|Features||Sony Bloggie Duo|
|Focus||Auto (4 inches to infinity)|
|Lens cover (auto or manual)||None|
Aside from the secondary display, autofocus, and the LED lamp, the Duo is light on features. There are no color effects or really any other shooting options beyond changing resolution. The built-in mic is mono, and there are no jacks for connecting headphones or an external mic. It does have a flip-out USB arm for quickly connecting to a computer and Sony includes a small extension cable. The Duo can be used as a VGA Webcam when connected to a computer, too. Lastly, there's a Mini-HDMI jack, but you'll need to get your own cable for that one.
Embedded on the Duo is Sony's Bloggie Software for organizing and sharing your photos and movie clips. It's attractive and simple, but you can't do much with it other than organize, share, and trim video clips. It does those things well enough, but in comparison to what you get on Kodak or Samsung minicamcorders, the offering is weak. It is, however, available for Windows and Mac computers.
The overall design of the Bloggie Duo is nice, the highlight, again, being the dual displays for self-portraits. Operation is as simple as turning it on and pressing the big record button. There are three buttons down the right side of the screen; the middle one turns on the front LCD, the top accesses menu options, and the bottom is for playback. A circular directional pad around the record button controls the 4x digital zoom, self-timer, and the LED lamp. One nice touch: you'll get an onscreen countdown when using the self-timer and the front display.
There are a couple design things to be aware of that might turn you off, though. The battery is built in, so you can't easily swap it out when it dies; a full charge takes more than 3 hours via USB. When shooting horizontally, which is how you'll likely shoot a majority of the time, the tripod receptacle is poorly placed on the right side of the video camera. Also, the shutter release and power button are flush with the body and are only separated by a tiny strip of plastic. If you're not looking or paying attention, you could accidentally power off the Duo instead of take a picture. It's not a big problem if you're shooting photos, but it's a bit of an issue if you try to capture a still while recording video.
For people who like to be in front of the camera and not just behind it, the Sony Bloggie Duo is a good choice. It doesn't offer much beyond that feature, though, and its video and photo quality is best suited for online sharing. Which, to be fair, is what it's designed for.
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