Review: Toshiba Camileo X-Sports HD camcorder
By Stu Robarts
May 29, 2014
The Camileo X-Sports is Toshiba's answer to a GoPro camcorder. At £180 (US$300), it lines up against GoPro's entry level Hero3, which itself retails for £199 ($330). Gizmag took a look at the Camileo X-Sports' specifications and how it performs.
Although this isn't a comparison article, it's useful to look at the device's figures alongside those of the GoPro to start with, in order to provide a bit of a context. GoPro, after all, is somewhat of the benchmark in this area.
The Camileo will match the Full HD resolution of the Hero3 at 1080p, but will give a better frame-rate of 60 fps compared to the GoPro's 30 fps. Indeed, the Camileo can actually be stretched to 1600 x 1200p at 60 fps and offers a maximum of 12 MP for still photos compared to the Hero3's 5 MP.
At 94 g (3.3 oz), the Camileo is a little heavier than the GoPro, which comes in at 74 g (2.6 oz), but it's more compact, measuring 5 x 7 x 3 cm (1.9 x 2.9 x 1.2 in) against the GoPro's 10 x 25 x 10 cm (3.9 x 9.6 x 3.9 in).
Toshiba is pushing a number of main features with the Camileo. It comes with an extensive mounting kit so that it can be attached to a number of different things, such as bike handlebars or compatible helmets. A waterproof case allows it to be used at depths of up to 60 m (197 ft), or just to provide a little extra protection to the device. A remote control and mobile app also extend the functionality of the camera.
Unfortunately, there were a few pieces missing from the mounting kit of our review unit, but there was a wide enough variety that we were able to improvise. The range of parts actually mean that you can attach the Camileo to pretty much anything you choose and in a number of different ways. The kit includes all sorts of clips, brackets and adhesives that mean you should have everything you need.
One thing to note is that the mounting kit attaches to the case, not the camera itself, so it's likely that much of the use you'll get out of the camera is while its enclosed in the case. For anyone who's used a digital camera before, the Camileo is easy to operate and the buttons and menus are pretty self-explanatory. Once you've added the case though, the buttons become less responsive, as you'd expect. The screen is also less visible once it's enclosed, especially in bright sunlight, although casting a shadow over it with a hand resolved the problem for us.
As you'll see in our test footage (below), the video quality kicked out by the Camileo is excellent. It's so sharp and clear (when static) as to pick out individual blades of grass. The real trick is being able to mount the camera in such a way as to minimize shudder when doing activities such as mountain biking. We found that we were able to improve the quality by adjusting the way in which we mounted the device and that's probably something for which users will have to go through a bit of trial and error.
We found the remote to be a particularly useful part of the kit. It's nothing sophisticated – just a couple of large, plastic buttons that can be strapped to the user's arm – but it meant the camera could be easily operated when it was out of reach or out of sight without accidentally moving it's direction of focus or blindly pressing the wrong button.
By far and away our favorite feature was the mobile app available for iOS and Android, to which the camera connects directly and relays a thumbnail video image. The user can then control the camera remotely via their smartphone. This functionality is especially useful when you want to position the camera for a shot out of reach or for when you're filming alone. We didn't stretch the range too much, but we did get a comfortable 10 m (33 ft) without any issues. Naturally, there was a slight lag, but nothing that affected our use of the device.
One other handy piece of functionality was the "beep" that alerts the user when filming has started or stopped. This is particularly helpful when the camera is mounted on handlebars or on a helmet and it's difficult to see if an action has been registered. Unfortunately, the alert was far less audible once the camera was inside its case and it became difficult to tell if filming had been started or stopped as required.
The only other real qualm we had with the Camileo was its battery life. Our device lasted for about 1 hr 15 min on constant use, which seems very low. Granted we didn't switch the device fully off – we were just toggling the record function on and off – but this felt like the most natural way to use it. If we could have had 2-3 hours out of the Camileo we'd have been satisfied. As it is, this is an area that could perhaps be improved.
When all's said and done, we were mightily impressed with the Camileo. It comes with a fully loaded kit and its specs compare favorably against the comparative (entry level) GoPro device. Not only that, it's also cheaper. This may be Toshiba's only offering in this market at the moment, but it's a great first attempt – and one we'd be hard pressed to overlook at this level.
The video below shows some of our test footage shot with the Camileo X-Sports.
Product page: Toshiba Camileo X-Sports
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