Sanyo Xacti VPC-CG9
Cheap as chips.
- High quality stills mode, pistol-grip design has its fans
- Poor low-light performance, sub-par video, buttons are too small
The Sanyo Xacti VPC-CG9 is a cute standard-def offering that comes with some interesting modes and features. Unfortunately, its poor video performance and annoying control scheme are kind of hard to overlook.
Price$ 349.00 (AUD)
Anyone who remembers those ‘Monsters in my Pocket’ toys from the late 1980s will be instantly familiar with the Xacti VPC-CG9 — not only is it similarly pocket-sized, it’s also pretty monstrous! [You’re fired — Ed.] Kidding aside, this is a fairly lacklustre effort from Sanyo that suffers from poor video quality and an unwieldy control scheme. Its main claim to fame is probably its 9.1-megapixel stills mode, which does a pretty good job of capturing photos. Plus with a retail price of just $349 it’s one of the few camcorders on the market that practically anyone can afford.
The Sanyo Xacti VPC-CG9 is a standard-definition camcorder that records MPEG-4 video to either SD/SDHC memory cards or its 44MB of internal memory. The tiny inbuilt memory is mainly there for show; it will net you around one minute of top-quality video (count it!) or 10 images at the highest resolution. You’ll therefore need to buy some SD/SDHC media to go along with your purchase (8GB cards currently cost around $100). Depending on the card’s capacity, this will boost recording times by up to 114 hours.
Like the rest of Sanyo’s Xacti range, the VPS-CG9 sports an unusual pistol-grip body that bears little resemblance to a traditional camcorder. Similar in shape to an electric razor, it has been tailored for one-handed operation, with the user’s thumb manning the controls (it’s the same basic design as the Xacti VPC-C1, which hit stores way back in 1995). Personally, we’ve never been big fans of the Xacti look, though it would appear consumers are quite taken with the concept (why else would Sony rip it off with the recent HDR-TG1?)
If you can get used to the lack of a hand strap, the shooting process becomes fairly intuitive after a while. Or at least it would do if it wasn’t for the ridiculously tiny controls. In an attempt to aid one-handed operation, Sanyo has crammed nearly every button onto the upper-rear of the device. Not only does this make for a cluttered interface, it also forces you to use your big fat thumb. As you can imagine, it’s not an ideal combo. Subsequently, unless you’re a child or pygmy, you’re going to find the control scheme highly cumbersome. On the plus side, the CG9’s menu is intelligently laid out, with the assorted modes and functions residing where you’d expect to find them. It is also reminiscent of a digital camera menu screen, which fits in well the unit’s hybrid functionality.
The 9.1-megapixel stills image mode is a welcome addition to the VPS-CG9, and probably its saving grace. In optimum lighting, we were quite pleased with the quality of our output, which remained colourful and highly detailed. The camera also comes equipped with advanced photography features (including face detection and red-eye correction), a 12-megapixel mode (via interpolation) and a built-in flash. When you consider that most decent compact cameras cost around the same price as the CG9, its value for money can’t be denied. Unfortunately, the control issues that plague the video side of things also crop up here. The shutter button is both undersized and erratic, producing occasionally blurry results.
If you’ve read up to this point, you’re probably thinking that the Xacti VPS-CG9 seems like a pretty decent purchase — particularly if you’re blessed with petite and nimble hands. Unfortunately, when we tested the CG9’s video performance, things took a decided turn for the worse.
In its adverts, Sanyo has been touting the CG9’s "high-sensitivity techmology", which apparently "enables shooting in dark locations". We’re not sure what high-sensitivity "techmology" is, but we’d suggest it go out and find a real job. Frankly, the VPS-CG9 exhibited one of the worst low-light performances we’ve seen. Noise levels were ruinously high, with image details smothered in a snowstorm of grain.
Naturally, the unit fared a lot better in bright, outdoor environments, but we’d still class its output as adequate at best. Tellingly, the camera includes a ‘Web/Blog’ mode as one of the main shooting options, which gives an indication of its poor resolution. (This also puts it in the inglorious company of the Creative Vado, Firebox Flip Digital Video Camera and Sony NSC-GC1 Net-Sharing Cam.)
To end on a positive note, the VPS-CG9 comes bundled with a comprehensive instruction manual that puts most other camcorder booklets to shame. If you’re new to video and would prefer to be guided through each and every step, this manual will be a big help.
Join the newsletter!
LiTMUS LAB Dakota Side Table
Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (4th Gen)
WD My Passport™ SSD
Bang and Olufsen Beosound Stage - Dolby Atmos Soundbar
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 5G
Apple Watch Series 6
Toys for Boys
WD_BLACK™ SN850 NVMe™ SSD
Theragun PRO Percussive Therapy Device
ASUS ROG, ACRONYM partner for Special Edition Zephyrus G14
Bose SoundLink Revolve Bluetooth Speaker
Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones
Nakamichi Delta 100 3-Way Hi Fi Speaker System
Sony Playstation 5
Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean 9000 Toothbrush
MSI Modern 14
Lego Mindstorms Robot Inventor
Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for Nintendo Switch
Garmin vívofit® jr. 2
Fujiflim Instax Square SQ1
Fender Fullerton Ukele
Kindle Paperwhite eReader (10th Gen)
SunnyBunny Snowflakes 20 LED Solar Powered Fairy String
Teac 7 inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player
Dickie Toy Remote Control Mega Crane Set
MSI GE66 Dragonshield Limited Edition
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo Watch review: A masterclass in imitation
- 2 Google Pixel 5 Review: Soft Reboot
- 3 Google Pixel 4a review: The Goldilocks Google phone
- 4 Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G review: Wrong Number
- 5 LG NANO99 NanoCell 8K TV review: Prestige at a price
Latest News Articles
- Apple’s Clips 3.0 update features a new interface, more stickers and soundtracks, and HDR recording
- iMovie for iPhone and iPad is updated with HDR and 4K 60fps support
- Apple updates iMovie with new comic filters, bug fixes, and more
- GoPro spin off their lighting mod into its own act: the Zeus Mini
- Logitech will take your webcam money now, thanks
PCW Evaluation Team
Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.
This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.
It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.
As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.
The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.
This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.
- iPhone 12 Pro review: The iPhone that’s future proof
- Google Pixel 5 Review: Soft Reboot
- Oppo Watch review: A masterclass in imitation
- Everything you need to know about Smart TVs
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?