Sony Bloggie Touch MHS-TS20K video review



Read the full Sony Bloggie Touch MHS-TS20K review

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.

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December 1, 2010, 7:34 pm

Whether or not "the writing is on the wall" for low-end video recorders such as the Bloggie Touch, the day that they become redundant is still a few years off (at least) in my mind.

For a tech site that's as photography-oriented as TR, I'd expect you guys to be the last people touting the "HD quality" of the cameraphones. The iPhone, easily the best cameraphone in my eyes, is still far off the budget/mainstream offerings from the major manufacturers in terms of PQ.

Furthermore, this isn't an issue likely to be solved via software or silicon, since it's essentially an optics/sensor size issue. Simply put, we're probably a long ways off until a smartphone maker is willing so make sufficient sacrifices in terms of thickness and overall size to accomodate a decent lens and sensor.

Smartphones will continue to suffice for impromptu documentation of day-to-day events and happenings. But in terms of making record of the special moments in our lives, these types of cameras will continue to offer a superior convenience/price/PQ value proposition.

James Morris

December 2, 2010, 2:16 am

@Heelo I think that's what I said, wasn't it? ;^>

Neil B

December 2, 2010, 4:31 pm

@Heelo "The iPhone, easily the best cameraphone in my eyes"

Hahaha, Hahaha, that's the funniest thing I've heard all day. Wait, you were being serious?!

I think the key factor why a smartphone won't fully replace a decent digital camera is the optical zoom. Until they can find a way to collapse a lens so that it's paper thin, we're a long way off.


December 2, 2010, 5:41 pm

@James - I interpreted your comments to say that these Flip-type devices were reaching twilight in terms of viability as a compelling product in the video camera market due to encroachment by the "HD" resolutions provided by cameraphones. I was merely pointing out that I thought their viability as a product segment will continue for quite some time, mainly due to their significant size/form-factor advantage over even the smallest traditional camcorders and their significant PQ advantage over cameraphones, no matter (and perhaps because of) how many active pixel sensors they're cramming onto the image sensor and the tiny size of the lens. We'll see, I suppose.


(1) Would you mind recommending some alternative (presumably Android) devices with superior camera quality?

(2) These Flip-type devices could conceivably feature optical zooms implemented via the internal prism-type optical zoom featured on almost all digital cameras without expanding zoom lenses (like the Sony T series).

Neil B

December 2, 2010, 6:32 pm

@Heelo, where to start? My Missus has an iphone and she hates the camera on it. She preferred the camera on her old Sony Ericsson (can't remember the model number but the Cybershot branded one). My last 2 Nokia N-series have had far superior cameras to that of the iphone. I haven't tried any of the new breed of smartphones but to say that 4/5 year old phones have better cameras than the iphone kind of wins the argument. I'm not sure you'll find too many people who will argue that the iphone has a great camera. On what am I basing my judgement? Picture quality and functionality, the iphone has no flash and no dedicated camera button, two big negatives for starters.


December 2, 2010, 9:25 pm

I'm thinking of buying this for my daughter, but have two concerns: Is the lack of flash an issue for the still photos? also, how easily is it interfaced with a MAC?

James Morris

December 2, 2010, 10:51 pm

@CarmenJ The lack of flash is an issue, but the big sensor means it performs much better in low light than a cameraphone with no flash. There is allegedly software included for Mac, but I didn't have a Mac to hand to test its abilities. Sorry!


December 3, 2010, 12:20 am

Okay - thanks for your input!


December 3, 2010, 8:51 am

@James Morris - Thanks for the great review. I wanted to comment on some things though. You wrote in the very beginning of the review that "Panasonic and Canon have remained aloof" when it comes to pocket internet camcorders. You're right about Canon, and I'm eagerly waiting to see if they announce their own model some time soon. But Panasonic has already released their first model, the HM-TA1, which could be a very interesting alternative at half the price of the Bloggie Touch. It certainly seems like it would be worth a review...=)

While the sensor on the Bloggie Touch is quite large (1/2.5") for a pocket internet camcorder, the Nokia N8 smartphone actually has an even larger sensor (1/1.83"). Like all other higher-end smartphones, the N8 can "only" record 720p video (instead of 1080p like the Bloggie Touch), but it doesn't change the fact that it's sensor is pretty big even in compact camera terms. So it might be quite decent in low light as well.

BTW, could you possibly review the Sony Bloggie HMS-CM5? I think it was released in the beginning of the year, so it might not be "brand new" anymore. But it's one of the very few pocket internet camcorders with an optical zoom (5x), and has otherwise similar specs to the Bloggie Touch (though not the 360-video recording), so it should be a serious competitor since it's cheaper than the new Touch.

@Heelo - Have a look at the Nokia N8. It might not be an Andriod device, but it definitely has the best camera of any cameraphone so far. And not because it has 12Mpix., but because it has the biggest sensor (1/1.83"). On top of that, it also has a Xenon flash, and an HDMI port so that you can connect it to a TV and watch your photos/videos on a bigger screen. The zoom is digital (like on other smartphones), but it zooms with the help of the pixels in the center of the sensor, so that image quality isn't affected as much as with conventional digital zooms.


December 4, 2010, 3:36 pm

The nokia n8 is a better camera phone than the iphone 4 hands down and I have both phones. i have no loyalty to any brand and got the iphone for free from my employers but i'm not complaining about the phone

James Morris

December 5, 2010, 3:47 am

@JK You read my mind! I requested the HM-TA1 just a few days ago!

As for the previous Sony Bloggie, I did request it when it came out but Sony's PR is and pretty much always has been extremely hard work. I was very surprised to get the Bloggie Touch so easily, because many times in the past I've requested review units over and over again to no avail. Not sure what he problem is, because I have no difficulty getting review units from other manufacturers, who realise we're the most popular camcorder review section in the UK.


December 6, 2010, 10:28 am

@James Morris - I'm not exactly sure I'd call it reading your mind, when I was trying to point out something that I felt needed correcting in your review...considering the HM-TA1 was already released a few months back. Which makes the beginning of the review a little odd, since it seems you were already aware of Panasonic's pocket internet camcorder at the time...

But I'm glad you'll be getting the HM-TA1 in for a review soon, and I look forward to reading all about it! =)

I'm sorry to hear that you couldn't get Sony's Bloggie HMS-CM5 in for a review due to "PR problems", I don't suppose there are be other ways of getting your hands on one (maybe from a friendly retailer, or if you know someone who owns one and would be willing to lend it out)? It just looks quite interesting on paper, being from a big name brand and having that 5x optical zoom.

But there might be a couple of interesting alternatives though, namely Samsung's HMX-U20 and Sanyo's VPC-PD1. Both have a 1/2.3" sensor, and both have 3x optical zooms. Maybe you'd have better luck getting your hands on one of them...=)

James Morris

December 6, 2010, 5:53 pm

@JK Quite frequently, vendors put products on sale before they get them out to journalists. We do work with some vendors to get hold of products when this happens - for example, this seems to be the only way to get our hands on Kodak's camcorders. But this isn't always possible, and hasn't been viable most of the time with Sony. Not really sure why, but I've been writing about technology for over 15 years and Sony has been consistently difficult in this respect, which is a shame because Sony's camcorders are usually excellent!


January 9, 2011, 5:20 pm


I'm thinking about buying this cam. But I'm currently hesitating between Sanyo Xacti CG100 and this bloggie touch.

It seems that Bloggie has a good image quality, and not too bad in bad lights conditions ( this is important for me because I will oftenly use this cam in party ) but sanyo's one has a flash. More, the bloggie memory is only 8go with no memory slot, is this a problem ? How minutes of film is it ?

Thanks for your answer and sorry for my english

Jordan Parker

November 11, 2013, 3:21 pm

Can I use an external microphone with this product?

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