Sony Handycam HDR-CX150 review: Sony Handycam HDR-CX150

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CNET Editors' Rating

3 stars Good
  • Overall: 6.7
  • Design: 7.0
  • Features: 7.0
  • Performance: 7.0
  • Image quality: 6.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Compact; lens focuses relatively fast.

The Bad Merely OK video quality; worse-than-expected lens flare problems in bright sunlight.

The Bottom Line Its small size and attractive price might draw you to the Sony Handycam HDR-CX150, but this bare-bones camcorder just barely delivers on the promise of HD quality.

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A follow-up to the CX100, the Sony Handycam HDR-CX110, CX150, and XR150 represent Sony's budget-priced HD triumvirate. They differ only by color and storage media--the CX110 has no built-in memory, the CX150 has 16GB built in, and the XR150 incorporates a 120GB hard disk (and is therefore necessarily larger than the other two)--and are part of the first generation of Sony camcorders to almost universally support SD cards. (Reviews of all three products are based on our testing of the CX150.) Though the XR150 only comes in black, the CX150 comes in red as well, and the CX110 throws in a blue choice.


  Sony Handycam HDR-CX110/CX150 Sony Handycam HDR-XR150 Sony Handycam HDR-CX300/CX350V Sony Handycam HDR-XR350V
Sensor 3-megapixel Exmor R CMOS 3-megapixel Exmor R CMOS 4-megapixel Exmor R CMOS 4-megapixel Exmor R CMOS
1/4 inch 1/4 inch 1/4 inch 1/4 inch
Lens
(with Active SteadyShot disabled)
25x
f1.8-2.6
37 - 1075mm (16:9)
25x
f1.8-2.6
37 - 1075mm (16:9)
12x
f1.8-3.4
29.8 - 357.6mm (16:9)
12x
f1.8-3.4
29.8 - 357.6mm (16:9)
Min illumination (lux) standard: 11
low light: 3
standard: 11
low light: 3
standard: 11
low light: 3
standard: 11
low light: 3

EVF

No No No Yes
LCD 2.7-inch 230,000-dot touch screen 2.7-inch 230,000-dot touch screen 2.7-inch 230,000-dot touch screen 2.7-inch 230,000-dot touch screen
Primary media SDHC/16GB built in; SDHC 120GB hard disk; SDHC 16GB/32GB flash; SDHC 160GB hard disk; SDHC
HD recording AVCHD:
1080/60i @ 24, 17Mbps; 1440x1080/60i @ 9,5 Mbps
AVCHD:
1080/60i @ 24, 17Mbps; 1440x1080/60i @ 9,5 Mbps
AVCHD:
1080/60i @ 24, 17 Mbps; 1440x1080/60i @ 9,5 Mbps
AVCHD:
1080/60i @ 24, 17 Mbps; 1440x1080/60i @ 9,5 Mbps
Manual shutter speed and iris No No No No
Accessory shoe No No Yes Yes
Audio 2 channels 2 channels 2 channels 2 channels
Body dimensions (WHD, inches) 2.0 x 2.3 x 4.3 2.3 x 2.8 x 4.5 2.1 x 2.6 x 5.0 2.4 x 2.8 x 4.5
Operating weight (ounces) 9.3 12.3 (est) 13.3 (est) 15.3 (est)
Mfr. Price $499.99/$549.99 $699.99 $899.99 $999.99

Like the CX100, the CX150 and CX110 each fit quite comfortably in a jacket pocket. Though more expensive and larger than a minicamcorder, these models have a lot of things those lack, including a 25x zoom lens and the ability to capture 3-megapixel stills. The two flash models are far more attractive than the XR150 with its odd upward projection on the right side, though if you have big hands, that extra bit should make it easier to grip than its smaller, rather slippery siblings. Like many ultracompact models, they really do seem optimized for shooting below eye level, or at least holding the camcorder as if you are; the traditional grip simply isn't comfortable. It is improved over the CX100, though, with a more rounded top.

I think they use the same screen as the CX100, though; small, which is understandable given the unit's size, but it's hard to view in direct sunlight and through all those fingerprints the touch screen accumulates. You'll find the usual set of buttons: direct DVD burn (via software when connected to a PC), playback, Power, and iAuto on the body inside the LCD. Instead of physical buttons from the bezel, they use virtual zoom and record buttons on the touch screen. I don't mind that for record, which is a touch-and-release operation, but I don't like using the touch screen for zooming, where you have to hold it down. There are also the usual touch-screen-enabled niceties, such as spot metering and spot focus.

Beneath a door you'll find the USB and Mini-HDMI connectors; the charging connector and proprietary AV jack are under a door on the outside of the body. To the right side of the lens is a switch for the built-in lens cover. The SD/Memory Stick Duo slot sits in a door right next to the tripod mount, so if you'll be doing a lot of tripod shooting you may want to consider the hard-disk-based XR150.

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Where to Buy See all prices

Sony Handycam HDR-CX150 (Black)

Part Number: HDR-CX150 Released: Jan. 14, 2010
MSRP: $499.99 Low Price: $599.95 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Jan. 14, 2010
  • Optical Sensor Type Exmor R CMOS
  • Width 2 in
  • Depth 4.5 in
  • Height 2.2 in
  • Weight 7.4 oz