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Sanyo Xacti VPC-HD1000
If we gave camcorders awards for their appearance, the Sanyo Xacti VPC-HD1000 would be a shoe-in. Styled like a cross between an electric shaver and a science fiction ray gun, it's one of the best-looking camcorders we've seen. It's tiny, too, weighing in at just over 300g with battery and just 11cm across its longest edge. Although the lens is a little bulbous, you could still consider carrying the Xacti in a coat pocket.
Sanyo has been trying to crack the crossover market for some time, and 2006's Xacti VPC-HD1 made a noble attempt to be both a great digital camera and a good camcorder. But although it packed a laudable number of features into a miniscule package, including 720p HD video recording and 5-megapixel stills, its image quality failed to impress us and video recording couldn't compete with a dedicated camcorder either.
Sanyo had another stab with the VPC-HD2, and now it's back with a more video-oriented strategy. Aside from much improved looks, the VPC-HD1000 also boasts Full HD video recording at 1,920 x 1,080, as found on premium models from JVC and Panasonic costing hundreds more.
As with Sony's consumer HD camcorders, the Sanyo relies on a CMOS sensor rather than a CCD one. Despite the HD1000's diminutive proportions, the CMOS sensor used is a hefty 1/2.5in model, with a 4-megapixel resolution. This is actually larger and with more pixels than Sony's latest models. However, four megapixels is fairly lowly by digital camera standards these days. It's also a megapixel behind the HD1, and three megapixels behind the HD2. As a result, stills have dropped down to a maximum resolution of 2,288 x 1,712, although an interpolated 3,264 x 2,448 option is also available.