Samsung threw a new waterproof camcorder into the ring today with the announcement of the ultracompact HMX-W200. The camcorder features Full HD video recording, a 2.3-inch LCD, a built-in USB arm, and claims to be waterproof up to 3 meters (10 feet). The camcorder can also take 5.5-megapixel still images.
Like the Kodak Playsport, which appears to be the W200's main competition, Samsung's new camcorder features a rugged design that is not only waterproof but can also handle a drop of up to 2 meters (6.5 feet). The camcorder's fixed f/2.2 lens joins forces with a new 5-megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor in order to create, what Samsung calls, "brilliant video in the toughest conditions."
Adding to the fun are two digital features that allow you to alter the way you record video. Vignetting mode will feather the edges of your shots, while a Fish-Eye setting gives you a distorted, wide-angle view. More important features include a digital image stabilization system and an HDMI port on the side of the camcorder. The camcorder weighs a trim 130g (including the battery).
Strangely, the HMX-W200 only works with Micro SD/SDHC memory cards rather than the traditional (and larger) SD memory cards. Requiring the use of Micro SD cards drastically reduces the W200's versatility, as Micro SD cards are much harder to find in stores and are often more expensive than regular SD or SDHC memory cards.
The HMX-W200 is the first ultracompact model to be announced in the wake of Cisco's announcement that it was shutting down the production of its popular Flip camcorder line. Flip essentially started the ultracompact camcorder movement a few years ago, and their exodus from the market opens up the doors for other manufacturers to take a slice of the pie.
The HMX-W200 is set to hit stores this May with an MSRP of $159. No word yet if multiple color options will be available, but Samsung's bright-red press photos indicate that alternate paint jobs may be a possibility.