Samsung HMX-U20

HD digital pocket camcorder (Red)

  • Samsung HMX-U20


  • Samsung HMX-U20


  • Samsung HMX-U20


  • Samsung HMX-U20

    Back - LCD Off

  • Samsung HMX-U20

    Input Panel

  • Samsung HMX-U20


  • Samsung HMX-U20


Item #: 305U20R

Review Summary

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Our take on the Samsung HMX-U20

by Meredith Krebs

Shoot videos for posterity — or posting online

From birthday parties to YouTube™ antics, camcorders let you capture moments you can share with friends and family, or the world at large. Most newer camcorders save your videos to built-in digital memory or a removable memory card. Some models come with a built-in hard disk drive that gives you much more storage. For maximum portability, check out our smaller cams that fit into a pocket or purse. For high-def videos that look awesome on your HDTV, go for a slightly larger model with a better lens and image sensor.


The HMX-U20 combines the features of an HD camcorder with a point-and-shoot camera — all in a great ergonomic design you can fit in your pocket and take with you anywhere. Take 10-megapixel photos or record clear "full HD" 1080p video.

It's super easy to download and share your videos and photos. The cam has a built-in USB arm to connect to any PC, and one-touch uploading to YouTube™. A cool time-lapse recording option lets you speed up slow-moving action like the blooming of a flower or the changing angle of the sun.

The camcorder has no built-in memory, so you'll need to add SD/SDHC memory cards.

See more info on this item
    Storage and Formats:
    • records to SD or SDHC cards (not included)
      • optional 16GB SDHC card holds approximately 2 to 4-1/2 hours of video footage
    • maximum video resolution: 1920 x 1080
    • snaps 10-megapixel photos
    • 3X optical zoom for photos; 3.6X Intelli-zoom (digital) for video
    • 2" LCD
    • one-touch sharing button for easily transferring video to your PC and the web
    • time lapse recording feature captures frames at regular intervals and puts them together in sequence so you can see a whole sunset in just minutes
    • ergonomic design
    Technical Specs:
    • mini HDMI output (cable not included)
    • flip-out USB arm for easy connection to a PC
    • 2-3/16"W x 4-1/8"H x 1-1/16"D
    • weight: 3.64 oz. without battery
    • warranty: 1 year parts, 90 days labor
    • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

    Hands-on research from the Crutchfield Labs (what are the Labs?)

    Features and Specs
    LCD Screen Size (inches)
    Total Pixel Count
    Effective Pixel Count for Video
    Aspect Ratio
    Manual Focusing
    Filter Diameter
    Optical Zoom
    3 x
    Digital Zoom
    3.6 x
    Night Imaging
    Image Stabilization
    Built-in Video Light
    Built-in Memory
    Max Recording Time w/ Included Battery
    120 min
    Digital Still Camera Features
    Effective Pixel Count for Stills
    Built-in Photo Flash
    Still Image Aspect Ratios
    4:3, 16:9
    Inputs and Outputs
    USB Port
    USB 2.0 High Speed
    HDMI Output
    Mic Input
    Weight With Battery (ounces)
    Width (inches)
    Height (inches)
    Depth (inches)
    Parts Warranty
    1 Year
    Labor Warranty
    90 Days
    Image Sensor Warranty
    1 Year
    Product Research
    What's in the box?

    Download owner's manual

    • Compact digital camcorder (red)
    • IA-BH130LB Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery (3.7V/4.8Wh)
    • Wrist strap
    • AC adapter with attached 58" DC output cord (DC output: 5V/1.5A)
    • 39" A/V cable (with proprietary plug on one end and 3 RCA plugs--composite video and stereo audio--on the other end)
    • User Manual on CD-ROM
    • Quick Start Guide
    • Online Product Registration sheet
    • Customer Support sheet

    Our Product Research Team

    At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team — they open the box, verify contents, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

    General Features
    Video Camcorder Features
    Digital Still Camera Features
    Battery Information
    Built-In Editing Software

    General Features

    Full HD Compatible: The Samsung HMX-U20 high-definition (HD) flash-memory camcorder is capable of recording and playback of HD and SD video. Both HD and SD video are recorded in a 16:9 aspect ratio. The available movie recording modes include:

    • 1080/30p: 1920 x 1080, 30p
    • 720/60p: 1280 x 720, 60p
    • 720/30p: 1280 x 720, 30p
    • 480/60p: 720 x 480, 60p

    CMOS Image Sensor: The 1/2.3" CMOS image sensor features 14-million total pixels, provides double the light sensitivity of normal CMOS sensors, and reduces light loss. CMOS sensors require less power than traditional CCD image sensors, providing better battery performance.

    H.264 (MPEG-4/AVC) Encoding: The Samsung HMX-U20 uses advanced H.264 video compression technology. It uses a high compression rate to sharply increase the recordable time with the same size storage. The camcorder also records JPEG still images.

    Recording Media: You can record high-definition and standard-definition video, as well as JPEG still images onto optional SD or SDHC memory cards. The camcorder supports SD cards 1 GB to 2 GB and SDHC cards from 4 GB to 32 GB.

    Note: The camcorder does not include an internal memory, nor does it come with an SD or SDHC card. An optional SD/SDHC card must be obtained prior to recording.

    Built-in USB: The camcorder features a convenient, built-in USB Type A plug. Whenever you want to upload your videos and pictures or charge the unit, just unfold the USB plug from the side of the camcorder and plug it in to your computer's USB jack.

    Lens: The U20's F3.5-F6.8 lens has a 3x optical zoom, and a focal length of 5.1mm-15.3mm (no 35mm equivalent given).

    Optical Zoom / Intelli-Zoom: The camera's 3x optical zoom is for still images only. When shooting video, the camcorder uses a 3.6x Intelli-zoom instead of the optical zoom.

    Zoom Mute: To avoid recording the sound of the zoom during video recording, the Zoom Mute function will turn off the sound recording temporarily while zooming. The Zoom Mute function can be turned on or off in the menu.

    Recording Modes: The U20 has separate shutter buttons for recording video and still images. Some addition modes available during recording include:

    • SmartAuto: The SmartAuto mode is designed for beginners. With the SmartAuto function, most of the camcorder settings are automatically adjusted, based on the type of scene it detects (night, backlight, landscape, macro, portrait, or action).
    • Dual Recording: The camcorder can capture photos and video at the same time without switching modes. The size of the captured photos depend upon the video resolution setting:
      Video Resolution Photo Resolution
      1080/30p 1920 x 1080
      720/60p or 720/30p 1280 x 720
      480/60p 896 x 504

    Video Camcorder Features

    Recordable Time for Movie Images: The Samsung HMX-U20 provides the following movie recording times when using a 4 GB, 16 GB, or 32 GB SDHC card:

    Movie Resolution Storage Media (Capacity)
    1080/30p 27 min 113 min 225 min
    720/60p 38 min 157 min 313 min
    720/30p 54 min 223 min 445 min
    480/60p 70 min 288 min 575 min

    Time Lapse: During this feature, you can program the camcorder to create a time lapse video by recording a series of frames over a set period of time with a set time interval between each frame. Time Lapse recording can only be done in the 080/30p resolution. You can adjust the interval between each frame to 1, 5, 10, or 30 seconds, and the duration time can be set to 24 or unlimited.

    Movie Playback: The HMX-U20 allows you to playback your recorded videos on the camcorder's LCD monitor. The camcorder offers playback functions such as Play/Pause/Stop, Fast-Forward/Reverse (2x, 4x, 8x, 16x, 32x), Previous/Next, Frame-by-Frame, and Slow-Playback (1/2x, 1/4x, 1/8x).

    Movie Edit: You can divide a recorded movie into to and easily delete a section you no longer need. Since the edit changes the original movie file, you should create a backup of the original movie if you want to save it.

    Digital Still Camera Features

    Photo Recording: The Samsung HMX-U20 allows you to record JPEG still images onto an inserted SD/SDHC memory card. The images sizes, and the number of images you can store on a 4 GB, 16 GB, or 32 GB SDHC card are as follows:

    Photo Resolution Storage media (Capacity)
    10M (4:3)
    3648 x 2736
    787 3176 6350
    8M (4:3)
    3264 x 2448
    987 3983 7695
    6M (16:9)
    3328 x 1872
    1255 5061 9999
    5M (4:3)
    2592 x 1944
    1565 6310 9999
    3M (4:3)
    2048 x 1536
    2459 9916 9999
    2M (16:9)
    1920 x 1080
    3765 9999 9999

    Note: When the 3648 x 2736 (10M) image size is selected, the camcorder records an 8 mega-pixel image and upscales the photo to 10 mega-pixels.

    Slide Show: Recorded still images can be played back as a slide-show with an interval of 3 seconds between images.

    Playback Zoom: You can magnify the playback photo image from its original size. You can zoom in 2.0x to 5.0x. Once the image is zoomed in, you can pan up/down and left/right of the image.

    Battery Information

    Rechargeable Battery: The Samsung HMX-U20 is powered by a rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery (IA-BH130LB). The battery can provide up to 110 minutes of continuous high-definition recording and 120 minutes of standard-definition recording. It offers 240 minutes of high-definition playback and 280 minutes of standard-definition playback.

    AC Adapter/Charger: The Samsung HMX-U20 comes supplied with an AC adapter/charger which allows you to operate the camcorder on standard household current and also fully charges the included battery in 3 hours.

    USB Charging: In addition to the AC adapter, the camcorder can be charged while plugged into your computer via the built-in USB plug. USB charging takes approximately 6 hours to complete.

    Auto Power Off: For power saving purposes, the camcorder will automatically turn off it there is no operation for 5 minutes.


    USB: The Samsung HMX-U20 features a built-in Type-A USB plug for connecting the camcorder to your computer. You can also charge the battery when the camcorder is connected via USB.

    AV Output: You can view the recorded movie and photo images on your television by connecting the camcorder to your television using the supplied A/V cable. The camcorder is based on the NTSC system, and is not switchable to PAL.

    mini-HDMI: The Samsung HMX-U20 is equipped with a mini-HDMI (Type C) output for connecting the camcorder to your HDTV via HDMI. The camcorder supports Anynet+, an AV network system that lets you control all connected Samsung AV devices with a Samsung TV remote control.

    Built-In Editing Software

    Intelli-Studio Built-in Software: Editing software is stored inside the camcorder. Connecting the camcorder to a Windows computer using the built-in USB plug runs the editing software application. The application enables playback, editing, and sharing of the camcorder's recordings on your Windows PC. The built-in software is not compatible with a Macintosh computer.

    System Requirement: The internal Intelli-Studio software is compatible with Windows only. Your Windows PC will need to meet the following system requirements to use this software:

    System Requirements Windows Only
    OS Microsoft Windows XP SP2, Vista, or Windows 7

    Intel Core 2 Duo 1.66 GHz or higher recommended
    AMD Athlon X2 Dual-Core 2.2 GHz or higher recommended
    (Notebook: Intel Core2 Duo 2.2 GHz or AMD Athlon X2 Dual-Core 2.6 GHz or higher recommended)

    RAM 1GB and above recommended
    Video Card nVIDIA Geforce 7600GT or higher
    Ati X1600 series or higher
    Display 1024 x 768, 16-bit color or higher
    (1280 x 1024, 32-bit color recommended)
    USB USB 2.0
    DirectX DirectX 9.0c or higher
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    Samsung HMX-U20 Reviews

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    5 out of 5

    SAMSUNG U20 Great Deal

    Written By Birmingham, Asheville, NC on Saturday, June 26, 2010
    I've been waiting for 1080p camcorders to come down in price (under $200) and a pocket digital camera I liked for travel. The U20 is both. Crutchfield was the first to have the silver one, so I took a chance and ordered it. I had downloaded the 80+ page PDF to see how it worked and features not explained in web sites. I've had it for two weeks now and it works great! I only use it on the 1080i mode and 6Mp camera settings. Now let me say this (reflecting on some of the early reviews I saw), if you expect this unit to work like and have the image quality of a $1,000 camcorder, get real! I've played the 1080i video back on on my 60" Sony XBR-SXRD TV and am amazed at the picture and sound quality! The 3x optical zoom is nice and doesn't change the image quality like a digital zoom. I had to download the Intelli-Studio software onto my computer to view the videos (WMP & QuickTime didn't work). It has lots of features to create movies from video clips, pictures and graphics, but the final movie is in 720p and takes a long time to compose the final movie (considering it was free with the unit-WOW). Accessories to get - at least 8Gb Class 6 SDHC memory cards, USB extension cable, Mini HDMI to HDMI cable and a mini tripod (one of the 6" flexable leg ones to use as a handle). Be careful with the access doors, they are delicate and feel like they might break. Any problems I have had have been solved by reading the PDF manual.
    47 out of 49 people found this helpful
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    For a more in-depth review and enhanced detailed information on the Samsung HMX-U20, please visit the Crutchfield website product page (/ISEO-rccbcspd/p_305U20R/Samsung-HMX-U20-Red.html ).