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 Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Huawei Mate 9
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Google Daydream VR headset
Lexar® Portable SSD
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Acer Swift 7
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Surface Pro 4
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Dell XPS 13 laptop
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
- 2 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 3 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 4 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
Latest News Articles
- Samsung's UHD Monitor covers 99.5 per cent of Adobe colour spectrum
- HP settles cases with inkjet cartridge vendors
- Study predicts PS3 will win the console war
- Samsung wave makes a splash at Mobile World Congress
- Sony finally back in the black (but not thanks to PlayStation)
PCW Evaluation Team
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.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
- Horizon Zero Dawn review
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Japan's pop culture, anime-friendly, J-Pop shrine, Kanda Myojin
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- TPTechnical Report EditorQLD
- CCTest AnalystQLD
- FTClient Delivery ManagerSA
- TPSolution Architect - Transport DomainVIC
- FTProject ManagerNSW
- CCSQL Server BI DeveloperQLD
- CCInfrastructure Test AnalystACT
- TPDigital Process Business Analyst - Digital Transformation**NSW
- FTSenior Business AnalystNSW
- FTJunior Software Engineer - Adelaide Based (PV, NV2 or NV1 required)ACT
- CCData Engineer (Java/ Data/ Big Data Developer)VIC
- CCSharepoint Business AnalystACT
- TPMaster SchedulerNSW
- TPTechnical Support Resource-Skype for BusinessVIC
- TPICT Project CoordinatorQLD
- CCProject Support OfficerNSW
- FTTechnical Team Leader | ArchitectQLD
- CCFront-End DeveloperQLD
- FTSenior Database AdministratorVIC
- FTSenior Network AdministratorNSW
- CCProject Manager - Telco Networks EngineeringVIC
- FTApplications DeveloperACT
- CCDevops Consultant - 12 month contractVIC
- CCGIS Developer - GeocortexWA
- FTMicrosoft ProgrammerSA