Vacation with Sony HDR-XR350V Review & Giveaway
By: Bill Armstrong (Senior Editor)
Staff Note: Nov 10, 2010 This contest is now officially closed. Congratulations to Carmen P. of Wilmington, DE for winning the prized camcorder. Carmen, you have been notified via email and have 30 days to contact us with all your information. To everyone else, a deep thank you for participating. Please don’t forget that we are running several other contests that you can enter. Finally, our thanks to our friends at Sony.
Who wants to win a $999.99 HD camcorder? We’ve been telling you on Twitter & Facebook for the last few days. Now it’s a reality! The Sony HDR-XR350V is officially a giveaway! All you have to do is read the review and comment down below on why you want one. It’s that simple! Please make sure to read all the way down for the rules. On November 10, 2010 we will award 1 very lucky commenter with his/her very own Sony HDR-XR350V! Also, 1 very lucky Facebook/ Twitter fan will win one as well! So don’t forget to Retweet and post on FB!
Don’t you just love vacations? The opportunity to break away from your ordinary routine to see and experience things you will remember for years to come. With a good camera by your side, you can relive your vacation memories again and again. I absolutely love taking pictures and videos. Anyone that has seen my Facebook can certainly attest to that. I may not be a professional photographer, but that doesn’t keep me from documenting a good portion of my life and sharing it with others. Most of my pics and vids are recorded on either my phone, or on one of my compact point and shoots. Ok tools for most occasions, but when I began planning my honeymoon, I knew I wanted something better to record what was going to be among the greatest experiences of my life. Luckily, fate was smiling down on me. Our awesome friends at Sony heard about my upcoming wedding and honeymoon and sent me the perfect tool for capturing my honeymoon highlights, the HDR-XR350V Handycam.
HDR-XR350V. The name may not flow off the tongue as smoothly as other devices, but that doesn’t mean the images won’t be smooth. I was eager to put this Sony gadget to the test, which included a 14 hour drive, 2 days on my fathers horse farm, a 7 day Alaskan cruise, and a 14 hour drive back home. The perfect environment to put this puppy to the test.
What’s in the box?
In a world full of “Batteries not included”, it is nice when a device comes with everything you need to get started. The XR350V comes packed with a remote control, AC adaptor, Component AV cable for hooking straight up to your television, USB cable for transferring your files, a rechargeable battery pack, a lithium battery, and your computer software/drivers on CD-ROM.
Performance and Features
The XR350V may fit in the palm of your hand, but the amount of features packed inside is amazing. First and foremost is the video quality. The XR350V records in full HD at 1920 x 1080 and will play your videos back on your TV at 1080/60p. This feature is handy when showing off your home movies to friends and family. They will be too impressed by the quality of the images to get bored watching the highlights of the vacation they didn’t get to go on!
There are plenty of built in features to help make you a better photographer/director with this camera. The built in image stabilization that Sony calls Optical Steady Shot offers incredibly smooth pictures, particularly when zooming in and out. 3 Way Shake canceling also helps prevent shakiness when you are taking action shots. Another great feature is the Face Priority face detection software. This helps make sure you are focusing on your loved ones and not the inanimate object behind them. The built in Intelligent Auto feature helps you by adjusting settings according to your surroundings.
What’s that you say? You don’t want to carry a still camera and a video camera? Well you don’t have to. The XR350V takes still photos as well. 7 Megapixel photos come out astonishingly well with the built in Exmor R CMOS sensor. You even have the ability to take still shots while shooting video.
Those were just a few of the key features. Other features include:
Pro quality wide angle lens
Built in GPS and Geotagging
Built in Zoom Mic with Dolby Digital recording
Personalized menu system
Dynamic Range Optimizer
Pro Duo Memory card slot
And that is still not everything that the Sony XR350V has under the hood. Right now I want to talk a bit about actually using this guy. Interfacing with the camera is not only easy, but it’s also fun. The 2.7-inch flip out LCD display also acts as a touch screen interface allows you to change settings, edit, and view your images with ease. You are also able to adjust the angle of the display. This lets you hold the camera in different angles and still see what the camera sees. You can even flip it 180 degrees and look at yourself while recording. The built in 160GB hard drive means you no longer have to haul around tons of discs, tapes, memory cards, or rolls of film. 160GB gives you the ability to record more than 60 hours of video.
Once I strapped the Handycam onto the palm of my hand, I could see that it was designed with convenience in mind. The record button rests conveniently near the thumb and my forefinger easily reached the zoom controls. Another plus was how quickly the XR350V goes from off to record. It is powered on by simply opening the LCD display, and it is up and ready to go quickly. I do not have the exact time on this, but it beat my still cameras to the draw by several seconds. (Notice in the video of the glaciers breaking off into the ocean. The camera was up and recording quicker than I was able to find the right zoom!) I found only a few minor annoyances with this camera, and some may not really be annoyances to some. The auto focus some times grabbed on to something I didn’t want, like a drop of water on a window, or the crack in my windshield, when I was trying to capture what was happening on the other side of the glass. Also, the superb audio recording tended to capture everything going on around me. Being on a crowded cruise ship, this made for some loud and sometimes confusing moments. Here are some videos I took:
Sony lists the XR350V at 999.99 on the Sony Style website. Some lite homework will help you find it for a little less on some websites. This is not the most affordable device we have reviewed here on MRT, but I will say this: You can’t put a price on your memories. The XR350V is attractive, compact, easy to use, and takes amazing pictures and videos. For a device so full of features that listing them all would nearly double the length of this review (You can see them here), the price is easily justified. The XR350V can easily be classed among the best Consumer Grade camcorders on the market today. This is definitely a gadget I was glad to review for you, and glad to add to my personal collection. Hope you like!
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So, are you ready for another giveaway? Ready or not, we are! So, share your comments with us and tell why this cool device would make a good home with you. Also, don’t forget to follow @MyRealityTech on Twitter and “like” us on Facebook for additional chances to win our super cool giveaways. 99% of the time, we choose individual winners exclusively through Facebook & Twitter!