Sony HDR-TG5 HD camcorder
An ultra-stylish and ultra-compact Sony handycam with inbuilt GPS
- Beautiful titanium casing, highly compact, intelligent Easy mode, inbuilt GPS
- Below average low-light performance, too similar to HDR-TG1, unconventional shape won’t please everyone
The Sony HDR-TG5 is a minor evolution of the TG1 that adds some useful features but addresses none of its predecessor’s faults. Nevertheless, if you can get used to the unconventional shape it won’t disappoint.
Price$ 1,499.00 (AUD)
The Sony HDR-TG5 is a flash memory–based high-definition camcorder aimed at the casual and the fashion-conscious. (Sounds like a TV soap opera, doesn’t it?) Unlike other models in Sony’s handycam range, it has an unusual pistol-grip body reminiscent of a Sanyo Xacti camcorder. It also comes with an inbuilt GPS receiver complete with geotagging functionality. Otherwise, this is pretty standard fare from Sony. It looks good, takes good video, has a good set of features and is reasonably good value for money — in other words, it’s not bad.
The Sony HDR-TG5 is an upgraded version of the Sony HDR-TG1, which we reviewed back in July last year. To be honest, it’s more of a subtle refresh than a full-blown replacement, with most specifications remaining intact. Both models sport the same 1/5in CMOS sensor, 10x optical zoom lens, 2.7in LCD touch screen and 1920x1080 AVCHD recording capabilities. Thankfully, Sony has added a few extra bells and whistles to make the upgrade (kind of) worthwhile.
The most significant addition to the HDR-TG5 is probably GPS functionality — a feature that has become standard across all Sony HD handycams. The GPS receiver incorporates a 2D Navteq map that shows your current location in Australia, along with options to zoom in and out. Unfortunately, there’s no option to set destinations or calculate travel routes, which kind of rules the HDR-TG5 out as a navigation device. Nevertheless, it remains a fun (if gimmicky) tool to impress your friends with. Slightly more useful is the addition of geotagging. This keeps a record of where your footage was shot via the included Picture Motion Browser software — handy for meandering road trips or fuzzy pub crawls!
The Sony HDR-TG5 also comes with 16GB of inbuilt storage (up from 8GB on the HDR-TG1). This will net you 115 minutes of video at the highest possible setting, or 715 minutes in standard-definition LP mode. Naturally, a Memory Stick slot is included for additional recordings, though you’ll need to buy the MS media separately.
As mentioned above, the Sony HDR-TG5 sports a vertical, upright design that vaguely resembles a Sanyo Xacti or an electric razor. If you’re used to more conventional camcorders, the lack of a handstrap may take some getting used to; it means you need to keep a sturdy grip on the base at all times (a wristband is included for cautious, or clumsy, users). While we won’t be giving up our traditional camcorders any time soon, we found the HDR-TG5 to be surprisingly intuitive. The onboard controls — consisting of a zoom ring, record button and camera/movie modes — are all within easy reach of the thumb. This makes one-handed operation a breeze, while the scarcity of buttons keeps things nice and simple for novices.
We were also impressed by the touch-screen LCD menu, which boasts responsive controls and a user-friendly interface. There are plenty of manual modes on offer, including adjustable white balance, focus and exposure, spot metering, smooth slow recording, 10 scene selection modes and a telemacro mode. At heart, however, this is a point-and-shoot model at heart. Most users will subsequently stick to the Easy mode, which does an excellent job of adjusting focus and exposure on the fly.
One of the things we loved about the original HDR-TG1 was its attractive titanium casing, and time has done nothing to diminish its appeal. If anything, the TG5 looks even sexier than its predecessor, with the champagne finish adding an extra dash of class. As we noted in our TG1 review, the camcorder’s compact dimensions mean it could almost pass for a digital still camera, which allows you to keep recordings discreet and informal.
When it came to video image quality, the HDR-TG5 delivered a similar performance to its older sibling (i.e. good but not great). Although Sony claims to have tweaked the HDR-TG5’s image processing, we couldn’t really spot the difference. When compared to Sony’s premium high-def offerings, such as the HDR-XR520, the HDR-TG5 unfortunately comes up short. Although colours were sharp and accurate in our outdoor test shots, things took a sharp nosedive in dim lighting: the bane of every consumer-level camcorder. This is one area we were hoping Sony would address when it upgraded the HDR-TG1, but our footage remained just as noisy. That said, the camcorder performed ably in most situations and will certainly satisfy its intended audience of casual users. All in all, a fairly impressive offering.
Follow GoodGearGuide on Twitter: @GoodGearGuide
Join the newsletter!
Samsung QLED 8K TV
Bang and Olufsen Beoplay A9 Speaker
Cartier Calibre de Cartier Diver Watch
Ballistix Sport AT
Ballistix Tactical Tracer RGB 3000
Apple iMac Pro
Toys for Boys
ESET Cyber Security Pro for Mac
Little Bits DROID Inventor Kit
ESET Internet Security
Tivoli PAL BT
ESET Smart Security Premium
Nix Pro Colour Sensor
Osmo Coding Awbie Game
Oregon Pro WMR500 Weather Station
Ikea RIGGAD work lamp with wireless charging
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Bluetooth Speaker
Naztech Xtra Drive Mini + 256GB microSD Card
SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3
TimeFlip Magnet Simple Time Tracking Device
Microsoft Office enables your business to perform better
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo R17 Pro review: Oppo's thriftiest flagship yet drives a hard bargain
- 2 Nokia 7.1 review: A modest and modern mid-tier option
- 3 Tenda Nova MW6 review: A gateway drug for mesh Wi-Fi
- 4 Huawei Mate 20 Pro review: Expensive, but probably the best phone you can buy right now
- 5 Apple iPhone XS review: Astonishment at a price
Latest News Articles
- Dell launches its Rugged range
- Sony launches three new 4K HDR Home Cinema Projectors
- HP launches Omen by HP Challenger Series Tournament
- Samsung Australia announces breakthrough demand for Galaxy Note9 pre-sales
- HP Omen laptops include a first: Nvidia Max-Q graphics technology
PCW Evaluation Team
Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications
I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)
It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!
The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.
I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.
If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.
- PC World 2018 Editor's Choice Awards
- Huawei Mate 20 Pro review: Full, in-depth, Australian review
- Razer Phone 2 review: One for the fans
- 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?