Review: Sony Bloggie MHS-PM5

In keeping with the company’s general direction of late, Sony’s entry into the pocket camcorder market is overdesigned and underfunctional.

The big draw with Sony’s Bloggie versus, say, similar offerings from Flip, Creative or Kodak is the inclusion of a swiveling lens, which gives the user immense flexibility in how it is used. Aim forward and shoot the kegger you’re at, or swivel it back to capture your vimeo ready-reaction. After all, YouTube is so 2006.

Another handy feature: The Bloggie can shoot still pictures (5 megapixels) as well as HD video (1920 x 1080p); separate buttons let you mix and match as you see fit.

Sounds good, but the problems soon become evident once you start really using the Bloggie. For starters, simply taking a shot of either type is difficult due to the awkward button placement; they’re too small and hard to hit accurately whether you’re holding it righty or lefty. The zoom feature is dog slow, and changing settings with the five-way pad is awkward, too, as some menus are created vertically and some are built horizontally. The slide-out USB connector for uploads and charging is also badly placed, and it’s difficult to get the camera to hang onto your PC without an adapter cable.

The 2.4-inch LCD looks big until you realize that fully half the screen is taken up by status information and useless junk like the time and date. It’s better at least with playback, if you turn the unit on its side the exhaustive display goes away.

Video quality is roughly as credible as any other pocket cam — though perhaps on the low side — but don’t forget to buy a Memory Stick Pro Duo card for the unit; storage isn’t included, either.

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