Samsung takes on Flip with new camera lineup

The HMX-U10 is directly positioned to challenge the Pure Digital Flip UltraHD

While Samsung has been making waves lately in netbooks and smartphones, they've also announced some new stuff for camera buffs; namely, three camcorders, one of which (the HMX-U10) is directly positioned to challenge the Pure Digital Flip UltraHD, and two consumer point-and-shoot cameras.

On the camcorder side, we've got the compact HMX-U10, the SMX-K40, and the SMX-K45. The SMX-K40 and K45 look like fairly standard consumer-level camcorders: they record at 720 by 480 standard definition but can upscale to HD when outputting via the HDMI port (cable not included, sadly), they rock a 52x optical zoom lens that is supplemented by a 65x "Intelli-zoom" digital zoom function, and the K45 has a 32GB Solid State Drive that can record for up to 20 hours and 40 minutes depending on the recording quality, while the K40 needs to record onto an SD or SDHC card. The K40 and K45 will retail for $US330 and $US500, respectively, and they'll be available in August.

The HMX-U10, meanwhile, looks like it'll catch the eye of anyone considering a Flip purchase. It records in full HD (1920 by 1080) and takes 10MP still photos, only weighs 95 grams with the battery (that's about 0.2 pounds), and boasts a 2-inch LCD display. It's also got a handful of features that make it particularly interesting to the YouTube mavens, like an "Upload to YouTube" button, and it borrows from the Samsung SMX-C10/C14 design by tilting the lens at a seven-degree angle, which purportedly helps minimize arm and wrist strain compared to holding a camcorder straight up. All that will only cost you $US200, though you'll need to bring your own SD/SDHC card as the HMX-U10 has no onboard storage. Unfortunately, you'll have to wait for it - the HMX-U10 won't be available until September.

Those of you looking for a point-and-shoot still camera on a budget, meanwhile, will be intrigued by the SL720 and SL502, which will cost $US230 and $US150, respectively. Both of them have 12.2 megapixel image sensors, a 5x optical zoom lens, and facial recognition features that haven't been seen on Samsung's SL line until now.

Forking out the extra $US80 for the SL720 (pictured above) will get you a 3-inch LCD instead of the SL502's 2.7-incher, a 28-millimeter wide-angle lens instead of the SL502's standard 35-millimeter, the capacity to record video in High Definition 720p, and both optical and digital image stabilization (the SL502 only has digital image stabilization), so those of you with a fatter wallet and shaky hands will probably want to opt for the SL720. Both these cameras will be available in August 2009 - stay tuned for the full review once we get our hands on them. Meanwhile, check out our review of the Sony Cybershot DSC-S980 and the Pure Digital Flip UltraHD to see what they're competing with.

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Patrick Miller

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