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Sony TG3E review: Sony TG3E

The Good Size and portability; video quality; stills quality.

The Bad Confusing controls; AVCHD format; no mic socket.

The Bottom Line Sony's forte is high-quality, cutting-edge technology delivered in highly desirable, stylish consumer products. That describes the TG3E perfectly. Serious videographers may scoff at some of its omissions and weaknesses, but for non-experts happy to plug their camcorder straight into their HDTVs, it's excellent

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8.3 Overall

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The HDR-TG3E is the world's smallest full HD camcorder. It shoots movies at a full 1920x1080i resolution, and yet it's small enough to slip into a jacket pocket. It might not sound especially cheap at around £450, but that's a lot less than the original asking price, making the Sony more tempting still.

Normally you expect to compromise. If you want the best quality, you have to lug around a big, chunky camcorder. If you want pocketability, you have to put up with mushy, jerky footage. The TG3E really does give you the best of both worlds.

Don't run away with the idea that it's as light and slender as a superslim stills camera, though. It's a meaty 240g slab even before you put the battery in, and given that it's also around 25mm thick, you're going to need pretty well-stitched pockets.

The build quality and general 'feel' is excellent, even though its much-vaunted scratch-resistant titanium finish only extends over one side of the body. The TG3E is really simple to use, too. You just swing out the LCD, it powers up, and you're ready to start shooting. The 69mm (2.7-inch) widescreen LCD display is bright and sharp, even in dim light, and the SteadyShot stabilisation keeps the image surprisingly still even at full zoom. Best of all, the touch-screen interface means the body is almost entirely free of the buttons, joysticks and hieroglyphics that mess up so many camcorder exteriors.

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