Sony HDR-XR200 high-definition handycam
A Full HD Sony camcorder with a 120GB hard drive and built-in GPS
- Stunning Full HD picture quality, 120GB hard drive, inbuilt GPS and geo-tagging, plenty of modes and features
- No 3.5mm microphone jack, too expensive
The Sony HDR-XR200 is a gadget-laden show-stopper of a camcorder. It provides more functionality than any entry-level HD camcorder on the market — but it's also a bit more expensive.
Price$ 1,999.00 (AUD)
The Sony HDR-XR200 is the entry-level model in the company’s new star line-up of GPS-equipped handycams. In addition to built-in GPS and geo-tagging, it has all the trimmings you’d expect from a flagship Sony camcorder, including (deep breath) Full HD (1920x1080) recording, a 120GB hard drive, a 15x optical zoom lens, a Memory Stick slot for additional storage, 5.1-channel surround sound, an LCD touch screen, a 4-megapixel still image mode and optical image stabilisation. It also comes with more manual options than you can shake a clapperboard at, along with plenty of consumer-friendly features. In terms of performance, it’s on par with last year’s excellent Sony HDR-SR10, which offered similar specifications.
The Sony HDR-XR200 can be viewed as a replacement model for the HDR-SR10, which explains their marked similarity. Both models share the same 1/5in ClearVid CMOS sensor and effective pixel count of 1490k. What separates this AVCHD camcorder from its predecessor is the afore-mentioned GPS functionality, along with an additional 80GB of memory (the new hard drive will net you around 15 hours of video at the highest quality setting, compared to 4.8 hours with the Sony HDR-SR10).
Some pre-existing features have also been refined by Sony, including smile shutter, face detection and optical image stabilisation. To be honest, we never had any issues with the previous iteration of this technology, so any purported improvements are difficult to gauge. While the Sony HDR-XR200 might not represent a revolutionary step forward, it’s unquestionably a better product than the HDR-SR10 — which was pretty darn good to begin with. Our only reservations have to do with the asking price and the lack of external audio, which we'll get to in a moment.
The HDR-XR200’s main claim to fame is its inbuilt Navteq GPS map. This is a brand new feature that all of Sony’s high-def handycams are now sporting (with other vendors bound to follow suit). It’s essentially a 2D map that shows your current location, along with options to zoom in and out. You can’t use it for voice-guided navigation or anything, but if you’re lost in the bush it could come in handy. Rather coolly, it will also geo-tag your footage based on the location it was shot at, which makes browsing and playback a lot easier. It’s possible that future software updates will incorporate proper GPS navigation, which could be added via the camcorder’s Memory Stick slot. Only time will tell.
The Sony HDR-XR200 sticks to the same design template as the company's previous generation of HD camcorders. Its traditional oblong shape and glossy black finish are virtually indistinguishable from the Sony HDR-SR12, Sony HDR-SR11 and Sony HDR-SR9. This is not a criticism, however — Sony’s handycam range is among the best-looking on the market, so why fix what isn’t broken? (For what it’s worth, you do get a dinky 'GPS' logo this time around.)
In terms of handling, the HDR-XR200 acquits itself well, although we would have liked to see a cam-control dial for manual adjustments — this is something Sony refuses to bring to its lower-end units, despite sharing most of the same modes and features. It also lacks a 3.5mm external microphone jack, which is a bit rubbish for a $1999 camera.
The Sony HDR-XR200’s video performance exhibited no noticeable improvements over its SR10 predecessor. Luckily, the past year has done nothing to dull that camcorder’s rock-solid performance — it still produces some of the best video around and the XR200 offers the same benefits. We were particularly impressed by its low-light performance. (Sony’s obligatory infrared Night Shot mode is also present, allowing you to shoot in complete darkness). All in all, the Sony HDR-XR200 will give the average videographer no qualms when it comes to imaging performance.
The only thing we can fault the Sony HDRXR-200 for is its over-inflated price tag. At $1999, it is substantially more expensive than the average entry-level HD camcorder. (Indeed, you could buy two Sanyo Xacti HD1010s for the same price, and still have money left over for a bag of crisps.) It also costs $600 more than the Sony HDR-SR11 — which, ironically, we thought was too expensive last year. If you’re not a prodigious shooter and aren’t particularly interested in GPS functionality, we’d advise plumping for the Sony HDR-SR11. Otherwise, this is one of the best camcorders on the market.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Acer Swift 7
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Google Daydream VR headset
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Huawei Mate 9
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Lexar® Portable SSD
Surface Pro 4
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
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
- AT&T will acquire Time Warner for US$85.4b in content play
- Facebook adds Apple TV and Chromecast support as video push ramps up
- Remocam review: This security camera can control your home appliances
- Logitech's C922 webcam is the revered C920's vastly upgraded successor
- Jump the line for the newest Chromecast features with Google's new preview program
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
- CCWicked Front-End DeveloperVIC
- FTEnterprise ArchitectQLD
- CCERP Business Analyst (Time Capture/ Management) - Contract - Sydney CBDNSW
- CCBPM DeveloperVIC
- FTSenior Database AdministratorVIC
- CCPMO ManagerNSW
- FTEnterprise Account ManagerNSW
- CCSAP Billing & Invoicing ConsultantNSW
- FTSenior Technical Consultant - SQLACT
- CCSenior Networks Specialist - DNS PlatformVIC
- TPIT Project Officer - TMRQLD
- CCTelecommunication Operations SpecialistTAS
- TPBusiness AnalystNSW
- FTConsultant Business AnalystQLD
- FTDevops EngineerVIC
- FTFull stack Developer - Senior (Java or C# and AngularJS) x 3QLD
- TPEnvironment Specialist(DevOps)QLD
- CCSenior Technical SpecialistNSW
- FTDeveloper - Java/J2EEQLD
- CCCrystal Reports DeveloperSA
- TPSenior Applications Support OfficerQLD
- FTJunior Software Engineer - Adelaide Based (PV, NV2 or NV1 required)VIC
- TPSenior Business AnalystQLD
- CCIT Senior Business AnalystNSW
- CCTest AnalystQLD