After a long absence from the U.S. consumer imaging market, Toshiba has bravely girded itself to reenter the battle in one of the more crowded, confusing categories: budget HD camcorders. Starting small, with three models that have been shipping overseas for about nine months, the company plans to carve a niche for itself by piggybacking on its laptop and consumer electronics distribution channels and via bundling and promotion opportunities.
The three initial products--the company plans to introduce more later this year--are the Camileo S20, a $180 pistol-grip YouTube model (like Sony's Bloggie MHS-CM5); the Camileo H30, a $250 5X zoom traditionally styled model (like the DXG-A80V HD); and the $400 Camileo X100, a 10X zoom model that supports up to 60fps 1080pi (competing against models like the Samsung HMX-R10).
What are their prospects? Well, the S20 faces stiff competition, especially since most of its direct competitors--which I consider pistol-grip models, not candybar designs like the Flips--offer a 5X zoom lens compared with the S20's fixed focal length. (Plus, they usually come in multiple colors, but Toshiba is sticking to basic black in the states, at least for a little white.)
The X100 will have to match slightly pricier but usually poor-performing entrants from weightier brands like Canon and Sony, so who knows? The middle H30, on the other hand, will live in a price segment awash with lesser standard-definition options and the occasional Sanyo or DXG model and thus might prove attractive.… Read more