- Huge zoom, easy to use menu system, support for dual layer discs, price
- LCD screen, performance in low light
A well constructed and easy to use camcorder but offers mediocre video performance.
Price$ 799.00 (AUD)
Offering a big optical zoom and Dual-Layer DVD recording at a bargain price, at first glance Samsung's VP-DC163 looks like a fairly solid product. However, as the entry level model in Samsung's new range, the VP-DC163 can't escape problems with poor image quality particularly in low light.
One of the good things about the VP-DC163 is its support for Dual-Layer DVDs. Usually a camcorder can only record 20 minutes of footage at the highest quality level, so this model gives the potential to double this. However, based on our tests you'll need to change the battery for each new disc too; we could only get about 45 minutes out of a single charge. A higher powered larger battery, the SB-LSM160, is available. The VP-DC163 also supports regular +/-RW and +/-R discs.
As a budget DVD camcorder we really weren't expecting much from the VP-DC163 in terms of the quality of its footage, and our expectations proved to be well founded. Colour balance was decent, but some shots did look a little washed out. The footage also lacked the clarity and sharpness of more expensive models, which was to be expected. Visible graininess was a further problem in some of our shots. While these problems were no worse than many other low-cost DVD camcorders in daylight, moving to low light situations produced one of the worst examples of image degradation we have seen.
Our standard test for evaluating the low light capabilities of camcorders is to shoot some footage of brightly coloured bricks in a darkened room. Almost all camcorders struggle with this using their standard settings, but there is at least some semblance of an image. When we experimented with the VP-DC163 we couldn't see anything at all on the LCD; we even thought for a moment that the camera was turned off. The truth is that the camcorder just isn't sensitive enough in low light. Adjusting a few settings led to a vague outline of shapes on the screen, but there was no discernible colour visible. Even activating night mode didn't help things much.
This is extremely disappointing, and we recommend that if you plan to take any footage in low light that you steer well clear of the VP-DC163. Exacerbating the problem is the poor quality LCD, which on its standard settings is far too bright, leading to washed out colour and an inaccurate representation of what is actually being recorded. The LCD also suffers from poor visibility in sunlight and is in a 4:3 ratio.
It's a shame the camera video quality and screen are not better as from a design perspective the VP-DC163 is excellent. Samsung has included one of the most powerful lenses we have seen on a camcorder, with a whopping 33x optical zoom. However being so large, it does take a rather long time to zoom in and out. The camcorder is also very well built, which is nice to see on a budget model, with smooth lines and solid construction. The VP-DC163 is comfortable to hold and fairly lightweight with a slimline battery neatly attached to the back. However the downside to having such an unobtrusive battery is the limited battery life we mentioned earlier
Navigating the controls is made simple by using a simple on-screen interface accompanied with a five-way navigational toggle. This intuitive layout enables easy access to all the camera's functions. We especially liked the 'quick menu' toggle which gives instant access to white balance, shutter speed and exposure options. These are rare finds on a budget camera anyway, so it's great to see that Samsung has put them in a sensible place. Samsung also include a microphone jack, which isn't always the case, and a stereo microphone. An SD-card slot enables the camcorder to save still images, but with only a 0.8 megapixel sensor, they aren't of very good quality and are no substitute for a dedicated digital camera.
Overall, we very much liked the design of the camcorder, with its smooth lines, attractive colour scheme and lightweight body. However, the LCD screen and image quality are a real turn off, even if the cost is low.
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo A73 review: The budget smartphone that sets the bar for 2018
- 2 Oppo R11s review: The iClone you know and love, but not quite the one you deserve
- 3 Blackberry KEYone Black Edition review: What the original KEYone should have been
- 4 Samsung Gear IconX 2018 review: The path of least resistance makes for an easy upgrade
- 5 LG V30+ Review: The videographer's smartphone arrives
Latest News Articles
- Netgear announce local availability for smarter, sharper, Alexa-friendly Arlo Pro 2
- Netgear to spin off Arlo
- CES 2018: Ring founder Jamie Siminoff sheds light on his vision for a more-connected, more-secure future
- CES 2018: Ring Bolster Security Offering With Cameras, Lights, Alarms and Subscription Service
- Keep Watch Day and Night with Uniden’s Two-In-One Camera and Spotlight
PCW Evaluation Team
The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
- Sony a7R Mk III review: The strongest case yet for ditching your DSLR
- Oppo A73 review: The budget smartphone that sets the bar for 2018
- Oppo R11s: Full, in-depth review
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
Product Launch Showcase
- CCScrum Master Lead - Online DigitalVIC
- FTData AnalystACT
- FTSenior .Net DeveloperOther
- CCDevOps ArchitectACT
- CCDevops EngineerQLD
- CCProject Manager-SCADANSW
- FTBusiness Analyst - Supply ChainOther
- FTSenior Performance AnalystOther
- FTUnix/Linux System Administrator - PERMANENT ROLEQLD
- FTChief Technology OfficerSA
- TPSenior Business AnalystQLD
- FTSenior Full Stack DeveloperACT
- CCSIAM KPI Reporting Business AnalystNSW
- FTSenior Project Coordinator, Operational ProjectsOther
- FTSolution Architect - MDMOther
- FTSAP Test AnalystsOther
- FTNetwork Services ManagerOther
- FTSystems Engineer - Ticketing Support - Office365 / ExchangeOther
- TPSenior Project Manager: InfrastructureQLD
- TPSystems Administrator (AWS)QLD
- CCProject Manager-SCADAQLD
- FTSAP Test LeadOther
- FTOffice Manager / PAOther
- FTNetezza Developer - Brisbane locationOther
- TPProject Manager - SEQQLD