Advantages and Disadvantages of Sony bloggie MHS-CM5 (Review)

Sony bloggie HD MHS-CM5, a $200 (price at launch) pistol-grip style pocket HD camcorder with a 2.5-inch swivel LCD monitor and a 1/2.5 inch CMOS sensor that Sony hopes will penetrate the market more successfully than its predecessor, the very similar Webbie. Sony also recently released the less expensive bloggie PM5 ($170 at launch), which more closely resembles the Flip in shape and size.

Unfortunately, in order to fit the optical zoom lens into the bloggie, Sony had to increase the device’s bulk. The bloggie measures 4 inches tall by 2.75 inches wide by 1.56 inches and weighs about 7 ounces, so unless you are wearing loose sweatpants, it won’t comfortably fit in your pocket. Another downside is that the bloggie is currently available in one color: eggplant. The bloggie ships with a neck strap that provides two attached points, securing against its bottom and lens cap, which helps keep the bloggie stable when it dangles from your neck.

Accessing the bloggie’s menu is simple: just hit the “Menu” button tucked underneath the monitor. There, users can select photo size (5 megapixels at 4:3; 4 megapixels at 3:2; 3 megapixels at 4:3; 2 megapixels at 16:9; and VGA at 4:3), video size as described above, turn on or off steady shot and facial detection, and access the camera’s controls, clock, shooting, and memory card settings. Users can navigate and access menu commands with a four-way control toggle just below the zoom and record controls, pressing it to select a menu item. I’ve had trouble with similar navigation schemes on other devices, constantly clicking and selecting when attempting to scroll; this was never a problem with the bloggie. The control button was big enough and provided enough resistance for even my chubby digits.

Advantages:
Solid video performance in good lighting
5x optical zoom
Simple operation and upload
SD and Memory Stick compatible
Four shooting modes

Disadvantages:
Poor performance in low light
No external mic jack
Memory card not included
PMB software not Mac compatible
Larger than pocket-sized

It’s hard to evaluate a device like the Sony bloggie. On one hand, I could never recommend a camcorder with poor low-light performance lacking an external mic jack. On the other, the bloggie is a $200 gizmo designed to compete with pocket camcorders like the Flip, which share the same weaknesses. Although the bloggie is larger than pocket-sized, what the device does right, it does better than most other pocket camcorders.

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