MSI has long pushed the boundaries of invention with its ever-evolving range of laptops but it has now pulled off a world first with the new MSI Creative 17.
Sony HDR-XR150 Full HD handycam
Full HD Sony camcorder with 120GB hard drive and 25x optical zoom
- Good HD video performance, 120GB hard drive, compact size, three recording formats in one
- Touch screen occasionally annoys, sub-par still image mode
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.
Price$ 999.00 (AUD)
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
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo Find X3 Pro review: An all around performer with a touch of class
- 2 MSI GS66 Stealth (2021) review: A gaming powerhouse with 300Hz display
- 3 Jackery Explorer 1000 Portable Power Station review: Good for venturing off the grid
- 4 Dynabook Portégé X30W-J – a very good all-rounder
- 5 Realme 7 Pro review: Further progress
Latest News Articles
- Samsung launches new Galaxy A smartphones in Australia
- Samsung upgrade their Australian tablet range
- Dell launches its Rugged range
- Sony launches three new 4K HDR Home Cinema Projectors
- HP launches Omen by HP Challenger Series Tournament
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.
- Best Amazon Prime Day deals for Australia in 2021
- Best Australian EOFY 2021 Laptop Deals
- Six headphone deals to consider for Australia's EOFY 2021
- 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?