With increasing numbers of people turning to their smartphones to record video, manufacturers of mini camcorders have had to lure consumers with unique features. Samsung's W200 is dustproof and shockproof, and can shoot in 1080p at a depth of up to 3m underwater, with a special mode that reduces the blue tint you normally get from such footage.
We expected to find fiddly, rubberised controls, but the only signs of waterproofing are the heavy-duty covers for the two compartments that contain the USB and HDMI ports and the microSDHC slot, which lock into place when closed. The buttons are chunky and fairly intuitive: there's a central button with a four-way navigation wheel surrounding it, which also acts as the zoom control, and five other buttons which perform various context-sensitive functions.
The W200 turns on in two seconds, so you can start shooting almost immediately. A single button switches between video and still modes, while another button switches to playback mode, where you're presented with a grid of thumbnails that you can either play, delete or tag for sharing. As well as a choice of filters, such as fisheye and black and white, the W200 has anti-shake, face detection and backlit modes, and you can even take photos while recording video.
We were impressed by the W200's picture quality, considering its price. You get a choice of 1080/25p or 720/25p modes, and the resulting video didn't show much compression. There was a small amount of noise in outdoor footage and some detail was lost to noise reduction, but otherwise the W200 performed well. It was quick to react to changes in lighting - for example, switching focus from a dark building to the sky above it - although at startup it was slow to focus sometimes. The auto-scene selection was accurate, sensing changes from indoor to outdoor and from light and dark. The camcorder has digital image stabilisation built in, which kept things smooth even during panning shots, and colours were natural.