Samsung SMX-C20

There are tons of gadgets that will wow you with their awesome specs, and there are those that will blow you away with their spanking good looks. At first glance, the Samsung SMX-C20 video camera seems to belong to the latter. But does it offer more than good looks, or is its beauty only skin-deep?

Looks and feel

Two other gadgets came into our minds when we first saw the SMX-C20 – an electric shaver and a mouse. But that's definitely not to say that the SMX-C20 isn't a good-looking gadget, because as we said earlier, it is. It looks stylish, elegant, and simple, especially with its glossy facade and curvaceous body. It is also among the smallest video cameras that have landed in our test labs. 

The SMX-C20 fits snuggly into our palm. What's also noteworthy is that it feels compact and robust, which is not the case for some other camcorder midgets out there.

We weren't particularly fond of the SMX-C20's angled lens at first, though it proved to be beneficial when holding the video camera for longer periods. However, the angled lens also means trouble if you're planning to use a tripod.

Interface and display

With the Samsung SMX-C20's simple looks come an equally simple layout of physical buttons; you'll have no problems finding and figuring out which is for which. The placement of the menu and navigation buttons beside the LCD screen is a nifty touch, too. The in-display functions are also straightforward, which makes menu navigation and manual adjustments quick and easy.

Don't expect much from the SMX-C20's 2.7-inch display because, at a resolution of 960 x 240, it's as basic as any viewfinder can get. Don't go expecting features like a touch screen. Still, it performs well, especially for a basic camcorder.

Video recording and imaging

We didn't expect much from the SMX-C20's imaging capabilities, as it's made for recording rather than for capturing still images. We took several pictures, and although the quality is not at the same level as that of photos taken with a bona fide digital camera, the pictures are quite decent. As long as there's good lighting, colors always come out vibrant. Just be careful when holding the SMX-C20; the slightest nudge instantly results in blurred images. The Macro mode is okay, too, although the same cannot be said with the Night mode; it doesn't help much when taking pictures in low-light situations.

As for the SMX-C20's video-recording quality, we're pleased to announce that it performed better than expected. This is not to say that the video quality is on a par with that of clips recorded with high-level or even mid-level camcorders.

Thanks to the Smart Auto feature that is normally found in Samsung's digital cameras, you won't have a hard time adjusting the settings for different situations manually. And it works well, too. For example, when focusing on a distant object then on to something nearer, the video camera automatically switches to Macro mode in a jiffy.

The Darkness feature in the SMX-C20 is worth mentioning, too; it performs well in poorly lit situations as long as you don't use the zoom function often.

There's also the Auto Face Detection feature, although we didn't really enjoy using it that much because of its inconsistency (think hit-or-miss affairs).

Memory and battery life

The fact that videos are recorded in H.264 file format means you will need more space for longer videos, so it's good that the SMX-C20 supports SD and SDHC cards. However, we're really disappointed that it doesn't have a byte of internal memory.

The SMX-C20 performed well in the power department, providing us almost 3 hours worth of recording time from a single charge. Pretty impressive, but also something to be expected from a basic camcorder. Another good thing is that the SMX-C20 can be charged via USB.


Overall, we're pretty satisfied with what the Samsung SMX-C20 gave us. Sure, it may not have HD recording, an insanely high megapixel count or a touch fundamental things decently, and that's what's important.

Click here to view the Samsung SMX-C20 in our Buyer's Guide.


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  • Good looks
  • Long battery life
  • Smart Auto mode
  • Lack of internal memory
  • Not good when using tripods


Bottom Line
If you're looking for a good-looking basic camcorder, then the Samsung SMX-C20 is your (wo)man
Editor's Pick No
Price P12,990
Tech Specs
  • Resolution
    • Video: 720 x 480
    • Stills: 800 x 600, 1,600 x 1,200
  • Recording Format: H.264
  • Storage
    • Internal: n/a
    • Expansion: SD/SDHC
  • Zoom
    • Digital: 1,200x
    • Optical: 10x
  • Screen
    • Size: 2.7 inches
    • Type: TFT LCD
    • Resolution: 960 x 240
  • Interface
    • USB: yes
    • HDMI: n/a
    • Firewire: n/a
  • Battery Life: around 2.5 - 3 hours
  • Size: 35 x 56 x 109 mm
  • Weight: 145g (without battery)

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