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Christmas Gift Guide

Sony's first rugged Handycam

10x optical zoom

Flash

Pocket friendly

Controls

Touch screen

Storage and ports

Told you so

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.
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
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.
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
Yep, it's got a flash for those times when stuff is just too dark.
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
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.
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
Everything's pretty straightforward for controlling the device.
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
If you're over physical controls, the GW77V has a 3-inch 921K-dot-resolution touch screen that can be used to control everything.
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
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.
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
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.

Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
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