Panasonic HM-TA20 review

The Flip pocket camcorder may be dead, but its legacy lives on in rival products

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ta20 review

The Panasonic HM-TA20 reminds us why stand-alone devices still have a place, despite the ubiquity of smartphones as do-it-all wonders. By offering waterproofing, shockproofing and 1080p video for a quarter of the price of buying a high-end phone, this stands out as an obvious candidate to be a holiday video recorder.

We liked:

The design of the TA20 is great, and we liked the metallic orange of our review unit. it's comfortable to hold, and though isn't super thin or light compared some modern electronics, it can still be carried around all day without weighing you down.

The ruggedness of the TA20 is a really strong feature, too. It feels totally safe and reliable in the water, and survived several drops without any complaint. For people who don't take such good care of their gadgets, this is the perfect camcorder.

The video quality is also quite strong, which is always a major plus for a camcorder. Panasonic's iA and face tracking make a great addition to a simple video device.

We disliked:

We understand why the screen has to be resistive, but then lumpings such like the zooming into it makes it awkward to work with. Of course, only having digital zoom is also a shame, and the fact that's jerks while zooming compounds the misery. What we're getting at is: stay away from the zoom.

There are some issues with the picture quality, including some artefacting and the odd wobble it can pick up while trying to stabilise shots, which we can't gloss over. They're not crippling problems, but they are there. It's also a shame that the 1080p footage didn't have more detail in wider shots.


As a knockabout, point-and-shoot video camera, we thoroughly recommend the HM-TA20. It's ideal for a family holiday where it might get dropped by the kids, or for a surfing trip where it'll get dumped in the water and thrown in with sandy clothes.

It's not the last word in picture quality, but this kind of device isn't supposed to be. It does its job, which is to take decent footage in any condition.

Tech Specs

Product TypeDigital Camcorder
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Number of Image Sensors1
Effective Image Resolution5.1 Megapixel
Effective Video Resolution2.9 Megapixel
Recording MediaMemory Card
Image StabilizationElectronic
Digital Zoom4x
Brand NamePanasonic
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsAVCHD
Recording FormatsFull HD
Built-in DevicesSpeaker, Microphone, Video Light
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityREACH, WEEE
Display Screen TypeLCD
Image Sensor TypeLive MOS
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card, Secure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC)
Height112 mm
Width64.3 mm
Depth17.7 mm
Product ModelHM-TA20
Product NameHM-TA20 High Definition Digital Camcorder
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberHM-TA20EB-D
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

The HM-TA20 is equipped with Night View Mode, which lets you shoot with twice the brightness of the previous model. When shooting, this function automatically detects dark scenes and the mode selector button lights up on the LCD screen. Simply press the button to start shooting with Night View Mode. And you can shoot clear images with minimal noise even in dark scenes, such as dimly lit indoor shots or party scenes.

Package Contents
  • HM-TA20 High Definition Digital Camcorder
  • Rechargeable Battery Pack
  • USB Cable
  • Software Media HD Writer PE2.0
  • Stylus Pen
  • Tripod Stand
Limited Warranty1 Year
Weight (Approximate)153 g