Samsung SC-X210L

The Samsung SC-X210L is promoted by Samsung as a ‘Sports Camcorder’ (hence the SC) cum multifunction device.

The image on the box – a snowboarder – gives you some idea of situations the SC-X210L is meant to be used…situations involving speed, sizzle, sensation.

If you’re zipping along a lonely country road on your motorbike, trying new moves on your skateboard, cross-country biking or even bungee jumping – and would love to relive the event – this doodad will help you do that.

The coolest aspect of the Samsung SC-X210L is its “hands-free” shooting capability.

Strap the auxiliary lens – included in the box – to a headband or helmet, and you’re ready to do roll, even though your hands (and mind) may be otherwise occupied.

Or say you have this urge to view life from the perspective of your pet poodle – strap the external lens to her head. The external lens rotates 90 degrees left or right, making it easy to select the appropriate angle.

The SC-X210L base camcorder features a two-inch LCD, is itself pretty rugged, and has a weather-proof body, so it can be used in all kinds of conditions. It’s also compact (around the size of a deck of cards) so during hands free shoots, it can be safely tucked away in a jacket or coat pocket – while the auxiliary lens captures the action.

The form factor of this sports camcorder is akin to some of the newer, lightweight mini-DV devices out there. But the SC-X210L is not a miniDV camcorder, so you’re spared the trouble and expense of buying, carrying and labelling a bunch of tapes.

Instead, your “footage” is stored on the 1GB built-in memory. Just how much video it will accomodate depends on two variables: video size and quality.

You can choose from two different sizes 352p or 720i/720p, and one of three video quality options: Normal, Fine, or Super Fine.

At one end of the spectrum shooting 352p at Normal mode gives you around 131 minutes of video; at the other, selecting Super Fine and 720i/720p limits you to 29 minutes of footage.

If you think you’ll need more than 1 GB of video, the memory is expandable – so you can insert an SD/MMC card into the provided slot, and use that to store extra video. For instance, a 2GB SD/MMC card would offer you another 86 minutes of recording time if you shot at 720i/720p in Fine mode.

Another option – if you’re using the camcorder on a road trip – is to carry a laptop along and from time to time transfer existing footage to the laptop.

Such a transfer is relatively easier with the SC-X210L than it is with many miniDV cameras, for instance. The reason is that the SC-X210L doubles up as a 1GB “flash drive.”

To edit your footage, you can use the included software – DV Media Pro 1.0 with Ulead Photo Express SE and Ulead VideoStudio SE 9.0, or your own preferred editing program (I personnally go with Pinnacle Studio for a lot of my editing).

Included in the box are a lithium polymer battery pack, power adapter, AV and USB cables, earphones, hand strap, user manual, quick guide, two software CDs, a lens cover, the External Camera Module, a carrying pouch, mounting band, and a rubber mount.

The image quality of the SC-X210L is acceptable, particularly when you shoot in super fine mode – but that’s about it. If you’re looking for really vivid video, this is not the device you want.

The value proposition of SC-X210L is the unit’s convenience, its multifunction capabilities, and its flexibility – that extends beyond the hands-free functionality.

One convenient feature especially for travellers is the ability to charge the device anywhere in the world, as the AC adaptor ranges from 120V to 240V.

The camcorder is being promoted as “six-in-one” multifunction device. It does record video, plays it back, takes still pictures, is an MP3 player, a voice recorder and a data storage device.

However, apart from the video recording and playback, I don’t see its other capabilities being a great draw. For instance, the picture quality of its digital camera is mediocre. The unit plays mp3s, however these files take up precious internal memory and would also drain battery power.

In summary, if you need action video, hands- and hassle-free recording – and aren’t too fastidious about video quality, get the Samsung SC-X210L. It will do the job for you.

The camcorder retails for Can$699.99 at

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