The super slim Sanyo Xacti CS1 is a lightweight, compact 1080i Full HD camcorder and compact camera.
Those on the lookout for a lightweight, compact and well-featured camcorder may well have mentally shortlisted a Sanyo Xacti model. After all, the range is well-established, combines many desirable attributes of both camcorders and digital cameras and is good value. The Sanyo Xacti CS1 is all these things and super-slim too, but its build quality left much to be desired.
Alongside the ruggedised build of models such as the Kodak PlaySport, the Sanyo Xacti CS1 feels rather flimsy and plasticky. Even so, there will be plenty of people who prefer the control that a flip-out, tilt-adjustable screen provides. And to be fair, it’s an impressive achievement to have fitted a full 1080i Full HD camcorder lens into a flip-out model of such narrow dimensions.
At its thinnest, the Sanyo Xacti CS1 is just over 16mm thick, while the top-heavy lens end is 27mm across. You get a large flash embedded above the camera and a smooth, silent 10x zoom. Unlike most models, audio recording is stereo too.
The important parts of the Sanyo Xacti CS1, such as the 270-degree swivel of the LCD viewfinder and the hinge to allow it to do so are as solid and reassuring as ever, but the chassis and the battery cover in particular are sub-par. The screen is a full 2.7in across with a 230K-pixel resolution. Swing this out and you’re left holding the insubstantial lower half of a top-heavy device, however.
Placement of the red Record button is ideal – just where the thumb naturally falls – but we found our fingers creeping up and in to shot time after time.
The buttons along the too narrow spine of the camcorder are hard and not as accessible as on the larger Sanyo Xacti models we’ve tried. Rather than the canny half camera/half camcorder split central button of the bigger models, here there’s a rocker mechanism to switch modes. It’s not as good and you’re now really using this option to trigger a photo rather than to switch between two, equally good types of gadget.
This seems odd as all the great features of previous Xactis are included: the 8Mp camera and 10x zoom are joined by a 12-subject face chaser that works well and can can discern colours as well as people. There are seven different scene modes from sports and snow to candlelight, and the Sanyo Xacti CS1 even supports PictBridge. We got some good but not outstanding photos while our 1080 video footage looked infinitely superior to that of the unibody models.
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See also: Sanyo Xacti SH1 review