Sanyo’s Xacti CG20 ultra-portable dual camera is great for Web videos

I have to admit that I was pretty impressed with Sanyo‘s Xacti CG20 ultra-portable dual camera, and not just because I’m a sucker for all things that are pink. This high definition dual camera for photos and videos, is a nifty and useful device.

The unit comes in a choice of three colours, silver, gold, or pink. I reviewed the pink one and I can tell you that every time I pulled it out of my bag, it sparked conversation, mostly because of its bright, fuchsia colour, and also its small form factor.

When I took the unit on the road with me to conferences, executives, who are usually accustomed to seeing us reporters with a Cisco Flip camcorder, noticed the Sanyo device as something “new” and “neat.”

The device itself is not much bigger than any of the Cisco Flip camcorders. It fits comfortably in your hand and is smooth to the touch. The 2.7-inch wide LCD monitor on the unit can be rotated, so you can make sure you’re in the frame if you’re shooting a self-video. I really liked this feature since with the Cisco Flip, the LCD screen is part of the device, so you really can’t tell if you’re centred in the frame. The unit also has a spot on the bottom for a tripod, which makes filming longer videos easy.

The CG20 also has an SD memory card slot, which allowed me to insert a 4GB SDHC card (the device can support up to a 32 GB SDHC memory card). At a setting of 1280×720 resolution and at 30 fps (frames per second), I had just under an hour of video recording time.

The other neat thing about the CG20 is that because of its dual functionality, you can also take photos with the unit. There are standalone photo and video buttons on the device, so choosing how you want to capture something, with photo or video, just requires a single push of a button. If you’re recording something and you want to snap a photo, you can also press the camera button and take a photo while you’re taping. This functionality is extremely helpful, especially if users don’t want to carry around a digital camera and a video camcorder device, which is also a great space-saver.

For video recording, the device features a 5x optical zoom and for photos, the camera is 10-megapixels.

Because I used the device to record anywhere between a couple of five to 15 minute videos, I’m not quite sure just how long the battery lasts. On Sanyo’s Web site, using a 32GB SD memory card, shooting in full HD, the company says the battery can last up to just over four hours. The other difference between the Sanyo CG20 and the Cisco Flip is that while the Flip can be charged through USB, the CG20 can only be charged via battery charger.

There aren’t many buttons on the Sanyo camera, so it’s fairly straight-forward and easy to use. The menu button on the device brings you to a screen where users can then select and modify things such as: self-timer, focus mode, white balance, noise reduction, brightness, language, and more.

The video quality is sharp and focused and the sound isn’t bad, considering there’s no microphone jack, just the stereo microphone, which is built into the monitor. Since we were just using these videos for the Web, the video quality and sound was perfect. For users who may be looking for a device where they don’t have to be within two-plus meters of the subject(s) though, they may want to look at using another product, for better quality sound purposes.

The MSRP of the Sanyo CG20 is $299, which is noticeably more expensive than the Cisco Flip, which starts at an MSRP of $169.99. But with dual capabilities with photo and video in a single device, I think the price of $299 is justifiable.

The Sanyo CG20 dual camera device is now available from retailers in Canada including, Best Buy, Future Shop, Henry’s, Blacks, Dell (NASDAQ: DELL), and other selected retailers.

Follow me on Twitter: “>@MaxineCheungCDN

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Maxine Cheung
Maxine Cheung
Staff Writer, Computer Dealer News

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