Sony Webbie HD Camcorders Hands On

Sony's CES camcorder lineup might've been bloated, but these little $US180 and $US200 Webbie 1080p camcorders are refreshingly different enough (for Sony) to take a closer peek.

Like the Vaio P brings some high-end class to the netbook category (though it's not really a netbook), Sony's Webbie HD Cameras are Sony's take on cheap, easy-to-use camcorders pioneered by the Flip. They aren't as relentlessly essential, with far more buttons and controls, but they make up for it with legit features.

The pM1 takes the Flip-style form candybar, but has an eye that swivels, making it easy to record yourself being a shallow, horrible person. It's really easy to switch from movie to still mode, where it'll shoot up to 1440x1080p video or 5MP shots, respectively. Also, the screen is actually usable, unlike on say, the Flip Mino HD. It's $US170.

The CM1 takes a dwarfened regular camcorder form factor. It's appreciably tiny and still perfect for mindlessly chucking into a bag. The real advantage over the usual candybar cheap camcorder is the 5x optical zoom. Same as the pM1, it shoots up to 1440x1080p video and 5MP stills. It's $US200.

Both of them feel durable and not bad cheap, and are easy enough to use. If you're not sold on the orange (which I kinda like), it also comes in burgundy and the less ostentatiously "I'm cheap!" shade of silver.

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