Poor image quality, but it’s a cheap
and fun alternative to using your phone to shoot video on a night out.
The Camileo S40 is a small pistol-grip
camcorder with a 1/3.2in CMOS sensor, 5x digital zoom (10x
if you use resolutions lower than 1,920x1,080) and a color touchscreen. It’s
more of a ‘fun’ camcorder than an enthusiast’s tool, so it lacks some high-end
features we’re used to seeing on camcorders, such as Wi-Fi. It also uses micro
SD cards to record video and store photos rather than a regular SD card, and it
lacks an optical zoom. Even so, we can forgive such omissions or
irregularities, given its price.
It does, however, have a 3in touchscreen
display, which is a good size for such a cheap camcorder, and the Camileo S40
is very slim when the display is folded away, making it easy to carry in your
pocket or a bag.
Sadly, the touchscreen isn’t up to the same
standard as more expensive camcorders. It has poor viewing angles, so you’ll
have some difﬁculty seeing what’s onscreen unless you look at the display
straight on. Also, the large low-resolution icons are a constant reminder that
this is a cheap camcorder. Of course, it is a cheap camcorder, but we still
found this disappointing. We were also disappointed by the amount of ﬂicker
shown by the monitor as we panned, as it made viewing uncomfortable.
“The Camileo S40 has a 3in touchscreen
display, which is a good size for such a cheap camcorder, and is very slim when
the display is folded away”
We were a little happier with the menu
system. It may be low resolution but it’s colorful, and the large, bright icons
make it easy to ﬁnd the option you need to adjust. This could be because there
aren’t that many options, but you can choose from a variety of white balance
presets, enable face tracking and slow motion and select the video resolution.
The touchscreen isn’t particularly responsive, but you can navigate the Camileo
540’s menus fairly accurately if you’re patient and careful.
Camileo S40 has a 3in touchscreen display
Physically, the Camileo S40 has few
buttons, with just a power button on its side, a Record trigger button and a
zoom slider. You have to use its touchscreen to perform other functions. You
can access the micro SD card slot by opening a cover on its top panel.
Installing a micro SD card in a device is typically an easy process, but the
Camileo S40 makes it a little frustrating as the cover gets in the way. Another
cover conceals the Mini HDMI and the Micro USB output. Also included in the box
is a neat mini tripod with bendy, adjustable legs. The tripod is especially
handy if you’re using the Camileo S40 as a webcam.
At just 141g, the Camileo S40 is very
light, so you should be able to hold it for protracted periods of time without
your arms becoming tired. However, unlike some other pistol-grip camcorders,
such as Panasonic’s HX-WA30, the 540’s grip is smooth. As a consequence, our
index ﬁnger kept sliding into the shot, ruining our footage. This may be less
of a concern if you're using the Camileo S40 on a night out in place of an
expensive smartphone, but it's not too good if you’re recording an important
The Camileo S40 can record video in a
variety of resolutions, from a low-resolution 640x480 to a high-deﬁnition
1,920x1,080. It records video in the heavily compressed MP4 format at an
approximate bit rate of 12,650Kbit/s. This means your footage doesn’t consume
as much storage space, but it also means that they will suffer from compression
artefacting. Although the bit rate varies, it’s still a little lower than we'd
like it to be.
In our test footage, we saw a tremendous
amount of mosquito noise on our indoor and outdoor footage. Objects had jagged
edges and looked blocky, even when we weren’t using the digital zoom. Speaking
of which, the digital zoom is pretty much useless because it quickly renders
footage unwatchable thanks to heavy pixelated and mosquito and Chroma noise. To
make matters worse, there was a lot of ﬂicker during pans, even slow pans.
Keep on going
On a happier note, the Camileo S40’s
battery lasted one hour and 41 minutes in our battery test, which is a pretty
long time for a camcorder such as this, and it means it should last most of a
night out, assuming you’re not trying to document the entire evening.
It’s easy to say the Camileo S40 is
irrelevant given the ubiquity of the smartphone, and that is partly true.
However, it’s also a lot cheaper than a good smartphone and losing it wouldn’t
be as bad as losing your smartphone, as the latter also has your personal data
on it. The S40’s image quality is poor compared with more expensive camcorders
such as Canon’s Legria HF R48 or Panasonic’s HX-WA30, but it’s not bad for a
camcorder that costs less than $153. It’s also not bad for simply recording
video for the web. If you want a cheap and relatively disposable camcorder for
fun nights out or for a young family member, the Camileo S40 could be for you.
Sensor: 1/3.2in CMOS
Display: 3in LCD
Pc connections: Mini HDMI out, Micro USB
Av interfaces: None
Dimensions: 113x56x18mm, 141g
Warranty: One-year RTB
Part code: PA5074E-COV