Samsung SMX-C20 Digital Camcorder

The new Samsung digital camcorder, knows as SMX-C20, has an ergonomic
design and includes a mix of style, comfort and technology which allows
you to capture memorable moments of your life and share them over the
Internet with a single touch.

Samsung SMX-C20 consists of an built-in lenses with an Active angle of
25 degrees of inclination. It has inherited this conception from SMX-C10
and HMX-R10 cameras. According to Samsung, this lens makes it possible
to hold the camera in a more natural position, which reduces the overall
load on the wrist and elbow. In addition, the LCD screen is out of
sight and allows the user to concentrate on his subject.

Samsung knows that they need a hook to sell these devices, and with its
SMX-C20 model they are deviating from the traditional aspect of
camcorder. The result is a comfortable and ergonomic design which
Samsung claims is ideal for long recordings.

The Samsung SMX-C20 ultra-compact camcorder consists of an LCD screen
with a resolution of 720 x 480 pixels for outstanding video recording
standard definition, which allows users to take still images with a
resolution of 2 megapixel. The unit also supports H.264 compression
offering longer recording time period over typical MPEG2 format. It
allows users to get closer to the action regardless of the subject’s
distance with its 10x optical zoom feature.

Design is not enough to make a consumer camcorder, and the C20 has a lot
of competition from other devices in the same $200 (MSRP) price range,
including standard-definition models from Sony and Panasonic in addition
to the ever-growing pocket HD camcorder lineup. With this review you
can easily find out how the SMX-C20 performed in my two weeks of
testing, and if its features and modes make up its relatively low

There are two models of SMX-C, the C20 and the C24. The C20 is available
in red and purple and requires an SD or SDHC card up to 32 GB. The C24
is available only in black and has a 16 GB solid state drive (SSD).

The SSD defines the current crop of Samsung SD and HD camcorders. SSDs
are smaller, lighter, faster, more reliable and consume less energy than
conventional hard drives. When compared to SD cards, SSDs are generally
faster to access data. If Samsung C20 were smaller, it can compete with
handheld camcorders more compact. It measures 1.39 x 2.21 x 4.29 inches
and weighs about 5 ounces. It is easy to take and I could almost
completely wrapped my hand around the device.

The front of the C20 houses the lens, which is at an angle of 25 degrees
upward from the rest of the body. On the back is the record button,
charging LED, and the cover hides the USB connector, DC-in jack, AV
input, SD/SDHC slot, and a removable rechargeable battery. On the palm
side is bare sans of wrist strap hook, and the 2.7-inch LCD swivels out
from the opposite side. LCD opens up 90 degrees and rotates 180. Below
it is the power button, speaker, share button (upload photos directly to
sharing sites once set up), display button, mode button, and the smart
auto/show button. A record button, the control button to navigate the
menu and manually adjust the picture controls and menu button appears on
the display panel.

The C20′s shiny plastic case has a fingerprint magnet, but the palm-side
of the device consists of textured plastic. It has a nice touch and
makes the C20 even more ergonomically comfortable for shooting.

I even noticed some problems with the build, however. First, the buttons
feel cheap, if you press the power button because it does not click
when you press, and the power up/down cycle takes a few seconds. I
accidentally left the C20 on more than once after having thought that I
had pressed the button. Also, the record button requires a deep but
light push. It reminds me of an old and worn game controller.

There’s no doubt that the angled lens takes some getting used to,
especially if you are used to shoot straight in with a traditional
camcorder, but I think it is an excellent design choice. With other
camcorders, I’m always bending my wrist back to shoot upwards, which is
painful after a few minutes of use. Samsung has eliminated the need for
hard wrist contortions with C20, and I hope other camcorder
manufacturers are taking note of this.

When it comes to C20’s small size, the 2.7-inch LCD screen is relatively
large, but not too large to support touch controls. As such, you can
control all menu navigation via a switch, which I prefer to point out a
small screen attempting to select the appropriate menu item. The button
also serves as a shortcut menu and allows you to have quick access to
the manual exposure and focus control.

Keeping in line with other low-cost camcorders, Samsung don’t have a
lens cover or even a cloth bag in C20 package to protect it from dust
and scratches. So the lens is left exposed to all sort of dirt. I do not
understand why manufacturers are reluctant to include these items with
their camcorders as they can make a big difference in keeping the lens
free from dust and scratches.

Although Samsung does not show the bitrates, I guess TV Super Fine has a
higher bitrate than TV Fine or TV Normal, that makes the difference in

The C20 is set to TV Fine by default, so you must cast it manually
through the menu if you want to record at the highest resolution.

The C20 has a surprisingly deep menu system, which is really what
separates it from the HD pocket camcorders that Flip that have limited
or no menu controls.

A dedicated white balance is missing, but its probably been through
iScene presets. Yet it is strange that Samsung would include manual
focus and exposure and not a manual white balance.

I took Sony to task in my CX110 review for its tiny 2.7-inch LCD, but I
want to laud Samsung for including one on his C20. The difference is
that the CX110 had a touchscreen, and 2.7-inches is too small for
effective touch navigation. Moreover, the C20 is a much smaller device,
closer in size to a pocket camcorder than an entry-level HD camcorder.
The latest pocket camcorder I reviewed, the Kodak PlaySport, had a
2.0-inch screen.

Different display settings are hidden in the SMX-C20 menu to control LCD
brightness, color and toggle the LCD enhancer, which ups the displays
contrast. This complete set of options does well in the fight against
the sun’s glare and the 230k display dots is sufficient to monitor what
is happening.

Despite a fairly deep menu, users can easily pick up the C20 and start
shooting just because of its iScene button. Press it and the C20
recognizes the shooting situation, adjusts the exposure, color and
focuses accordingly. After testing out all the different iScene
settings, I shot some pictures with it on almost exclusively without
ever having to re-adjust it.

A common SD camcorder feature is an extended optical zoom. Some
Panasonic models go past 70x. I was disappointed to see the C20 only had
a 10x zoom. It’s certainly not a bad zoom – the lever is a little bit
loose, but otherwise functional – but to extend the zoom makes a big
selling point towards the pocket camcorders all sports a fixed-focus
lens. Also, do not be impressed with 1200x digital zoom as the image
quality is broken beyond recognition.

The manual focus and manual EV (exposure value) controls are both
adjusted by the control button on the LCD panel, so they aren’t
particularly useful for on-the-fly adjustments while shooting and is
best left for when staging a shot.

The anti-shake option (image stabilization for units with CCD sensors;
the sensor mounted moves in the opposite direction of the camera) works
well, but has its limits. It does not work with some Web resolutions,
some digital effects and in night or dark iScene mode. The autofocus
also does a fine job of keeping up with different lighting conditions
and steady movement. The fully charged battery lasted just below two
hours with the C20 recording at the highest resolution before it died.

Key features

  • CCD 1 / 6 
  • 10x Optical Zoom
  • SD / SDHC
  • Video Resolution: 720×480/60i / H.264
  • Smart Car
  • Objective Active Angle
  • Finish Crystal Gloss
  • Intelli-Studio
  • Time-Lapse Recording (intervalometer)
  • Moving Thumbnail


Samsung SMX-C20 camcorder is a small digital camcorder with flash memory
completely in tune with the times with a design that charms us,
pebble-shaped when folded, the superb finish and Samsung Crystal Gloss
signed orientation the objective that allows a more ergonomic grip as
the more traditional camcorders. Ready for sharing on YouTube of a
button, the SMC-C20 can also take a few snapshots of 2 megapixels for


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