Samsung HMX-H304

4/19/2012 3:15:54 PM

Ease of use and impressive zoom but poor low-light performance

Description: Samsung HMX-H304

The new Samsung HMX-H304 is a handy, little camcorder for recording Full-HD video. It improves upon its predecessor the HMX-H200 in many ways, but also falls short in others.

Before we continue, you should know that the Samsung HMX-H300 and the H304 are identical camcorders, except where the H300 needs to record to a memory card, the H304 comes with 16GB worth of built-in memory in addition to the memory card slot.

Description: You have to manually open and close the H304’s lens cover

You have to manually open and close the H304’s lens cover


The first thing you’ll notice about the H304 is its manual lens cover. You’ll need to manually open and close the lens, which becomes a hassle when you forget to do the former before shooting and becomes a risk when you forget to do the latter before chucking the H304 into a bag with your keys. Manual lens covers aren’t uncommon on budget camcorders, but it would be nice to have an auto one anyway.

The H304 is comfortable to hold, sitting nice and light in your hands. Handling is mostly a breeze if you prefer to set the H304 to automatic. There are limited manual options but they’re not as easy to get to. For example, shutter and aperture priority modes exist, but to change either setting is at least a five-tap process.

Settings are accessed via the touch Menu on the large 3” screen (which has been enlarged from the H200’s 2.7” screen), and is as responsive as capacitive screens go. 230,000 pixels don’t always form a clear enough picture for you to check of you have an accurate focus lock though. The H304 comes with a welcomed 30x optical zoom, but a further zoom means more chance of camera shake. Here’s where the optical image stabilization of the H304 kicks in, and it works quite well at correcting camera shake and making your footage steadier.

Video footage in good light is acceptable, it not exceptional, lacking a certain sharpness and vibrancy. Some corner softness can be seen in some shots. The real test of a camera is in low light, and the H304 falters at it. Video in low light is riddled with image noise, as are photos taken in low light. Sound recording is a little tinny and none too bright.

Motion is recorded clearly, but there are limited frame-rates available, 1080/50i for PAL shooters is the only Full HD option, while you can shoot 50p at a lower resolution of 1280x720. One saving grace is that the video is recorder in .MOV files, which are easier to copy and view than videos shot in the popular AVCHD format which records to a complicated folder directory.

The other is the H304’s long battery life – internal storage gave out first after recording 135 minutes of footage with the battery still at three over four bars. You can only record up to 15 minutes per clip at full resolution though, so no long movies (the H304 will automatically continue recording to a next clip).

While the Samsung HMX-H304 wins points for its affordability, ease of use, excellent image stabilization and impressively long zoom, it loses points for its soft images and poor performance in low-light – the most important points needed for a camcorder.

At a glance

Optical zoom: 30%

Image sensor: 1/4” BSI CMOS sensor, 1.76MP effective pixels

Dimensions: 49.5x56.6x119.7mm

Weight: 280g

Price: $1,099



Lens: Manual cover, f/1.8 (W)-2.8 (T)

Image sensor: 1/4" BSI CMOS sensor, 1.76MP effective pixels

Audio recording: AAC audio format, 2 audio recording channels

Video recording: H.264 recording format

Video resolutions: 1080/50i, 720/50p, 720 x 576/50p

Shutter speeds: 1/50-1/10,000 sec.

Image stabilizer: OIS Duo

Stills recording: JPEG, 4.9MP/2MP resolution

Interface: USB2.0, Component, Video HDMI, SD/SDHC memory card slot

Memory: 16GB built-in, SD/SDHC memory card compatible

Display: 3” 230k pixels screen







Verdict: 7.0

Physique: 8.0

Features: 7.0

User-friendliness: 8.0

Performance: 7.0

Value: 7.0

  •  Canon IXUS 1100 HS - A sturdy shooter
  •  Panasonic KX-MB1530CX Multi-Function Printer : A small workhorse for document printing
  •  Ultimate Ears 600vi : Unbiased sound for neutral ears
  •  Philips Fidelio AS851 Docking Speaker for Android
  •  Cooler Master CM Storm Sirus 5.1
  •  The Hacker
  •  Protoxide Death Race
  •  Gorilla Gondola
  •  The new Apple TV Box
  •  Philips Fidelio Primo DS9/10
  •  Monster Wars
  •  Apple wants broadcast TV channels as apps
  •  All in One - The iDevice To Rule Them All
  •  The best social game apps for iOS Device (Part 2) - SteamScope, Blockwick, Pinball Arcade
  •  The best social game apps for iOS Device (Part 1) - Draw Something, Mailboxing
  •  The best music apps for your iOS Device (Part 3) - ITUNES U, VOXER
  •  The best music apps for your iOS Device (Part 2) - Guitar Toolkit, iSHRED, Ringtone Designer Pro, Discovr Music
  •  The best music apps for your iOS Device (Part 1)
  •  Reckless Racing 2
  •  Mass Effect Infiltrator
    Top 10
    Smart, But Not Pricey : LG Optimus L7, Nokia Lumia 610, Sony Xperia U, Micromax A90S, BlackBerry Curve 9320, Nokia Lumia 710
    Acer Iconia W510 - Multi-Faceted Windows Tablet
    The Big Show: LG Optimus Vu
    Edifier E10 Exclaim - Exclamation Mark
    If It Bleeps We Can Mix It (Part 2)
    If It Bleeps We Can Mix It (Part 1)
    Jabra SOLEMATE Bluetooth Portable Speaker
    Projecting Movies From Smartphone – Sharp BD-AMS20S
    Sharkoon X-Tatic SP Plus - Talk About Lots Of Cables
    Audio Technica ATH-FC707 - No Headline, Too Busy Enjoy Music
    Most View
    Displacement Maps
    Exchange Server 2010 : Utilize the Availability Options for Servers Based on Role (part 3) - Implement Redundant Transport Servers
    Windows 8 Special (Part 3)
    Thermaltake Level 10 Gt
    IIS 7.0 Manager Customization and Extensibility
    Introducing Code-Access Security in .NET
    All About Nexus 7 (Part 4)
    HTC Flyer – A Bit Overpriced 7-inch Tablet
    Installing or Upgrading to Windows 7 : Upgrading from One Windows 7 Version to Another with Windows Anytime
    Optical Zoom: Better Than Digital?
    The Future Of Apple: Chip Off The Block (Part 3)
    Running Windows 8 (part 1) - Running Windows 8 in Groups and Domains
    Windows Server 2003 : Using the Indexing Service - Creating and Configuring Catalogs
    IIS 7.0 : Techniques for Enabling Application Frameworks (part 2) - Deploying Frameworks That Use FastCGI
    Sharepoint 2007: Add a Column to a List or Document Library
    Windows Vista : Sending and Receiving Faxes (part 1)
    SQL Server 2008 : Using Advanced Functionality with DML - Introduction
    Asus VivoTab RT 3G Tablet Review (Part 1)
    SQL Azure : Tuning Techniques (part 3) - Indexing