HDR-XR200V

The Sony Handycam HDR-XR200V provides disappointing video performance, and its clever GPS capabilities aren't as useful as they could be

  • Review
  • Specs
  • Images
  • User Reviews
  • Buy Now
Sony HDR-XR200V
  • Sony HDR-XR200V
  • Sony HDR-XR200V
  • Sony HDR-XR200V
  • Expert Rating

    3.50 / 5

Pros

  • Good video quality under bright light, Smile Shutter shoots stills as subjects smile

Cons

  • Bad low-light video, expensive for what you get

Bottom Line

The Sony Handycam HDR-XR200V isn't a bad camcorder, but its main draw might be its fancy extras rather than its output.

Would you buy this?

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.

Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Read more on these topics: GPS, digital video, camcorders, sony
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

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.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

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.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

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.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

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.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?