Toshiba Camileo S20 pocket camcorder
Toshiba's Camileo S20 camcorder is feature-packed, but has finicky controls
- Time-lapse mode, white balance presets, fun extras, LED lamp for low-light shooting, Very slim and light
- Menu navigation and zoom can be frustrating, no built-in USB connector, cheap-feeling build
For sheer bang for the buck, look no further than the fun-filled, 1080p-shooting Toshiba Camileo S20. It's unsurpassed in features, but we've seen better usability and build quality.
Price$ 179.99 (AUD)
Note: Pricing for the Toshiba Camileo S20 is in US$. It's not currently distributed in Australia but can be picked up from online retailers.
It may be thin and light--even for a pocket camcorder--but the ultraslim Toshiba Camileo S20 packs more features into its frame than any high-definition pocket camcorder we've tested to date.
Along with 1080p high-definition video, digital stabilization, and a macro/landscape toggle switch--all of which we've seen in models such as the Kodak Zi8--the Camileo S20 has a handful of pocket-camcorder firsts, including an LED light for shooting in the dark, a time-lapse mode that lets you select between three preset intervals, four white-balance presets, and a slow-motion mode that helps you take (very grainy) footage of fast action. It shoots AVI files in 1080p or 720p at 30 frames per second, recording the video footage to a user-supplied SD or SDHC card.
Instead of the candy-bar design employed by the vast majority of pocket camcorders, the Camileo S20 shoots in a pistol-grip style, thanks to a flip-out, swiveling 3-inch LCD screen; it's a Sony Bloggie MHS-CM5 on a no-carb diet. The adjustable screen is great for composing odd-angle shots (filming over a crowd or taking self-portraits, for example), but it's not the sharpest screen we've seen, and it looks a bit dull in direct sunlight. That said, it's big and adjustable enough to get the job done as a viewfinder.
With all the normal settings in 1080p (30 fps) mode, the Toshiba Camileo S20 served up sharp, smooth, but slightly muted video when compared to similar pocket camcorders. Video quality didn't look bad at all, but colors aren't as vivid as they are in footage shot with the Sony Bloggie MHS-CM5 or the top-rated Creative Vado HD. (For the highest-quality footage, select "1080p" from the drop-down menu that will appear in the lower right corner of the embedded video player when it starts.)
Toshiba Camileo S20: Wide-Angle Video Quality Test
Sony Bloggie MHS-CM5: Wide-Angle Video Quality Test
Creative Vado HD (3rd Generation): Wide-Angle Video Quality Test
In low light (without the LED lamp on), the Camileo S20 brightened up the scene enough to show what was going on, but footage took on a tan, slightly muddy quality. Motion looked smooth, but color accuracy and white balance were lacking compared with our low-light champs, the second-generation Flip MinoHD and the third-generation Creative Vado HD.
Toshiba Camileo S20: Low-Light Test (Without LED Lamp)
Flip MinoHD: Low-Light Test
Creative Vado HD: Low-Light Test
The Toshiba Camileo S20 also has two more low-light shooting aids: its front-facing LED lamp, and a ISO-boosting shooting mode. Here's how the camcorder's low-light shooting looks in both of those circumstances: better, but with more visible graininess, especially in the high-ISO mode.
Toshiba Camileo S20: Low-Light Test With LED Lamp
Toshiba Camileo S20: Low-Light Test With High ISO
The Camileo S20 also takes 5-megapixel photos (and, according to its on-screen menu, up to 16-megapixel photos at its maximum-resolution setting), but you'll need a steady hand when shooting stills. I got shaky, blurry images when my hand moved slightly while taking a shot; if you use a tripod, image quality is about on a par with that from an above-average phone camera.
Despite all the fun features, the Toshiba Camileo S20 has a few notable drawbacks. For example, it has no flip-out USB connector; instead, Toshiba includes a separate cable in the box for charging your battery and offloading your clips. Also, digital image stabilization is available only in the camcorder's 720p/30 fps mode, meaning you don't get that option for the Camileo's highest-resolution video setting or even in its lower-resolution, Web-friendly video modes.
It's nice to have the macro/landscape toggle, but the macro mode doesn't allow for extreme close-ups; the closest I was able to get to a subject and shoot a clear shot was about a foot away. And the camcorder has an all-plastic build, which definitely makes it feel a bit cheap (but also slim and light, and probably fairly durable).
When shooting with the Camileo, I found the main drawback to be its menu navigation, which is especially frustrating given the amount of goodies at your disposal. Top-level menu navigation is done with the thumb-operated zoom control, which is fairly responsive but feels cheap and plasticky. Pressing the center of the zoom control would be the most intuitive way to make on-screen selections, but instead, you sometimes have to use the two small buttons below it to dive into on-screen menus.
When you're using the same zoom control for operating the 4X digital zoom, it's insanely touchy. At times, I was able to slowly zoom in and out, but at other times, the zoom control jumped between zoom points or rocketed to full telephoto. As with most pocket camcorders, it's best to refrain from using the zoom at all; only the 5X optical zoom on the Sony Bloggie MHS-CM5 stands out here.
The Toshiba Camileo S20 is definitely among the top tier of current HD pocket camcorders, thanks to the useful LED lamp, decent 1080p footage, and unique extras--all for less than $200. But a handful of usability issues, not to mention its cheap-feeling build, prevent it from landing at the top of our pocket-camcorder list.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei P10 smartphone review
- 2 Huawei P10 Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- 3 Motorola Moto G5 smartphone review
- 4 Oppo A57 phone: full, in-depth review
- 5 Moto G5 Plus phone: full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Microsoft's Beam becomes Mixer, adds four person split-screen streaming to battle Twitch
- Microsoft's Story Remix uses machine learning and mixed reality to make your movies awesome
- New IoT malware targets 100,000 IP cameras via known flaw
- Facebook launches tool for capturing 360 video inside VR
- Sony's PlayStation 4 Pro finally adds 4K video support for local files
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- Asus ROG Strix Z270F Gaming motherboard review
- The simple RAM buying guide
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSocial Media Executive / Specialist (Facebook) - online gamblingNSW
- CCSalesforce ArchitectVIC
- FTLooking for Software TestersACT
- CCIT Security Risk AnalystVIC
- CCAppian Developer x 2VIC
- FTSystems EngineerNSW
- FTIT Command Centre Support EngineerVIC
- CCSecurity Incident Analyst - Splunk - TelcoVIC
- TPProject Manager | Applications and Project InitiationQLD
- CCSolution Architect/ Technical LeadQLD
- FTDigital ProducerNSW
- FTSales Client Services Manager (Mid-market)QLD
- FTNetwork EngineerWA
- CCManaging Architect - Satellite - TelcoVIC
- CCFront End DeveloperQLD
- CCUnix AdministratorNSW
- TPDigital ProducerVIC
- TPIT Security SpecialistVIC
- FTEnterprise ArchitectVIC
- CCIT Security Risk AnalystVIC
- FTScrum MasterNSW
- FTBUSINESS TECHNOLOGY PARTNERVIC
- TPICT Customer Support OfficerNSW