The Good Records 720p high-definition video; small, lightweight, and attractive; 10X optical zoom; rotating OLED screen.
The Bad Hard-to-maneuver joystick controller; very sluggish autofocus; video and photos look overly processed.
The Bottom Line If you want the latest in cool toys, the Sanyo Xacti VPC-HD1 certainly has the right gadget quotient. Once you look at the image quality, however, its allure dims quite a bit.
Sanyo Xacti VPC-HD1
If you're a glass-half-full kind of person, it may be enough that the 5-megapixel Sanyo Xacti VPC-HD1's feature list contains several first-to-market wins: it records and outputs progressive-scan video at 720p, it incorporates a dazzling 2.2-inch OLED screen, and it crams a 10X zoom lens into a device that fits into your palm. But once you factor in its slow focus and overly high-contrast, artifact-ridden photos and videos, that glass begins to look emptier by the minute. Still, the HD1 is an important technical milestone, even if it has some limitations. If you're familiar with Sanyo's previous palm-size Xacti camcorders, such as the VPC-C5 or , the VPC-HD1 will feel like an old friend. It has the same overall shape, upward tilting lens, and back-mounted controls, though now it's a bit larger and heavier--4.7 by 3.1 by 1.4 inches (HWD) and 8.3 ounces, to be specific. It still fits comfortably into a coat pocket, a purse, or a briefcase, just more tightly. Furthermore, the Sanyo Xacti VPC-HD1's outer case feels very sturdy. Most of the surface is made of metal, and there was no bending or creaking when we twisted it strongly. Plus, compared to the VPC-C6, the VPC-HD1's extra weight makes it easier to steady with one hand.
The 2.2-inch OLED (organic light emitting diode) screen is one of the best I've ever seen on a digital camera or camcorder. OLED pixels self-illuminate to provide more uniform brightness than do most LCDs. OLED technology also consumes power more efficiently and can render a wider contrast range. The VPC-HD1's screen rotates 285 degrees, allowing for convenient self-portrait, overhead, and low-angle shots.
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