Thursday, December 31, 2009

Samsung HMX-U10

The TestFreaks posted some user comments and the price of Samsung U10 camcorder.

In overall, U10 has great features with lower price.

Review: Samsung ST10, Easily and simply, digital cameras won't be difficult any more

Digital cameras which were considered as a button type also satisfy users with touch interface products. This time, I’m going to review the ST10 from Samsung digital imaging. This is a compact digital camera adopting haptic UI, and supports MP3 and PMP functions. Also, by adopting unique lens cover, perfect self shot is possible.

I could see there were many distinguishing things from others. Is the touch type more convenient than other products? Let’s check it out with test.

Design and feature

It’s the full kit, we can see various accessories are provided. (Quick manual, S/W CD, power adaptor, USB cable, AV cable, Hand strap, Earphones, battery, and touch pen are provided. Also separate case and memory card can be used.)

With 90 x 60 x 19mm’s size and 124.2g’s weight, the portability is great. (As a palm size and light weight product, so you can hang it on your neck, or put it in your pocket and back. Unlike other high end product and DSLR, you can take a quick picture any time, I think.)

The whole design is similar to other compact digital cameras, but the front is definitely different. Mirror type rotational lens cap is installed on the front, and with hair line on aluminum body, it gives high grade feeling. (Other than gold color which is being reviewed, there will be black, silver and red.)

the front. Like I said earlier, you can see there’s a rotational lens cap. Supporting F3.5(W)~4.5(T) optical 3x zoom lens is installed, and different from protruding type, the lens doesn’t come out when zooming, so it reduces the possibility of lens damage, and there’s no shake. (On 35mm, it supports 38~144mm FOV. Wide angle is not sufficient, but it supports more frequent FOV, so I don’t think there will be much inconvenience.) You don’t need to push the power button to turn it on. Just rotating the lens cap, then it’s automatically on. And the lens cap is made of mirror, so it’s useful when taking a self shot.

On the left top, there’s an internal microphone and flash, and on the right tip, AF and self timer lamp are located. (The flash supports various modes such as auto, red-eye reduction, forced flash, slow sync, flash off, and red-eye edit.)

It’s the top of the body, and you can see there’s a model name and speaker. (Supporting multimedia function, I think the speaker will be useful.) On the center, there’s a power button, and at the side, there’s a shutter button to take a picture and video. (Unlike other products causing hand blur due to the button pressure, it’s softly pressed.)

The greatest thing of the ST10 is in the display, I think. Perfectly supporting the touch screen, you can set the menu simply, and it’s very intuitive with the haptic event. (When using touch buttons or touch screen, it’s inconvenient, if there’s no feedback. But the ST10 supports the vibration function, so there’s no inconvenience.)

Unlike other products, the ST10 has adopted the hVGA (460K pixel), so there’s less inconvenience by viewing angle, and the visibility is really good. (Unlike other products causing diffused reflection outdoors, it provides a vivid screen. It’s also strong against damage and oil film. It also has some weakness which leaves some afterimage, but has more strength, I suppose.) On the side, there’s an LED to show the status, zoom button, and menu/play button. (Even if it’s off, by pushing the play button long, you can easily see pictures and videos.)

The above picture was intentionally taken in the shade. Compared to the ST10 with h.VGA, normal TFT LCD gives a little reflecting feeling. Like the below picture, in the sunlight, glare type TFT LCD can’t be seen at all, but the LCD of the ST10 can be seen, even though there’s some reflection. (When it comes to a normal compact camera without view finder, the visibility of the LCD is really important. I think you can confirm how the visibility of the ST10 outdoors is satisfactory.) In real, the difference is bigger.

It’s the bottom of the body, and you can see the mount hall for a tripod. On the side, there’s a space for battery and SD card. (Not only SD, but also SDHC is perfectly supported. Using an internal 70MB memory and SDHC, you can take enough pictures and videos.) Up to 8GB SDHC is guaranteed.

It’s the left side of the body, and there’s a strap ring for connection of hand strap and necklace, 20 pin universal port for earphones, USB cable and AV cable. (A lot of products adopting universal 20 pin port have been released. Like mini 5 pin and 24 pin port, the compatibility is really great.)

Like I mentioned earlier, the size is really small enough to be in a hand. (It’s a little bit thicker than cell phones or premium MP3P, but the size is the same level.)

Because buttons are on the side, and due to the small size, there’s no inconvenience at all to take a picture in one hand. (When using both hands, more stable shot is possible.)

Those are the basic accessories. As a multimedia product, it provides earphones, and for touch screen, touch pen and battery are included. (Supporting 900mAH Li-ION battery.)

Hand strap, AV cable for TV connection, USB cable for data transfer and charge, and power adaptor are included. Quick manual and S/W CD are provided. (Samsung Converter and Samsung Master are included.)

UI and function

We’ve been checking the design and features. Let’s take a look at the functions. (Unlike other products, it supports multimedia functions as a convergence product, so there will be many things to handle. Let’s check them one by one.)

As a touch screen type product, model dial is not supported, and instead, like the picture, by pushing the left top icon, you can change the mode. (It’s quicker and more convenient than the mode dial.) Like the ST50 which I recently reviewed, it supports not only smart auto function, but also auto/program/scene/DIS, and multimedia functions such as video recording. (With scene, smart auto, and DIS, beginners can take a picture without any convenience. With easy control, you can get good pictures.)

# Smart auto: This is advanced auto mode. Once setting the resolution, the camera is automatically optimized to take great pictures easily. (Users who are not used to a digital camera won’t think digital cameras are difficult any more, I suppose.)

Without entering the setting menu, using the UI icon, you can set frequently used functions. Hiding information function on the LCD is supported, and you can change it easily like self timer, flash and macro functions. When it’s selected as AV, you can control the menu like a PC, because mouse icons are displayed. It’s not displayed when taking pictures.)

Fn menu is also impressive as a strong point of touch screen. Unlike other products which have to go into the MENU, by pushing the FN button, setting menu is displayed like the picture, and you can set it easily and simply. (This is one of the most satisfactory parts of the ST10.)

Photo function

Let’s check the various functions on the menu. The menu supports 4 settings with detailed sub menus. (Separate menus are supported for Picture, video, and multimedia.) It’s set as a program mode. (You have to set it on the program mode to set all functions manually on the ST10.) When selecting Smart auto / Auto / DIS / Scene mode, only necessary shot functions are displayed.

The above picture is a shot function supporting ±2EV exposure compensation, and various white balances (Auto, sunlight, cloudy, fluorescent light (H), fluorescent light (L), light bulb, users setting) are possible to set. Also various AF such as multi division AF, center AF, smart face recognition AF, face recognition AF, and touch AF are supported. (You have to set the Face recognition AF on the face recognition menu.) That it supports the touch AF is satisfactory. You don’t need to use a half shutter, and just by touching a part, it automatically sets the focus, so it’s very useful, when taking a picture. I’d like to say it’s one of the biggest benefits by touch screen.)

Max. ISO 3200 is supported, so you can take a photo without flash in the night. By supporting various face recognition functions, you can easily take human pictures. (Not only normal face recognition, but also other perfect face recognition functions such as smart face recognition prioritizing faces to set focus and exposure (Up to 10 faces), self guide for self shot, smile shot recognizing smile, and blink detection which take 2 continuous shots when blinking are supported. Those who take a lot of human pictures will be satisfied with this, I think.)

Up to 3456 x 2592 resolution is supported, and 3 levels of resolution setting are possible. (Considering the quality and file capacity, you can set the size and resolution.) ACB which automatically adjust brightness in large exposure deviation is also supported.

Various photometry (Multi, Center, and spot are supported.) are supported. Normal shots and continuous shot (taking shots while pushing the shutter), motion capture (While pushing the shutter, on VGA, it takes 6 shots per second up to 30 pictures), and AEB (Standard exposure, -1/2EV exposure deficiency, and +1/2EV exposure surplus are taken continuously) are perfectly supported.

Like other product which I’ve reviewed, it supports various photo style effects (This is needed for different atmosphere.), and sharpness, contrast, and chroma adjustments are possible. (You don’t need to use any image editing program. You can apply those various effects before and after shots.)

Useful voice memo which puts voice on the still image and voice recording which records voice up to 10 hours are supported.

Various scene modes such as night scene, human, child, scenery, character, closeup, sunset, dawn, backlight, beach, snow, and frame guide are supported, so you can select the mode by your situation. You don’t need to worry about exposure. Once setting the scene mode, it automatically sets optimized exposure.) Since it supports DIS mode, pictures without hand blue can be taken indoors or in the night.

Video recording function

It’s video recording function. By pushing the shutter, you can record a video, and pushing it again, you can stop recording and save it.

It’s the video menu, you can see it supports 3 resolution modes, and you can record a video with various frames. Like a picture function, it supports DIS function. (On 800×592 resolution, only 20fps is supported, while 640×480 and 320×240 support 30fps/15fps.)

Multimedia function

Unlike other digital cameras or camcorders, the ST10 perfectly supports multimedia functions. The above picture is MP3 function, and you can see it play MP3 files in the external memory. (It’s impressive that it supports various EQ such as SRS. Hold setting and volume were easy to control.)

It’s the MP3 setting menu. Previous file play is possible, and repeat setting, background setting (Both basic background and user background can be set), slide show, and DRM information confirmation are possible

With the PMP function, you can enjoy videos. (Because it doesn’t support normal video codes, you have to install Samsung Converter included in the S/W CD and encode videos.) The above picture is the Samsung Converter program, it supports subtitle function, and through the setting, resolution (640×480, 320×240) and frame settings are possible.

After storing a video converted by the Samsung Converter, it’s played well. (I watched it on 640×480 resolution with 30fps, and it was played smoothly.)

It’s the setting menu, and you can see the previous file play and section search.

It also supports text viewer. Like the picture, not only English, but also Korean is perfectly supported. Auto scroll and BGM are also supported.


It’s the sound setting menu. It supports volume control (Acting, shutter, and booting) menu and haptic (Vibration) intensity setting is also possible. You can change the shutter sound and booting sound.

AF sound setting is possible, and when setting the self guide, sound setting is possible. (When the camera recognizes a face, it sounds.)


It’s the display menu. It supports various languages (24 languages), and you can select the activation of function instruction. Starting image, brightness, and time for direct view can be set (On shot mode, if the camera is not used for 30 sec, the camera automatically turns off by the power saving mode.)


Lastly, let’s see the setting menu. Format and initialization function are supported, and display type of date and time can be set. In case it’s used in foreign countries, it supports time zone setting function, and file number setting is also supported. (If you have a lot of pictures to take and save it in the PC, you have to set it on continuity.)

Date and time can be recorded, and it also supports auto turn off mode. AF which is used to set focus in the darkness can be set, and the selection of video and USB connection is possible. (Because it supports NTSC/PAL, you can connect it to other external devices even in overseas country without any inconvenience.)

Play back function

By pushing the play button on the back, you can see the picture, video, and voice. (Thanks to the vivid LCD, there was no inconvenience to watch a video at all.) As a touch screen product, it supports gesture function. Dragging right or left with the touch pen, you can see the previous or next picture, and dragging X, you can delete files. Please check this part with the video clip.

On smart album, using a zoom button, you can divide or magnify (Up to 10.8x) pictures taken (As you can see in the picture, 9 / 16 division is supported, and when magnifying, cutting function is also supported.) , and they can be sorted by file/date/color/face.

Once registering faces taken, you can prioritize, sort, and see them on the smart album. Delete function is also supported. (Multiple selected file delete function is also supported.) Manual registration is not all. The ST10 supports the smart face recognition function, so it recognizes frequently used faces and saves them on the DB, and it automatically adjusts the AF and AE. After taking them, they are stored on their folder.

Multi slide show function which selects pictures and views them with BGM and scene effects is provided. (Play and interval setting are possible.)

It’s the photo editing function. Rotation and changing size are possible (It’s impossible to make small files bigger.) and various photo style can be applied.

It supports various effects such as whitish effect making picture bright, noise effect making picture have old feelings, and skin compensation.

It supports image compensation function. Brightness, contrast, and chroma setting is supported, and red eye elimination and ACB fix are also possible. You can set the way of information display of pictures.

ushing the menu button, various play settings are possible. The number of pictures for view can be set. File delete and protection functions are provided, and by supporting the bin function, recovery of deleted files is possible, and you can put voice memo on recorded videos. DPOF (Storing information on memory card folder, and selecting pictures to print and setting the number of prints) settings is supported, and data can easily be copied to memory card.

It’s playing a video. You can see there are buttons for play on the lower side. And using icons on the side, you can delete, cut files, and capture screen.


We’ve checked the design and function. Now, let’s see the quality of videos and Samsung Master editing program included.

Most of all, I’d like to say the distinguished self shot function. With most other products, you can only take a self shot depending on feeling. (Because you can see nothing, you take once and adjust the LCD angle.) However, the ST10 has the mirror type lens cap, so easy self shot is possible. (Using both mirror type lens cap and self guide function, more perfect self shot is possible.)

It’s outdoor shot. Shutter speed is secured stably, and because ISO is not over 100, the best shot is possible, as you can see. It’s not as great as DSLR, but I could see out focusing, and the color sense is also quite satisfactory. (Most of the shots were made on the smart auto. I don’t think there will be any inconvenience to take pictures even for beginners.)

It’s indoor and human shots. I could see the DIS function is very useful. (Despite the very low shutter speed, there were rarely shaken pictures. On about ISO 800, a little noise happened, but the focus was right without shake, so it’s enough to take satisfactory pictures, I think.)

It supports TV-OUT function, and you can easily connect this to AV devices to watch pictures and videos. (Using included AV-OUT cable, I connected it to Full HDTV. When it’s set on NTSC, as soon as I connected, it worked. And as I mentioned earlier, there’s a mouse icon to control functions by touching the LCD screen.)

It’s playing pictures. I could see this is more vivid than in the PC. (This supports Multimedia slide show function, so you can enjoy pictures with your family.)

It’s playing a video taken on 640×480 30fps, and for normal snap the video is really good. (There was neither clouding/contour effect nor delay. For a camcorder, zoom is not enough, but the video quality is enough to satisfy you, I think.)

Lastly, let’s check the Samsung Master program included in the S/W CD. When executing the program and setting the folder including pictures and videos, editing function is provided, so you can edit your pictures and videos without using any commercial software such as photoshop and premier. (As you can see in the picture, various effects are being supported. It’s not enough for professionals, but for those who feel some difficulty to use other program, this will be very useful, I think.)

In conclusion

I started the review with some anxiety, because there were many different features such as touch screen and lens cap. Fortunately, unlike my thought that it will be not easy to be adapted, after using this for 2-3 days, I realized the convenience of this product. (It supports the touch pen, but finger touch is also possible. Since it supports haptic type vibration feedback, I could control this more quickly and intuitively.)

The greatest thing of this product is h.VGA, I suppose. As I mentioned before, it leaves a little afterimage, but different from former TFT LCD, it has great visibility, and with the UI design which took the strength of touch screen, mode change and setting are so fast and simple. (It’s not only me. All people who have used the ST10 have praised the vivid display of the S10.) Also as you can see in the picture above, self shot is so easy to take, thanks to the self guide and mirror type lens cap. Simply setting focus by the Magic touch was also impressive. (I’d like to recommend this to women users taking a lot of self shots.)

Unlike other digital camera only having pictures, videos, and voice recording, supporting music, video, and text is also the distinguished strong point of the ST10. (By saving various multimedia contents on SDHC type large capacity memory, you can use it as an MP3 player. I think this is a real convergence product.)

However, it could have been better if it was slimmer like the ST10. (Although it’s a high grade product, the luxurious feeling is reduced due to the thickness, I think.).

Like a cell phone, MP3, and PMP, touch will be majority in digital cameras, I think. (While reviewing the ST10, I could feel the convenience of touch.) With vivid display of h.VGA, various multimedia functions, and quick response through touch screen, this will be very popular with women users, I suppose

This review represents the sole opinion of their individual authors and NOTEFORUM and don’t express the opinion of Samsung Digital Imaging Co., Ltd., or the opinion of any affiliates unless specifically marked as such.
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