Camcorders tend to be far too big to fit into a coat pocket. But not Sanyo's Xacti VPC-CG65. This small, lightweight camcorder stores video and photos on an SD Card, thereby avoiding the need to accommodate a bulky hard-disk drive, tape drive, or DVD drive.

The Xacti VPC-CG65 is slightly larger than a typical point-and-shoot camera. Because it records video and still images to an SD Card (a storage mechanism that has no moving parts), the Sanyo Xacti VPC-CG65 ought to handle hard knocks better than an HDD or DVD camcorder. The Sanyo Xacti VPC-CG65's case feels plasticky and not particularly rugged, however.

Sanyo's Xacti VPC-CG65 produces good-looking video, which it shoots in Mpeg4 format at a maximum resolution of 640x480 pixels (the Xacti VPC-CG65 doesn't capture wide-aspect video). That translates into a data transfer rate of 3mbps. Low-light video was particularly impressive. Overall, the Sanyo Xacti VPC-CG65 showed very good video quality in our lab tests. The outdoor footage we shot in daylight during informal testing looked very attractive. The nighttime footage shot indoors looked good but not perfect: errant pixels danced in shadow areas, and the exposure changed abruptly as we moved into well-lit areas from darker ones.

When used as a digital camera, Sanyo's Xacti VPC-CG65 records still images at resolutions of up to 6 megapixels, and shows superior photo quality. Colours look vivid and accurate, while images are sharp. The Sanyo Xacti VPC-CG65 worked exceptionally well in macro mode, focusing accurately for most of our close-ups of flowers, although its auto focus failed to lock on to the subject at some extremely short distances.


Sanyo's Xacti VPC-CG65 keeps operation very simple. A four-way joystick, a menu button, a record/play button, and a zoom lever are its main controls, along with recording buttons for video and photo capture. The Sanyo Xacti VPC-CG65 lacks exposure bracketing and a video light, among other features, and its 2.5in LCD is slightly smaller than the wide-aspect screens of many other camcorders.

Battery life is short at just 74 minutes; you'll want to carry a spare battery, since the first one will run out long before you reach the video capacity of a 4GB SD Card (2 hours, 45 minutes at the highest quality setting). Plus no SD Card comes in the box, so you'll have to invest a little more to pick up a 4GB card separately.

The included software is nothing special. You get Ulead Photo Explorer 8.5 SE Basic for transferring files to a PC, and Ulead DVD Movie Factory 5.0 SE for creating DVDs. Sanyo's Xacti VPC-CG65 lets you copy a screenshot from your PC to the camera's SD Card, though it's hard to see how this function would be very useful.

Sanyo Xacti VPC-CG65: Specs

  • 6Mp CCD
  • 18MB internal memory
  • 5x optical zoom
  • 12x digital zoom
  • 2.5in LCD
  • SDHC and SD Card compatible
  • lithum-ion rechargeable battery
  • top shutter speed 1/2000sec
  • 68x100x35mm
  • 169g
  • 6Mp CCD
  • 18MB internal memory
  • 5x optical zoom
  • 12x digital zoom
  • 2.5in LCD
  • SDHC and SD Card compatible
  • lithum-ion rechargeable battery
  • top shutter speed 1/2000sec
  • 68x100x35mm
  • 169g

OUR VERDICT

The compact Sanyo Xacti VPC-CG65 offers far fewer controls and features than most DVD and HDD models do. But if you want a pocketable model for recording video and capturing still shots in out-of-the way places, this inexpensive model is very well suited to the task.

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