The 360 shooting is the kind of feature that is sure to grab attention the first few times you use it, with people asking what the strange device in your hand is actually doing. However, you’re not going to be able to display the footage very often. In the same way as 3D camcorders generally record two images squashed side-by-side to fit into a single frame, the Bloggie Touch’s 360 video is actually grabbed as a strange-looking disc within an otherwise blank frame. You need supporting software to translate this into something useful.
Fortunately, as the Bloggie Touch is a pocket Internet camcorder, it has a pop-out USB 2.0 plug and the necessary software built in. The app included is just called Bloggie, and is fairly limited. It can upload photos to Facebook and Flickr, and videos to Facebook and YouTube, but it doesn’t have any editing ability. There is one unique feature, though. Double click on a 360-degree video and this loads into a special player. Here, you can pan round the panorama, so the frame is centred on the point of your choosing with the rest of the view either side in a strip. You can then choose to output a WMV, which converts the 360-degree shot to a strip with your chosen point at its centre. The Bloggie also has a mini-HDMI connection, but pipe this to your TV and all you will see is the strange disc, only bigger.
When shooting in regular 2D mode, the Bloggie Touch performs commendably. The image is colourful and offers plenty of detail, although the lack of an optical zoom means your framing options are limited. Low light abilities are particularly impressive, although this is an area where pocket Internet camcorders usually punch above their price. Whilst colours do become muted as the illumination drops, there is little evidence of grain and the image remains bright to quite low levels of light. The large sensor and Sony’s Exmor technology are clearly paying dividends here, as the Bloggie Touch is top of its class in poor illumination, and easily up to the task of grabbing footage in badly lit indoor conditions – a likely situation for a camcorder that easily slips into a pocket.
Now that more and more phones are offering video recording at HD resolutions, with Internet upload abilities built in, the writing would appear to be on the wall for pocket Internet camcorders such as the Bloggie Touch.
However, Sony has still managed to give it some features that could lure you away. For a start, the much larger sensor means image quality in low light will be significantly better. But the 360-degree attachment is also unique. This may be an expensive proposition for a pocket Internet camcorder, but it performs the task well, and the wraparound shots add an extra layer of fun.