Why take a camcorder and stills camera on holiday when you can buy a hybrid product such as those in Sanyo's Xacti range? Seemingly perfect for that weekend break, the pistol-like Sanyo Xacti HD700's blurb boasts of High Definition images, yet in truth its 30-frames-per-second (fps), 720p video resolution is more HD-ready than full HD (look to the more expensive HD1000 for that).

Still, this is backed up by a respectable 7Mp for snapshot photography, which can further be interpolated to 10Mp. You also get a 5x optical zoom and built-in flash.

While the Sanyo Xacti HD700's unusual shape ensures it nestles snugly in the palm, its diminutive size means you need to watch out for your forefinger accidentally straying in front of the lens, while some form of rubberised grip would have useful to help you hold it steady.

There is image stabilisation built in, though it's of the digital variety, which means that while footage appears steadier with this option selected, quality looks downgraded. Flipping out the Sanyo Xacti HD700's 2.7in LCD – which acts as your viewfinder/review screen – and holding the camera with both hands is the better option or, better still, use a tripod, for which a screw thread is provided.

Also at the Sanyo Xacti HD700's base is a port for connecting the Xacti to a docking station that charges its battery and transfers data to your PC via USB, or HDTV via the HDMI port.

Both stills and video images are saved to an SD/SDHC card – an optional yet essential extra. It means the Sanyo Xacti HD700 has the advantage over hard drive camcorders in that memory is handily expandable.

Results are hit and miss. Though reasonably exposed, the Sanyo Xacti HD700's Jpegs require sharpening, with noise visible in shadow areas, colours lack punch and red eye is a problem when using the flash due to its proximity to the lens.

Stereo sound quality impresses and, due to the Sanyo Xacti HD700's lack of moving parts, no operational noise is picked up. However, MPEG-4 format video footage occasionally drifts out of focus as you pan through a shot and can appear a little jerky.

Sanyo Xacti HD700: Specs

  • 7.1Mp stills, 720p video resolution (1280x720 pixels)
  • 5x optical zoom (equivalent to a 38-190mm range)
  • 2.7in LCD which rotates through 285°
  • JPEG and MPEG-4 image capture formats
  • ISO 200-3200 (ISO6400 equiv. selectable in ‘lamp' mode)
  • HDMI High Definition output with included docking station and remote control
  • internal card slot for SD or SDHC memory cards
  • Super Macro close ups to 1cm
  • rechargeable lithium ion batter pack
  • bundled Adobe Premiere Elements 3.0 software
  • 73x35x109mm, 189g
  • 7.1Mp stills, 720p video resolution (1280x720 pixels)
  • 5x optical zoom (equivalent to a 38-190mm range)
  • 2.7in LCD which rotates through 285°
  • JPEG and MPEG-4 image capture formats
  • ISO 200-3200 (ISO6400 equiv. selectable in ‘lamp' mode)
  • HDMI High Definition output with included docking station and remote control
  • internal card slot for SD or SDHC memory cards
  • Super Macro close ups to 1cm
  • rechargeable lithium ion batter pack
  • bundled Adobe Premiere Elements 3.0 software
  • 73x35x109mm, 189g

OUR VERDICT

Lightweight and easy to use, the Sanyo Xacti HD700 looks impressive but with plastic buttons and controls its pricing feels high. Especially when you can get a good quality camcorder for around £300, and a 7Mp stills camera for £100. Ultimately, it's kindest viewed as a bit of fun rather than your number 1 choice for image capture.

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