The Good The Sony Handycam HDR-CX220 is cheap, small, and lightweight.
The Bad Poor video quality and a minimalist set of features disappoint.
The Bottom Line The only thing the Sony Handycam HDR-CX220 seems to have going for it is the low price, but "you get what you pay for" has never rung truer.
Cheap, but you get what you pay for
I don't review as many camcorders as I used to, mostly because of limited bandwidth; cameras require a lot more of my time and there's more reader interest. Occasionally, though, readers express enough interest in a model to pop it onto my review radar. That's my rationale for looking at the Sony Handycam HDR-CX220, the replacement for the popular. Popular for no reason I can fathom other than it offers a long lens at a cheap price of just under $200. With no features to speak of, a confusing interface and mediocre video quality, though, I recommend saving your money.
The CX220 is essentially the same model in terms of image quality as Sony's CX230 (8GB built-in memory), CX290 (8GB plus optical image stabilization and touch screen), and PJ230 (8GB plus built-in projector) -- they all have the same sensor and lens.
The design is typical of a traditional camcorder, and it's extremely lightweight -- one might even say flimsy-feeling. I was surprised that I managed to cram it into a loose jeans pocket when I needed an extra hand, though. It's got a built-in lens cover and a USB charging cable that tucks into the strap, which will work with any USB charger. (A shout-out to all you confused Amazon reviewers.) If you don't own a modern phone or tablet charger or have a computer to plug it into, Sony will ask you to fork over about $20 for its version or you can buy one for between $5 and $10. Rather than bundling a charger, Sony opts to include a Micro-HDMI cable for connection to a TV.