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Despite the pocket Internet camcorder format being around for a few years now, mainstream manufacturers have been reluctant to take it seriously. JVC has released a small range, starting with the PICSIO GC-FM1, and more recently the PICSIO GC-FM2 and PICSIO GC-WP10A. But Panasonic and Canon have remained aloof. Now, Sony is making a play to lead the market with its Bloggie Touch. Not only is this a sleek and capable Full HD pocket Internet camcorder, it also has a unique trick up its sleeve – 360-degree recording.
The Bloggie Touch isn’t actually Sony’s first foray into pocket Internet camcorders. The original Bloggie arrived at the beginning of 2010, and there was a Webbie a year before that. However, the design has really come of age with the Bloggie Touch. The chassis is sleek and smooth, making even Flip’s Mino look chubby in comparison. Aside from the power button and a physical camera button, all the settings and functions are controlled using a sharp and colourful 3in touchscreen TFT. This has a 288Kpixel resolution, which is quite reasonable by camcorder standards.
Sony certainly hasn’t skimped on the internals of the Bloggie Touch, either. Inside is a sizeable 1/2.5in CMOS sensor with Exmor technology. This is Sony’s version of back-side illumination technology, where the sensor wiring grid is placed behind the pixels rather than in front of it, increasing the useful area of each pixel. The result is much greater sensitivity, which we have certainly noticed in the lowlight performance of cameras equipped with the technology.
The CMOS sensor also offers an effective 12.8-megapixels when in 4:3 digital camera mode, so can capture still images at a native resolution of up to 4,128 x 3,095, although only 2.07-megapixels are used when shooting video. Its tiny lens holds its photography abilities back, but quality is certainly a cut above camera phones. As we mentioned earlier, the Bloggie Touch can record video at a Full HD resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. It also offers 720p, but not VGA. Note, however, that despite being on sale in Europe the Bloggie Touch still uses the 30 frames/sec base found in the US and Japan. There is also a 60 frames/sec option, but only at 720p resolution.
Video is recorded in MP4 format, and there’s 8GB of flash memory built in. At the top Full HD quality setting, this is enough for around 85 minutes of footage. However, there’s no option to expand this with external memory cards.