If you are looking for a simple camcorder to take with you on vacation, or carry in your handbag for unexpected moments, then the new Toshiba Camileo BW10 should be on your list. It's sand and water proof, weighs just 3.5-ounces, and is priced at $129, which doesn't exactly break the bank. It records 1080p HD videos and has a 10x digital zoom, to boot. Read on to find out if it's better than its competitors.
The Camileo BW10 comes in stylish silver or a more playful yellow or turquoise color. Its black rubber casing looks a bit cheap when compared to the similarly priced Kodak Zi6 but it serves a purpose: Keeping the camcorder waterproof and shock resistant.
Measuring 4.2 x 2.2 x 0.9 inches, and weighing a scant 3.5 ounces, the BW10 is easy to hold and fits in one hand with all the buttons a comfortable reach from the thumb. The controls are kept to a minimum and are situated on the lower half of the device. Surrounding a circular d-pad are buttons to record stills, video, review recordings, access settings, and delete. All are decently sized and spaced and make a satisfying click when pressed.
The BW10 has a mini HDMI and a micro USB port on the side, while the battery and memory card are safely tucked away at the bottom of the device. All are protected by difficult-to-open plastic covers.
The camera accepts SDXC cards up to 64GB in capacity, which translates to about 10 hours of 1080p video.
The Camileo BW10 can record MP4 videos up to 1080p in resolution, and still images up to 5MP in size. The camera lacks an optical zoom, but its 10x digital zoom is adequate if you are willing to sacrifice quality for close-up shots.
Video shot in Times Square was quite good; the colors in the advertisements popped, and movement was smooth as we panned around the tourist mecca. In low-light situations, though, the BW10 wasn't all that great. Faces and objects were hard to distinguish when filmed in a dimly lit room.
Still shots were generally bright and clear, and we liked having the option to change the resolution to 0.3MP, 0.9MP or 2MP to save space. However, as with videos, the camcorder fails to impress in low light situations, producing dark and poor images. One nice touch is a built-in stabilization feature, which ensures sharp pictures even with shaky hands.
Despite how it's advertised, the camera is not appropriate for capturing sports images. Photos of runners were blurred and of poor quality. If you need something to capture your basketball dunks or a soccer goals, check out the Kodak Playsport camcorder instead which, for only $99, delivers better action shots.
With the BW10, you have the ability to take a photograph while recording video, which is a great little feature and is particularly good if you have small children who can't sit still long enough to have their photograph taken.
Of course, the biggest selling point of the BW10 is its ability to record video in up to 6.5 feet below water. You're not going to be able to record your deep sea diving escapes with this, but it should be fine for snorkeling or general pool activities. When we tested the camcorder under water, we were surprised by just how bright and sharp the images and videos were.
Unlike the Kodak Play Touch, you are unable to edit videos on the BW10 itself. There are a few small annoying features of this model; you are unable to zoom-in and examine pictures on the camcorder itself, and there is no option to batch delete images.
Toshiba estimates that the BW10's battery should last about 70 minutes before needing to be recharged. In our testing, we recorded approximately 30 minutes of film over three days, and the camera was at 60 percent. The only option for charging the battery is through a USB connection, which is irritating if you are away from your laptop or PC at the time.
Small, portable, and waterproof, the Toshiba Camileo BW10 is well suited for capturing moments from a summertime pool party. While quality isn't the greatest, it's effortless to use, and its anti-shake feature will appeal to users who want to capture fun moments.
If you are a budding film maker, or a serious photographer, then the BW10 won't satisfy you. It isn't loaded with options and although it produces decent video and still images, they aren't overly impressive. However, if all you need is a simple camcorder that does what it says, then the BW10 is worthy of consideration.