Sony HDR-XR150 Full HD handycam

Full HD Sony camcorder with 120GB hard drive and 25x optical zoom

  • Review
  • Specs
  • Images
  • User Reviews (1)
  • Buy Now
Sony Australia Ltd HDR-XR150
  • Sony Australia Ltd HDR-XR150
  • Sony Australia Ltd HDR-XR150
  • Sony Australia Ltd HDR-XR150
  • Expert Rating

    3.75 / 5
  • User Rating

    3.00 / 5 (of 1 Review)

Pros

  • Good HD video performance, 120GB hard drive, compact size, three recording formats in one

Cons

  • Touch screen occasionally annoys, sub-par still image mode

Bottom Line

The Sony HDR-XR150 is a reasonably priced Full HD camcorder that provides good video and plenty of user-friendly features. Its chief strengths are a 120GB hard drive and 25x optical zoom lens. Recommended.

Would you buy this?

The Sony HDR-XR150 is an entry-level Full HD camcorder equipped with a 120GB hard drive and 25x optical zoom lens. Like other models in the Sony handycam range, it comes with an exhaustive array of consumer-friendly features and gimmicks, including Spot Focus, Face Detection, Smile Shutter, Steady Shot, a ‘Child Priority’ tool, Intelligent Auto and a Smooth Slow Record mode. (Curiously, it lacks an inbuilt GPS, which is commonplace on many of its stable mates.)

In terms of specifications, the Sony HDR-XR150 is quite similar to last year’s batch of HD handycam models, which included the similarly named HDR-XR100. The biggest improvement to the HDR-XR150 is probably its enlarged 25x optical zoom lens, which is very impressive for a high-def camcorder. (Previous Sony models have come with 15x optical zooms, or less.) The HDR-XR150 also comes with SD/SDHC memory card support, in addition to Sony’s proprietary Memory Stick format. In other words, you have no less than three recording formats at your disposal.

The Sony HDR-XR150 is impressively compact for a HDD camcorder. Despite packing in a 120GB hard drive, the unit weighs just 300g and measures a tiny 57x67x114mm. When compared to previous hard disk–based behemoths, like the Sony HDR-SR12E, it feels like somebody zapped it with a shrink-ray. Needless to say, it should fit inside your jacket pocket with a minimum of hassle.

For the asking price of $999, the Sony HDR-XR150 gave a solid video performance. It boasts a redesigned Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens, as well as Sony’s celebrated Bionz processing chip. It records 1080p video in the AVCHD format at 24 megabits per second (Mbps) — previous Sony handycams made do with an inferior bit rate of 16Mbps. The 1/4in ‘Exmor R’ CMOS sensor, meanwhile, offers an effective pixel count of 1350k. This might sound a bit measly on paper, but the HDR-XR150 still did a good job in our imaging tests.

We connected it to a to a Pioneer KURO PDP-C509A plasma TV using the included component (RGB) cable and were very impressed with the results. Images remained clean in dim lighting with less noise than we’re used to. The Sony HDR-XR150 also comes with a 3.1-megapixel stills mode which should prove adequate for Facebook -- just. (Unfortunately, there's no inbuilt flash or night mode, so your happy snaps must be limited to daylight hours).

For menu selections, Sony has stuck to its tried-and-tested touch screen LCD. The interface is fast and responsive, yet it also suffers from a few design glitches. For example, the ‘scroll down’ arrow reverts to a ‘My Menu’ icon after a few seconds of inactivity. This caused us to frequently return to the home menu when we simply wanted to select a different menu category. A little practice helped to eliminate this problem, but it was frustrating nonetheless. The 2.7in display could also prove problematic for thick fingers (we much prefer the Sony HDR-CX520's 3.5in display).

We were unsurprised, but disappointed nonetheless, by the absence of external audio options. Instead, you’re stuck with the HDR-XR150’s 2ch stereo microphone. On the plus side, the user can adjust the microphone level manually, and the zoom mic helps to cut out ambient noise — to a degree.

The Sony HDR-XR150's 120GB hard drive can store up to 50 hours and 30 minutes of high-definition footage in LP mode — or 11 hours and 20 minutes at the highest possible quality. As mentioned, a Memory Stick slot and SD/SDHC card slot are also included for hybrid recordings. You can also record video in standard-definition if the mood strikes you.

Stay up to date with the latest reviews. Sign up to GoodGearGuide’s Gear Daily newsletters

Follow GoodGearGuide on Twitter: @Goodgearguide

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Read more on these topics: sony, camcorders, digital video

Be the first to comment.

Post new comment

Users posting comments agree to the PC World comments policy.

Login or register to link comments to your user profile, or you may also post a comment without being logged in.

n.ghengadoo

3.0

1

Pros
good perfomance
Cons
no flashlight
• • •

it is a good handycam to use during the day but not at night and in darkness because it does not have a flashlight

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?