Samsung has been a solid performer in the camcorder market for some time now, but it wasn’t until the launch of the Samsung H200 in 2010 that the Korean company showed it meant real business.
Despite a deceptively low £300 price-tag, the H200 managed to pack in Full HD shooting and an impressive 20x zoom.
At CES 2011 in January Samsung announced its successor – the Samsung H300 – and T3 has managed to be one of the first to get our hands on the camcorder.
The upgrade isn’t massive, but there have been some significant improvements to the headline features. The biggest change is that the zoom ratio is a third larger than the H200. A 30x optical zoom is nothing to be sniffed at and this one works admirably.
Samsung H300: Controls
In the hand, the Samsung H300 is extremely light. It’s small, too, at just 56x49x119mm. SD card camcorders can sometimes feel a touch plasticky, but the H300 is solid enough – mainly because the lens on the device is significant enough to make an impression.
There are one or twp quirks with the H300 that you have to get used to. For some reason, Samsung has kept the manual shutter for the lens which was last seen on the H200. Switch the camera on and the lens shutter won’t open, you have to flick a switch on the side. You soon get used to it, but it can get a tad frustrating.
Samsung H300: Screen
The LCD is also not the crispest we have seen. At 230,000 pixels it’s passable but we would have liked something a touch more high res. But, there is a significant improvement in the size – up from 2.7-inches on the H200 to 3-inches on the H300.
These minor niggles aside, the H300 is a fantastic camera to use. The in-built Optical Image Stabiliser worked well with our shaky hands, while the ability to shoot 1080/60i and 720/60p video meant that picture quality was always crisp and clear.
Samsung H300: Picture quality
The sensor on board is a 1/4-inch CMOS, which won’t win awards for ingenuity but the technology surrounding it is genuinely impressive. Because it is 'backside illuminated' (BSI) our low-light shots had a lot more punch to them than normal.
In our tests, the camera lasted just under three hours which is a decent battery life and there were a number of manual options that you would expect on a camcorder in a higher price brackets – such as the ability to manually tweak shutter speed and white balance. The addition of a time lapse feature was also welcomed.
The Samsung HMX-300 is great-little camcorder. It’s one for those who prefer their specs streamlined but don’t want to scrimp on picture quality. And, for its price, it’s an absolute bargain
Samsung H300 launch date: Out now, link Samsung
Samsung H300 price: £270-£350 online