the side. There's no optical zoom, but this is no great loss; our favourite pocket video camera the Flip Mino HD doesn't have one either, but that doesn't prevent being a very usable device. And it's very cheap too.

Shooting footage outdoors, the S10's quality is nothing short of superb. It captures more detail than the Flip Mino HD and any other pocket video camera we've yet tested. Despite its apparently low bit-rate (8Mbit/sec), it doesn't smear those details with over-aggressive compression and colours are generally good, albeit a little over-saturated. It produces decent 7.7-megapixel stills too, producing surprisingly crisp images, although there's no flash to help in low light.

Move inside and the picture changes, however. Video footage is so badly affected by colour noise and graining that it's entirely unusable, which rules it out for use in anything but ideal lighting conditions. It looks very dark, too, and the over-saturation makes images look even more ugly. For close-ups and small rooms the light improves things a little, but alas not enough.

Another downside is that, unlike the Flip cameras or Creative's Vado and Vado HD, there's no software stored on the camera, nor any integrated flash memory. You have to install the supplied software package - ArcSoft MediaImpression - from CD. So old hat.

So while the Camileo S10 is an admirable stab at bringing Full HD to low-end cameras, it's also a deeply flawed one. Detail capture may be second-to-none, but dreadful performance in low light means it just isn't worth the price.

Details

Price ex VAT £115
Price inc VAT £132
Performance 4
Features & Design 2
Value for Money 4
Overall rating 3

Specifications

Camcorder HD standard 1080p
Camcorder maximum video resolution 1440 x 1080
Camcorder recording format H.264, AVI
Accessory shoe? no
Camera optical image stabilisation no
Electronic image stabilisation? yes
Screen size 2.5in
Touchscreen no
Viewfinder? no
Built-in flash? no
Light? yes

Audio

Internal mic type Mono
Quoted battery life 3mins

Dimensions

Dimensions width 20
Dimensions depth 59
Dimensions height 100
Dimensions 19.5 x 59 x 100mm (WDH)
Weight 118g

Storage

Integrated memory 0.1GB
Memory card support SD/SDHC Card

Outputs

Data connection USB
Composite video output? yes
Component video output? no

Accessories

Remote control? no
Dock? no