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Sony Bloggie Duo review: Sony Bloggie Duo

Sony Bloggie Duo

Joshua Goldman
Joshua Goldman Managing Editor / Advice
Managing Editor Josh Goldman is a laptop expert and has been writing about and reviewing them since built-in Wi-Fi was an optional feature. He also covers almost anything connected to a PC, including keyboards, mice, USB-C docks and PC gaming accessories. In addition, he writes about cameras, including action cams and drones. And while he doesn't consider himself a gamer, he spends entirely too much time playing them.
Expertise Laptops, desktops and computer and PC gaming accessories including keyboards, mice and controllers, cameras, action cameras and drones Credentials More than two decades experience writing about PCs and accessories, and 15 years writing about cameras of all kinds.
5 min read

The Sony Bloggie Duo is a simple shoot-and-share minicamcorder that, thanks to a secondary 2-inch LCD next to the lens, makes being in your own movie clips and taking self-portraits easier. It allows you to be part of the action instead of stuck behind the camera. Sure, you don't need a second LCD to do this, but it certainly helps frame your shots and know you're looking your best.


Sony Bloggie Duo

The Good

The <b>Sony Bloggie Duo</b> has a secondary front LCD, a nice-looking design, and is very easy to use.

The Bad

Video quality from the Bloggie Duo is best at small sizes, and for the money it doesn't offer many features.

The Bottom Line

Sony's Bloggie Duo minicamcorder makes it easier to be part of your own movie clips and photos. But that's about all it does.

Otherwise, the Duo is a pretty basic minicamcorder with few extras. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it doesn't exactly give you a lot for the money. Video quality, while not outstanding, is on the mark for its intended purpose: sharing on YouTube and Facebook. And its photo quality ain't half bad, either.

Key specs Sony Bloggie Duo
Price (MSRP) $169.99
Dimensions (HWD) 4.4 x 2.3 x 0.8 inches
Weight (with battery and media) 4.9 ounces
Storage capacity, type 4GB internal flash memory
Resolution, sensor size, type 5 megapixel, 1/4-inch CMOS
LCD size, resolution 2.7-inch LCD, 230K dots (2-inch front-facing LCD)
Lens Fixed focal length, f2.8 47mm (35mm equivalent)
File format (video, audio) H.264 video, mono AAC audio (.MP4)
Resolution (highest) 1,920x1,080 pixels at 30fps (15Mbps; progressive)
Image stabilization type Electronic
Battery type, rated life Built-in lithium ion rechargeable, 70 minutes
Software Bloggie Software (Windows, Mac)

The video quality from the Bloggie Duo can be very good as long as you and your subject aren't moving much. Of course, pocket video cameras such as this can't compete with a full-fledged HD camcorder that costs hundreds of dollars more. There are other factors that go into creating great video beyond high resolution, so if you're considering this for its "full HD" setting, you might want to think twice. When shooting at 1080p, video is reasonably sharp and detailed without looking crunchy. Color and exposure are good as well. However, that's when viewed at smaller sizes on a computer screen. Blown up on a larger HDTV, the video is less impressive. Also, it doesn't handle movement--of the subject or of the device--very well at 1080p, creating a lot of judder. That's unfortunately typical of this type of video camera, though. (Clip lengths, by the way, are limited to 2GB or 29 minutes, which is typical, too.)

The Bloggie Duo does have a 720/60p setting, which smoothes things out some if you're shooting action or doing a lot of panning left and right, but the video is severely lacking in detail, looking more like a painting. Again, it's fine at small sizes, but not good on a large HDTV. Lastly, the low-light video is noisy and grainy with readily visible artifacts. I've seen much worse, though, so all in all the Bloggie Duo does all right indoors and in darker conditions. There is an LED lamp above the lens that will brighten close subjects some, but don't expect it to light a full scene.

Photo quality is pretty good as long as you have plenty of light. Shooting is completely automatic; just press the shutter release on top and you're done. If you press the release while recording video, it will capture a photo at whatever resolution you're recording at, roughly 2 megapixels at 1080p or 0.9 megapixel at 720p. The Duo does have autofocus, which allows you to go from shooting something like a whole garden right down to a single flower 4 inches away. The AF isn't all that fast, though, and it's even slower in low-light conditions.

Features Sony Bloggie Duo
Inputs/Outputs None/Mini-HDMI, USB
White balance Auto
Scene modes None
Focus Auto (4 inches to infinity)
Color effects None
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.

Sony Bloggie Software
The editing and sharing software on the Bloggie Duo is light on features, though it does look nice.

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.

Find out more about how we test camcorders.


Sony Bloggie Duo

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 7Performance 7Image quality 7
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