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Monday, May 31, 2010

Review: HP v5560 - A budget Full HD camcorder

Hewlett Packard v5560 Digital Camcorder

I was in the market for a new mini camcorder, and as it so happens while i was strolling along Robinson's Pioneer, i saw the new HP v5660 camcorder.

I didn't even know that Hewlett Packard made digital cameras, so I was curious to have a look. It's a Full High Definition digital camcorder, with 5MP-12MP still shots, and only for PhP11,000 (US$200+). I thought it's a good deal, so i got it and decided to see what this li'l budget-priced camera can do

The Camera
Here are the Specs:

  • LCD display: 3” Touch Screen LCD panel
  • Video resolution: Full HD (1920 x 1080p / 30 fps)
  • HD (1280 x 720 / 30 fps)
  • WVGA (848 x 480 / 60 fps)
  • QVGA (320 x 240 / 30 fps.)
  • Video format: H.264 (.MOV)
  • Still image resolution: 5MP (up to12MP with interpolation)
  • Still image format: JPEG
  • Zoom: 20X zoom max (5X optical zoom /
  • 4X digital zoom)
  • Internal memory: 32MB
  • Storage media: SD/SDHC cards (mine came with a free 2GB card
What's in the Box: (Video of me unboxing the unit is right below)

  • HP V5560u Digital Camcorder: it's pretty small and light, definitely a mini camcorder.
  • Li-ion rechargeable battery
  • Battery charger (with power cord)
  • HDMI cable
  • USB cable
  • AV cable
  • Carrying case
  • Lens cap (optional)
  • Cleaning cloth
  • Quick start guide, Manual and Warranty
  • Software install and electronic user manual CD-ROM
  • Doesn't come packaged with an SD card, but one was given to me separately

For it's price, you would only be able to get a mid-end Digital camera from Canon or Sony. So I always considered that when making critiques of the HP v5560's flaws, which are quite a few. Ultimately though, it is a serviceable camcorder for normal use, and it will occasionally give you those cool high def looking shots that it's supposed to. If you want to be the next George Lucas....don't expect any help from a $200 camera.
I was also impressed that it comes with an HDMI cable, which is kind of "Duh" considering that it's a Full HD camcorder...but you'll be surprised how many HD devices expect you to buy your own cable. With an HDMI cable you can connect the device directly to your HDTV.

Camera Quality

Find some sample videos here taken from the HP v5560:

And some sample pictures:

- The quality of the video is functional at full HD 1080p. It does not really wow you when playing it back on an HDTV, though it has its moments. Also, when you record at full HD, the lens zooms in, so you will need to get more distance from your subject. On the 3rd video sample (Shang - no stabilization), you can also see that there is little or no compensation for handshake, which becomes obvious when you zoom in the camera.
- The still camera function is decent at 12MP, but if you wanted a digicam, you are better off getting the stand-alone ones from Canon or Sony.
- Like all mini digital camcorders, the downfall of the HP v5560 is shooting in low-light conditions. The result is poor, and often you wouldn't even want to save it. When i was trying out the Sony HD camcorders, the result in low-light was also not that great but more watchable, not so with the HP v5560.....but then again you ain't gettin' a Sony HD camcorder for $200! The competitor of this HP camcorder from Sony would cost you PhP37k (US$ 780).

[Edit 03/14/11]  As requested, Here is a sample of a Low-Light video taken with the camera. It's indoors, nightime, with only fluorescent lighting. At some point when aiming the camera down a dimly lit staircase, it goes completely black! Even if there was still some good ambient light when seen from the human eye. As I mentioned before, the quality is so poor you will hardly ever want to save it, much less publish it:

Camera features
- The touch screen display takes a bit of getting used to, since the screen is obviously a low quality resistive model. I had to press in with my fingernails to get sure responses. We need to consider though  is not that common on digital cameras, especially not the mid-low ranged options. If somebody finds it too much of a hassle to use the touch screen, there is always the old-fashioned buttons located on the camera, which can perform most of the functions the touch screen can. 

Video of me using the HP v5560 touchscreen

The Camera has the standard layout of buttons along with the touchscreen, It has a USB port, an HDMI port, a standard AV connection. The unit itself doesn't have a direct connection to the charger, instead you pull out the battery and connect that to the charger (a growing trend with camcorders nowadays).

- It comes bundled with ArcSoft TotalMedia Extreme software for video editing. It's a functional program, I was able to use it to make some simple YouTube videos, but it's very basic. It only has  simple features like video splicing, text insertion, and transition editing. Workable, but nothing fancy...you're better off editing the media from your camcorder using another 3rd party application (or a Mac).

To buy or not to buy? Do you want a high definition camcorder that won't break your wallet? Then this is for you. 
It doesn't particularly excel in anything, the HD videos are nice but not amazing, the still shots are average at best, but if anyone can find a functional full HD camcorder that is cheaper than the HP v5560, please let us all know! Maybe you can get from China-Brand distributors, but then again Hewlett Packard is not an unknown brand.


  1. Hi! bought the HP V5560u model, could you please tell me how to turn on the led/flash light? I'm having problems with it

  2. great review, but could you post some low light vids? i want to see what you mean when you say poor in low light. is it because it doesn't compensate the light like newer sony models do, or is it something to do with the colors or sharpness?

  3. good review! thanks!

  4. Hi! I have same question: how to turn on the flash light? Thnx.

  5. i just bought mine and yep it not really efficient with low light conditions..

    to turn off the flash, just press the up direction button on the 4way button.

  6. hey. i would like to know if it's capable of getting nice shots with ample lighting. like in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IL_sLyWNj7I. please see 1:58-2:05. thank you very much! :)

  7. What is the quality when shooting in dim light and at night?

  8. Hey Borg, thanks for the review! Does it do live video out while the camera is on?

    GENIUS has full HD camcorders with prices competitive with HP's. The Genius Booth at the exact center of Cyberzone in Megamall has em.

    Though id prefer HP to Genius's plastic camera look, id really like to see a BORG review if the Genius's video quality is worse or better than the HP's (in low light and bright light).


  9. i got this one last month..can anybody help me how to turn the flash & why is that when i tried to play my saved video using laptop it doesnt have sount? thanks!

  10. When I play back a movie I made, there is a crr-crr-crr sound as the auto focus is zooming in and out. Is the camera sopposed to do that?

  11. Flash:go to picture mode , with the large round set of buttons press up arrow for setting the flash

  12. post a low light vid so that we can see what you mean

  13. Added an indoor nighttime video sample just to show what i mean by "poor low light quality".

  14. I got one last Saturday after viewing the sample videos. I found out later that there are whirring and clicking sounds when the recorded video is played back. The sound is even worse when you use the zoom function. Can anyone tell me how to get rid of this sound?

  15. when i played the video in my laptop, there's no sound also.. why? pls help.. thanks.

  16. Sound for video playback: either use ArcSoft (bundled with your HP V5560 package)or Real Player Programs. If you're using Windows Media Player, you'll definitely hear no sound.

    Had the same playback problem before. I simply solved it with ArcSoft / Real Player.

  17. Can anyone tell me what the battery life is when recording?

  18. Hi! Great review man! Cheers! Any idea how to turn off auto focus? (making it manual, basically)

  19. Okay - I managed to get the Flash to work in Still Photo mode, but does it not function as a light in Movie Mode? This is driving me nuts!

  20. the light doesn't work in movie mode..do you guys have a problem when you connect the cam to a tv? I can't seem to play videos when it's connected to the tv. the lcd of the cam goes blank (so i lose the touch screen commands) and I can't seem to play my videos using the manual buttons.

  21. is there no steady light in video mode? night mode is not really working even in low light

  22. 32 MB onboard memory? How do I use that? When I take out the SD card, it acts like there's zero memory INT.

  23. Thank you very much borg. Can you review the HP t500 which I am comparing with the V5560u. There is a 4T price difference between the 2units. Is it worth the specs/functions? Thank you for your very helpful reviews man!

  24. Hello, I can help with content on the cd? waiting for the Mail on you!

  25. is the flash light of this camera really works? can you tell me how?
    is this same flash light becomes the flasher of this camera?

  26. can you help me to make the camera setting into full screen like the screen setting of the video?

  27. to turn on/off flash light, set your camera as if your going to take a picture (ready to shoot mode). While in this mode, press up button. you will notice that an icon on the left side of screen will change. Choose flash setting that you like.

  28. Please tell me how I pause this camcorder as there is no visible pause button and the play button is only play even if I long press it. Please help

  29. I HATE THIS CAMCORDER SUCKS!!! the sound distorts like "a space ship about to land on my house" recording any ANY AMPLIFIED SOUND. i can forgive the poor focus and time it takes actually get it right, BUT FLIP! the sound SUCKS.

    NOT EVEN ON BUDGET NOT EVEN ON SALE...this has now been the worst buy in my life this year.

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  31. Could you send me more information about this full features loaded camcorder.

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