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Sony's first rugged Handycam

The Sony Handycam HDR-GW77V was announced for Japan in May, but is headed to the U.S. in June. Though indistinguishable from a typical pistol-grip minicamcorder, the GW77V nonetheless is powerful and rugged. It's waterproof down to 16 feet, shockproof from drops up to 5 feet, and dustproof.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Lori Grunin/CNET
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10x optical zoom

One of the main features that sets it apart from smaller pocket video cameras, such as Sony's Bloggie line, is its 10x zoom Sony G lens that starts at a relatively wide-angle 29.8mm focal length for photos and video. It also records in AVCHD at 1080/60p (or 60i) and has built-in GPS letting you view your current location on the LCD map display, automatically geotag your shooting locations, and view the geotagged content using a Map Index function on the camcorder.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Lori Grunin/CNET
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Flash

Yep, it's got a flash for those times when stuff is just too dark.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Lori Grunin/CNET
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Pocket friendly

Though it's bulkier than your average smartphone, considering its capabilities the device is compact. Small enough to stick in a large pocket or small bag for sure.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Lori Grunin/CNET
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Controls

Everything's pretty straightforward for controlling the device.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Lori Grunin/CNET
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Touch screen

If you're over physical controls, the GW77V has a 3-inch 921K-dot-resolution touch screen that can be used to control everything.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Lori Grunin/CNET
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Storage and ports

The minicamcorder has 16GB of internal storage and can also record movies and photos directly to Memory Stick Micro (M2) and microSD/SDHC cards. There is a Micro-HDMI port for connecting to a display and a Micro-USB port for charging and connecting to a computer.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Lori Grunin/CNET
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Told you so

In case you wanted proof of the ports and dual-card slot.

Despite the big gasket and promise of 16 feet of waterproofing, I'd have a tough time getting in the water with a $700 camcorder.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Lori Grunin/CNET
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