The Sony Handycam HDR-XR200V provides disappointing video performance, and its clever GPS capabilities aren't as useful as they could be
- Good video quality under bright light, Smile Shutter shoots stills as subjects smile
- Bad low-light video, expensive for what you get
The Sony Handycam HDR-XR200V isn't a bad camcorder, but its main draw might be its fancy extras rather than its output.
Price$ 1,799.00 (AUD)
The GPS-enabled Sony Handycam HDR-XR200V certainly sports innovative features, but it lacks the video quality needed to make it stand out from--or even measure up to--the best small AVCHD camcorders we've seen this year. It's a Sony camcorder with overall performance on a par with the Sanyo Xacti VPC-FH1, a camera that costs half as much.
That price tag does get you some high-end features, plus all those one expects to find in a modern camcorder: optical image stabilizer, face detection technology to automate focus and skin tone adjustment, and a 15X optical-zoom lens.
The HDR-XR200V also includes two unique features, one useful, the other not. One called the Smile Shutter can automatically take stills of subjects as they smile, while also recording high-definition video. That's clever and useful.
It's also the first camcorder we've tested with a built-in GPS receiver. The 2.6-inch LCD panel can display a map pinpointing the location where individual clips and stills were recorded, and touching the map's location marker displays and plays the content. You can also use the feature to view your current location.
While the GPS tags can be viewed on the camcorder and through the bundled Picture Motion Browser software, common video editing applications don't recognize the tags. If GPS-tagged video becomes widely supported, then the feature will be great. But without wide support, it's merely clever.
The HDR-XR200V captures images with a 1/5-inch CMOS sensor, and records those images as AVCHD video to an internal 120GB hard drive that holds about 14 hours of HD video at the highest quality setting. You also have the option of recording to removable Memory Stick PRO Duo cards.
The camera records 1920-by-1080 video at 60 interlaced frames per second, with a maximum bit rate of 16 megabits per second. That bit rate is significantly below the 24 mbps maximum supported in the AVCHD spec. The camcorder lacks the Web-friendly 30 progressive frames per second and film-style 24 progressive frames per second modes found on some other HD camcorders. While that issue can be laboriously addressed during the editing process, image quality is more fixed. And here, this Sony model performs only so-so.
In PC World Test Center jury evaluations, the HDR-XR200V performed well in bright interior light, creating good-looking video a notch below the Canon Vixia HF S10 and the Panasonic HDC-TM300; the HDR-XR200V earned a standard-lighting video score of Good.
Its battery life is also decent; the HDR-XR200V's rechargeable battery lasted nearly 2 hours on a single charge (111 minutes in our test), which netted a battery life score of Good.
But in low-light conditions, stuttering motion significantly marred the video. The Handycam's low-light footage was among the worst rated in our test group of six camcorders, notching a disappointing score of Fair. Still images in bright light were also only Fair, with a green cast that didn't appear in stills generated in identical conditions by other camcorders.
The Sony Handycam HDR-XR200V isn't a bad camcorder, but its main draw might be its fancy extras rather than its output. In terms of overall video performance, better alternatives exist at both higher price levels and lower.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Acer Swift 7
Google Daydream VR headset
Huawei Mate 9
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Lexar® Portable SSD
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Surface Pro 4
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo R9s Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- 2 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 3 HTC U Ultra phone full, in-depth review
- 4 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 5 Venom Blackbook Zero 14 laptop review
Latest News Articles
- Samsung unveils Bixby voice assistant for upcoming Galaxy S8
- Sony's virtual reality suit is why people go to SXSW
- Samsung's UHD Monitor covers 99.5 per cent of Adobe colour spectrum
- HP settles cases with inkjet cartridge vendors
- Study predicts PS3 will win the console war
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- And the 2017 winner of the Formula 1 Best Pit Lane Boom Gantry is...
- Behind the scenes with Team Walkinshaw at V8 Supercars Melbourne 2017
- First look at the Formula 1 2017 pit lane in Melbourne, Australia
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSocial Media ExecutiveNSW
- FTSystems AdministratorNSW
- FTCitrix EngineerNSW
- FTSenior System/Network EngineerACT
- CCSalesforce Functional AnalystNSW
- FTEnterprise ArchitectQLD
- FTData ArchitectNSW
- CCPega DeveloperNSW
- FTProject Manager- SAP FICO implementationNSW
- FTSecurity Lead / ConsultantNSW
- FTIt Security and process analystNSW
- CCBenefits/Business AnalystNSW
- FTSenior Network Engineer - Nexus 9k ACINSW
- FTMonitoring Tools Support l NimSoft , SMARTS, ehealth, TivoliNSW
- FTRACF Mainframe Security Analysts / Engineers - Multiple Roles - SydneyNSW
- FTImplementation Consultant - SMSF SoftwareNSW
- TPSenior Performance TesterQLD
- FTSenior .Net Developer (Silverlight)VIC
- FTDevops EngineerVIC
- FTMid-Level Software Engineer x 2 - Adelaide Based (PV, NV2 or NV1 required)VIC
- FTGIS Software DeveloperQLD
- FTTechnical Consultant - SQL Server programming skillsACT
- TPSenior Project CoordinatorVIC
- TPSenior Business AnalystNSW
- CCData AnalystNSW