Okay, first of all, these are INITIAL impressions. I just wanted a cheap camcorder with a mic jack and a non-digital zoom, and this filled the bill. For reference, I've been shooting video since I started in High School in 1976, am online/multimedia editor for a newspaper website, and regularly use some pretty decent (DVCPRO/Betacam) gear, so I do have some idea what makes a decent camcorder.
Video quality is about average. The shots seem decent, but not spectacular. Low light performance I'd give it about a 5. It does have a gain up setting, which they call a "digital" light for some reason that does help some, but, as you'd expect, adds noise to the image. For a 500 dollar camcorder, I'd give the video quality a 6 or 7 out of ten. For less than a hundred fifty bucks, it's a 10.
Build quality seems fine. The zoom on mine is smooth, the LCD opens/swivels with no problem, and the fit/finish on the one I got is superb. I especially like the grippy rubberized housing around the hand grip. I once had a JVC that had this, and loved it. The LCD monitor is a bit low rez, but it seems to work okay. I didn't notice muc focus hunting on mine-maybe some others got bad units?
Audio quality is good on mine, and, as mentioned, the mic jack is my main reason for getting this thing. I never have expected much out of an on-camera mic, and my personal opinion is that I won't use a camera without one except as a last resort.
I also noticed some complaints about battery life. Hey, it's a small battery, just get a spare. http://us.toshiba.com/accessory/PA3985U-1BRS/ is the factory version. You can get an off-brand for less than 20 bucks, and a separate charger on ebay for about 22 dollars.
The only thing to keep in mind with that is that you may have to take it off the tripod to remove the battery, since it's under a door on the bottom. That's the only time I could see the battery life being an issue, since it's doubtful that many people will use this for long-form recording.
If I'd paid 500 bucks, I probably wouldn't have been thrilled, but for a hundred bucks, I'm one very happy camper.