Sony's new Action Cams cost less than GoPros, and one has built-in Wi-Fi

Consumer Reports News: August 29, 2012 11:08 AM

Sony today unveiled its first tiny, sports-oriented camcorders, entering a market that has until now been dominated by GoPro, which has spent megabucks at various extreme sporting events and produced some popular models. The Action Cam will come in two versions—the HDR-AS15 Wi-Fi model, $270, and the HDR-AS10 (no Wi-Fi), $200. Both are priced slightly lower than the GoPro.

Sports pocket camcorders, which are about half the size of regular pocket models, are easily affixed to sports clothing or gear but often lack an LCD or electronic viewfinder. They're targeted at athletes and adventurers who love to capture footage of themselves propelling down mountainsides, jumping out of planes, or crashing into obstacles.

The Action Cam is simple to use: Just press one button to start and stop recording. It captures full-HD resolution video (1080p at 30 frames per second). But it has some unusual features for its class, too, including image stabilization, slow-motion that maintains HD resolution (720p), and, on the step-up model, Wi-Fi capability for posting video and stills online and also for controlling the Action Cam from a smart phone.

Sony has also updated one of its SLR-like cameras, the NEX-5R, $650 (body only) or $750 (with 18-55mm kit lens). The primary change on this new 16-megapixel mirrorless model is the addition of Wi-Fi for transferring media to the Internet or a PC. There are also a swiveling touchscreen display and new autofocus system that Sony says will focus the camera more quickly and accurately.

The Action Cams will be available in September; look for the NEX-5R in October.

If you're in the market for a sports pocket camcorder—or any type of camcorder—check out our Ratings and free buying guide at ConsumerReports.org.

Terry Sullivan


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