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CNET First Look
Sony Handycam HDR-XR100While it's a perfectly serviceable HD camcorder, the Sony Handycam HDR-XR100 should deliver a little more of everything for the money.
[ Background music ] >> Lori Grunin: Hi, I'm Lori Grunin, Senior Editor with CNET and this is the Sony Handycam XR100. Unfortunately the XR100 is kind of an underwhelming camcorder. It's competing in a price class with sub $600 camcorders but it's not under $600 and for its feature set and video quality and design it really should be cheaper. Design is kind of blocky and boring. Of course you're limited by the fact that it has a hard drive, an 80 GB hard drive, and that has some constraints on the design but it's your typical old fashion black and silver. It's got a 10X zoom lens and pretty much no real features to speak of. Optical steady shot. It has Sony's 5.1 channel sound which you don't really need and if you're paying extra for it that's a good reason why the camcorder seems over prices. It's relatively compact but in order to get enough power they put this big battery on it which juts out and it's just kind of unsightly. The LCD is relatively small, it's a 2.7 inch, which it's not small for its class but it's small for having a touch screen interface. I find that 2.7 is the borderline too small for Sony's touch screen plus it uses the old fashioned home and options separated menu system that's really hard to navigate. Some of the newer models have a much better touch screen interface. In addition, the video quality is just nothing to write home about. Its typical budget video quality with blown out highlights, it's kind of soft. The autofocus system seems to have trouble finding the right thing to lock onto and that slows it down a little bit. The low light video is just ok. One thing I do like is it has the nice sliding doors that we've seen in the higher end Sony's but it doesn't have a head phone or a microphone jack and there's really, there's no manual controls. It's pretty much point and shoot. That's ok for an HD camcorder they don't have to be complicated but it should be a little cheaper since it doesn't offer those things. The zoom switch is a bit wobbly and its hard to control. It's hard to get a nice constant zoom right out of it. So if you're looking for a relatively good deal on a sort of inexpensive HD camcorder this is not it. [ Background music ] >> Lori Grunin: I'm Lori Grunin and this is the Sony Handycam HDR XR100.