Pros 1). Picture quality is stunning
2). Audio recorder works great
3). Glorious full HD 1920x1080p
4). Slow motion shot is amazing
5). Easy to operate, small, light weight, compact
6). Extremely powerful for the price
Cons 1). Focus is a little tricky and there is no manual focus ring
2). No headphone output to monitor your recording
Summary After an extensively research over the internet I bought this Sony HDR CX160 camera in Miami on March 16, and after six months of continuous use I can only say that I am extremely satisfied with the product. It is really small and light, easy to carry around. I bought a Sony Handycam bag and it is really huge for this little camera, which was really convenient because I can carry an extra battery, one 16GB SDHC card, a tiny tripod, cleaning clothing and a shoulder strap. Do not be mistaken: the Sony HDR CX-160 is little, but extremely powerful for the price.
Be careful to use always the hand strap so you can prevent it from falling off. I almost died of distress last week when it slipped from my fingers but luckily I managed to attenuate the fall with my left foot, it bounced and landed nicely on the carpet floor, not a single scratch.
I shoot all my videos on PS mode (60p @ 28Mbps), I like to record my memories on the best quality possible, the future generations of the family will be grateful and remember me with respect for this decision. The picture quality is stunning and the glorious full HD 1920x1080p looks fantastic on my LCD TV.
The touchscreen is prone to be covered by smudges, I use it to shoot the daily growing of my children and my greasy paws do not help to keep it clean at all.
The USB cable is nice but is too short, you can only use it with a portable computer or a tablet, placing the camera next to it, with a desktop you have to use the extension cord otherwise the camera would be hanging.
The active steadyshot is pretty cool, it can really minimize the effects of hand shaking and trembling individuals.
The slow motion shot is amazing, athough of inferior quality compared to PS mode. I had the opportunity of shooting a parade in Bogota, a clumsy clown on stilts got distracted watching some lady on the crowd, tripped and fell spectacularly, I got it all on film and it is a laughing matter for our enjoyment. I can not share the video out of respect with the clown.
I gave this impressive camera five stars, it gives a high value for your money, has many advanced features compared to other brands below the same tag price.
*Note, if you're will buy the Sony HDR-CX160, for cheap price I suggest you have to check it before you decide at: ***************.info/sony-hdr-cx160/
Pros Quality HD pic for the price. Light. Very good auto focus. Smooth zoom. Decent value. (When it works)
Cons Camera would overheat and turn off radomly. Horrible support. SONY SERVICE HAS SUCKED! 3-4 WEEKS after 9 days of evaluation.
Summary The camera in practice is excellent. However, this is absolutely my last Sony product. The service is the worst I have ever experienced. The reps are apathetic at best. Sony does not care about the quality of their service. 3-4 weeks after having the camera for 9 days!!!!! Are you kidding. The camera was used 6 times and started overheating. I am done after 20 years of loyal brand following.
Pros Image is clear on computer
Cons Image is not clear enough on 1080p TV. It is very inconvenient to delete files on the camcorder after the image files are transfered to computer.
Summary It automatically extract pictures from video. The auto catched pictures mixing with video make you hard to handle the video. Huge files in the small screen make difficulty for identifying what is the basic, with are drived from video, and full up the small screen. I wonder if the auto extraction function can be turn off.
You can't just select files for deleting. You have to play a video, then touch the garbage can on the screen. The screen asks you delete "this image" or "multiple images". After touching the "multiple images", a lot of files (video and pictures) show up; it is a huge work to select the files one-by-one, it is hard, too, due to the upper left corner small select box, plus a huge amount of auto catched pictures.
If you select "delete files after transfering" on computer, it only delete the video files. However, each video file comes with 2 small size auxiliary files, and these two auxiliary files can't be deleted automatically with the video files from computer. These files leaving on camcorder cause big confusion and make the files handling more difficulty. The can be deleted unless formatting the storage (memory).
The camcorder response is slow. After press the recording button, screen still show STBY (standby, in green). It mis-leads you think that "I didn't press the recording button effectively, then press again. Actually, the first time press does activate the recording. it needs to take a while to show REC (in red). The 2nd time press does bring the camcorder back to STBY. No recording happening. It caused me several time to miss important recording!
The zoom control stick is not that good to control. Can't be easy to get very smooth control.
Pros Wide angle coverage, zoom, recording quality in normal light, battery life
Cons Not so good recording in low light, bad in sunlight
Summary Bought this due to low price for product features and believing in Sony's old reputation. I was particularly looking for OIS and low light recodring quality. Very much impressed with the wide angle coverage in mountain and other scenic areas. High zoom recording quality is good but it is very hard to keep it stable - you need a tripod or some support to enjoy high zoom recording. Playback quality through A/V cord is excellent when recorded in normal light. Battery appeared to last for ever during recording.
I find low light recording is not as nice as I expected after reading several reviews before buying the camcorder. It looks more like looking at the the scene through a white screen. But acceptable considering that competing products at the comparable price may not offer better choice. Not sure if the camcorder has an option to disable low light shooting. If yes, I will try it. Recording quality in sunlight is really bad. Parts of the scene exposed to sunlight are bright white and lots of details are lost, whereas it doesn't appear so to normal eyes.
Further during playback, the scenes, and even worse only parts of some scenes become suddenly bright or dark even if actual lighting didn't change during recording. This is very annoying.
Probably camcorder is trying too much auto correction during recording which is actually messing up with the natural looks.
For some reasons, after transferring the recording to laptop, playback on laptop has more flickers than when playing back on HD TV through A/V cable. Probably I need to pay for a better software to transfer the video to laptop/DVDs.
I wish I find some yet unexplored features on the camcorder which avoids unnecessary digital corrections like in low light and sun light, or I find another software to undo the unwanted corrections.
Overall, the camcorder provides good features and value for the price with some drawbacks. It depends on your preferences whether to go for this. I will definitely explore other products next time, though may finally end up with this camcorder (I know there will be a different line of products in future, but I am talking in equivalent terms).
Pros Sony menu still is one of the best with quick responsive commands and a wonderful interface. Sony build quality is very good. Excellent (did I say EXCELLENT) image stabilization!
Cons Everything was SOFT in HD quality. Nothing was sharp at a distance until you came in really close and then there was detail. It always appeared to be standard defination both inside and out.
Summary Just not worth the $450 to $500 range (Costco had it in June 2011 at $450 with a free case).