The Sanyo Xacti VPC-HD2 is the high-definition model in the company's line of "digital media cameras" all of which record video and photos to an SD (secure digital) card.

Like the other models in the line, the 230g Sanyo Xacti VPC-HD2 is significantly smaller and lighter than a typical camcorder, which must accommodate a built-in hard disk drive or DVD drive. The Sanyo Xacti VPC-HD2 slips easily into a jacket pocket.

The Sanyo Xacti VPC-HD2's high-definition video capture didn't quite live up to our expectations. The VPC-HD2 records video at 720p, not 1080i. The Sanyo Xacti VPC-HD2's video suffered from fuzzy details and dull-looking colours; in low-light footage, shadow areas lacked subtle gradations. As a result the VPC-HD2 earned mediocre scores for video quality in standard light, video quality in low light, and audio quality.

Its shortcomings were particularly apparent when we compared the Sanyo Xacti VPC-HD2's video to test footage from the far more expensive Panasonic HDC-SD1 (review here) on a 50in Pioneer Elite plasma TV, connected via HDMI (high definition multimedia interface). Video from the HDC-SD1 looked much sharper, colours looked more vibrant, and greater detail appeared in low-light footage.

Like the Sanyo Xacti VPC-HD2, the Panasonic camcorder records video to an SDHC Card, but it's considerably larger and weighs more than twice as much.

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