CES 2008: hands on with Toshiba's impressive new A100F hard disk HD camcorder

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Most CES press conferences take place in grubby looking rooms round the back of the Venetian hotel. So this year Tosh decided to up the ante a little and make its big camcorder announcement to a gaggle of journos and bloggers right in the middle of the Grand Canyon. Yep you read it right.

The announcement lived up to the rather spectacular setting too with Tosh unveiling a high definition HD camcorder that’s going to have JVC and Sony looking over their shoulders. Tosh claims its new flagship model, the Gigashot A100F, is the smallest and lightest hard disk high def camcorder on sale, though I suspect Sony might have something say about that later today.

I got to play with the camcorder for a good half hour and was very impressed. Its headline facility is that the top-end A100F has a 100 Gigabyte hard drive – much more than most of its rivals – which can store twelve hours of what Tosh bills as Full HD (MPEG-4/H.264 at 1081i) footage.

The camcorder also has a superb three inch widescreen colour display (the colours are bright and vibrant) and a Fujinon 10x optical lens. Tosh has also done some clever things with the operating system. Firstly it boots up incredibly quickly, though not less than one second as Tosh claims. Secondly it is very simple to use probably because it only has a few buttons. There’s also an electronic image stabilisation system and support for SD and SDHC cards the latter of which will soon be available with 32 Gigabytes of storage.

I haven’t had chance to plug the camcorder into a High Def TV to asses its performance, but so far the A40F has greatly impressed me.

It goes on sale at the end the month for around £900. There’s also a 40 Gigabyte version, the A40F which should sell for around £750.

Tosh is also debuting a pair of lesser specified models, the K40H and K80H which shoot video in 1280×720 HD. They have 40 and 80 Gigabyte hard disks respectively and will retails for around £450 and £550.

CES 2008 Special
Read all our coverage from the show in our CES 2008 category

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Ashley Norris