At CES last month, many manufacturers announced new affordable cameras that come with built-in Wi-Fi. Cameras with built-in Wi-Fi have been around for a while now, but until now they have been traditionally pricey. In the midst of all of these budget Wi-Fi camera announcements, Sony announced the MHS-TS55/S Bloggie Live HD Camera. The Bloggie Live HD is a lot different then all those cameras that were announced because it’s a camcorder first, and a camera second. Read on for our full review of the Bloggie Live HD MHS-TS55 .
The Flip camcorder may have been laid to rest, but Sony’s Bloggie series continues to thrive, and the evolution into making a Bloggie HD with Wi-Fi makes perfect sense. The Bloggie Live HD brings all the features of the Bloggie HD and throws in the ability to live stream video over Wi-Fi, along with the ability to instantly share and upload videos to the internet, without having to ever touch a computer.
Under the hood, the Bloggie Live HD Camera packs in 8GB of internal storage, a 3″ touchscreen, a flip-out USB arm, and the ability to record video at upto 1080P @30fps, as well as the ability to snap pics at 12.8MP with 4x digital zoom. A built in LED light is also included for low-light shooting. Unfortunately, there is no external mic out port. The camera also sports auto focus control which can be controlled by tapping your finger on the touchscreen.
The 3.0″ TFT LCD touchscreen makes the already very straight-forward interface on the Bloggie a pleasure to use. It also lets you playback footage on the spot. Unfortunately the Bloggie live HD’s display is not the greatest, and it’s hardly smartphone quality, but it does get the job done. Just beware that your videos will look better on your computer then they do when you play them back on the LCD.
The Bloggie Live HD uses Sony’s Exmor CMOS sensor. Videos taken outdoors tend to be sharp with good color reproduction. Indoors the Bloggie holds up pretty well in low-light conditions, but video tends to be grainy. When it comes to photos, the Bloggie’s photos can be compared to your average smartphone’s camera. When it comes to video however, the Bloggie Live HD’s video is better than the video produced by your average smartphone camcorder. We also decided to put the Bloggie’s Live HD’s video quality to the test by having it film side by side along the iPhone 4S. Video produced by the Bloggie Live HD proved to be sharper, brighter and have better color reproduction than the 4S. That said, the 4S still produces very good HD video. Check out the video below for more.
Aside from recording HD video and snapping pics, one of the Bloggie Live HD’s biggest features is that it makes it easy to share video and photos. Once connected to Wi-Fi, you can use the interface to upload your media to Facebook, YouTube, DailyMotion, Flickr, or Picasa Web Albums. The device also has support for uploading files to Sony’s own PlayMemories Online service which is launching this spring. All in all, we have been very impressed with how effortless it is to share videos to these online services with the Sony Bloggie Live HD.
But the most exciting feature of the Bloggie Live HD is the fact that you can use it to stream live video. The live streaming works in tandem with Qik, a popular live streaming service. We too were impressed at how seamless this experience was. Of-course you will have to sign up with Qik first before you get started, but once you do, Live Streaming on the Bloggie via Qik is easy. Afterwards you can choose to send the video you just live streamed to other services like YouTube. When logged into Qik online, you’ll also be greeted with other options to share the video you just live streamed to other services like YouTube, and you can choose to make a live streaming video either public or private. Like the Bloggie Live HD, Qik’s online service is easy to use and very straightforward.
One last feature of the Bloggie Live HD is its ability to share photos and videos with phones and tablets. The way its works is that if the tablet or phone downloads the PlayMemories Mobile app, the Bloggie Live HD can share media with it over Wi-Fi. The PlayMemories Mobile app can then take these photos or videos and upload it itself using 4G or 3G. This is a good solution if your Bloggie is in an area without W-Fi or a computer, and you are in a hurry to get some video or photos off of it and on-to the web.
Of course, you can always use the old school method of pulling files off of the Bloggie Live HD, and that is by connecting it to your computer via USB and just dragging and dropping files off of the Bloggie Live HD.
Many of us have smartphones that can live stream video by using apps from Qik, and of course all of our smartphones can upload video directly to the web. So some of you might be asking why you would need a Bloggie Live HD Camera if you have a smartphone? For one thing, the video produced by the Sony Bloggie Live HD Camera is superior to what you can find on most smartphones. Furthermore, the battery life is pretty impressive too. We got a solid few hours of filming with the Bloggie. Try live streaming on most of today’s smartphones and your phone will hardly live to tell the tale.
The reason that cheap pocket camcorders are dying is because smartphone cameras are getting better and better, and eventually their battery lives will too. That means that we don’t think that the Sony Bloggie Live HD will be around forever. However, for the meantime the device produces significantly better video than what you can get from most smartphones. All in all, while the Sony Bloggie Live HD is hardly a prosumer device, it tackles all of its features with aplomb and manages to be an easy-to-use device to boot. The Sony Bloggie Live HD MHS-TS55 is available for $249 at Amazon.
The Good: Easy to use with straight forward touchscreen interface, produces VERY good quality HD video, live streaming and direct uploads work well, good battery life
The Bad: Limited to just 8GB of storage, no external mic option, LCD display is meh, battery is not removable, camera snaps are not the Bloggie’s strong point