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 Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Sony Xperia Z5 Premium review: Is the world ready for a 4K phone?
- 2 Mazda MX-5 (2016) review: Absolute driving purity
- 3 Sony 75-inch UHD TV (X9400C) review: Sony and Android are a winning duo
- 4 LG 55EG960T OLED UHD TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera UHD TV review: good hardware, fragmented software
Best Deals on Good Gear Guide
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)
GGG Evaluation Team
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.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- CCInformatica ExpertNSW
- CCPortfolio-Program SchedulerNSW
- CCTechnical Lead - .NET TechnologiesNSW
- CCIT Security EngineerNSW
- CCMicrosoft Dynamics CRM DeveloperSA
- CCWintel Support EngineerNSW
- FTJunior Project Manager | Permanent role in Canberra | NV1/2 clearedACT
- FTSolution ArchitectNSW
- FTSystems Administrator/Engineer | Projects & BAU | Coastal Newcastle NSWWA
- FTBusiness Analyst / Scrum MasterNSW
- FTApplication Packaging & Deployments Team LeaderNSW
- CCTechnical Business Analyst (Telecommunications) / Melb CBDVIC
- CCLync/Skype EngineerNSW
- FTJava Full Stack Developer - MelbourneVIC
- FTOracle System Integration Engineer - CANBERRASA
- CCProgram Support ManagerQLD
- FTIT Security Governance ManagerNSW
- CCSolution Architect - Biomedical - South Australia locationSA
- CCCisco Network EngineerNSW
- FTJunior Developer | C#, MVC & SQL | Class FinanceNSW
- CCProject Server Specialist / MS ProjectNSW
- CCSenior Systems Engineer - SCOM/SCCM/PowerShellVIC
- CCContract System Analyst (Network & System Mgt.) 160205/SA/561Asia
- FTChange LeadNSW
- CCData Migration SpecialistQLD