Of course, even the best technical specifications can be undone by a terrible user experience. So how does the Panasonic HDC-TM10 actually handle? What immediately strikes you is its compact size. It fits snugly into the palm of your hand, held firmly in place with a small, adjustable strap.

It's not cluttered with buttons either. There's an easy-access record button on the back next to the battery release switch. Below this, a simple slider enables you to flick easily between Record and Playback modes.

buttons

SIMPLE: Panasonic included as few buttons as possible to make it easy to use

Flip open the 2.7-inch LCD and you can start recording video and taking digital photos within a few minutes.

The LCD rotates 180 degrees and is touch-sensitive, making it easy to access the main menu and camcorder settings. In contrast, the buttons below the display are slightly unresponsive and require a firm push to activate.

At first, the Panasonic HDC-TM10 can feel slightly fragile. But despite its lightweight construction (we've held heavier mugs of tea...), it's surprisingly rugged. Admittedly, it's not the sort of camcorder you'd want to drop. But if you did, there's a good chance it would survive the fall.

screen

TOUCHSCREEN: it's easy to operate and the interface is clear and simple

The small battery slots neatly into the main body of the Panasonic HDC-TM10, above component, HDMI, A/V and mini USB connections. This 725mAh cell can be juiced-up in about an hour and a half and you'll get roughly the same amount of continuous recording time from a full charge.

Bigger batteries are available if you need to shoot for longer. While Panasonic also supplies a DC cable in the box, which enables you to plug the HDC-TM10 into the mains via the battery charger. Very handy.