Despite its smallish sensor, as with Sony’s excellent HDR-CX105E, the TG7VE records a surprisingly good picture in low light, thanks to its Exmor technology. The autofocus can be rather sluggish, and the picture is a little noisy in poor illumination, but it’s also surprisingly bright and full of colour. So you should be able to shoot watchable – or at least visible – footage in most conditions.
Most of the TG7VE’s connections are to be found on a separate docking station. This includes a proprietary A/V out which provides either composite or component video output, alongside RCA audio. There is also mini-USB, and even HDMI, as well as a power socket. However, the camcorder itself does have a couple of connections on board. Aside from the essential power socket - so you don’t have to carry the docking station with you on holiday - there’s another A/V output.
Now that we have 1080p-shooting pocket Internet camcorders costing under £200, the HDR-TG7VE’s £500-plus price looks a little steep. However, it is in a totally different league in terms of both image quality and features. You can also pick up similarly good camcorders for much less, in particular Sony’s own HDR-CX105E or JVC’s Everio GZ-HD300. Nevertheless, neither are as small or stylish as the TG7VE. It may be a little on the pricey side, but this is one camcorder you could stow in your breast pocket, yet it’s capable of very impressive video quality for its size.