Sanyo has done a good job of refining its Xacti range to meet a range of different user requirements, and the HD2000 is certainly a prime demonstration that compact doesn't have to mean low quality.
Excellent camcorder; wide range of functionality; every connection option under the sun.
Pistol grip not ideal for photos; only records to MPEG4; expensive.
Sanyo has decided that, if you're going to inflict videos of your child's last birthday or your trip to Spain on your dinner guests, it should at least be in full high definition.
The company has been updating its Xacti range of handheld camcorders for several years, and the pinnacle of its range, the HD2000, can record video in full 1080p HD resolution at 60 frames per second (fps). Furthermore, although previous Xacti cameras have been able to take stills, Sanyo is pitching the HD2000 as a proper 'dual-mode' device, with an 8-megapixel camera that feels much more integrated as opposed to just an afterthought.
Like its predecessors, the HD2000 has no internal storage of its own and records straight to SD. Sanyo hasn't included a card which, given the rather high price of the device, seems a little mean, but these are pretty cheap these days. The HD2000 can support SDHC cards up to 32GB and we would recommend at least four, preferably 8GB or 16GB, which you can pick up for around £20.
You could opt for an ultra-cheap 2GB card, but this will only give you around 11 minutes of full HD recording, or nearly half an hour at 1280x720 at 30fps. A 16GB card will give you nearly an hour and a half of recording time at its highest resolution.
To put the Xacti HD2000 to the test we took it with us to this year's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, so all of the footage from the event was shot on the device, although only at an SD resolution of 640 x 480 to keep file sizes down.
The HD2000 keeps Sanyo's pistol grip design, which makes it very portable and comfortable to hold when shooting video footage, but the same can't be said when taking stills. Most cameras have a rectangular design for a reason, because that's the easiest shape to stabilise while getting a good sense of level. As you would expect, the base has a tripod fitting to help overcome this and there is also an anti-shake option that can be turned on to minimise the effect of an unsteady hand.
The adjustable screen folds down alongside the rest of the unit when out of use. Folding the screen down immediately puts the device into standby, but the camera is up and running in just two or three seconds, a tremendous feature for those times when a perfect scene suddenly presents itself. Sanyo has done an excellent job of making sure the standby feature doesn't kill the battery, and a single charge will give you around two hours of recording time and several days' worth of standby time.
The device is a little bulky to fit comfortably in all but a voluminous jacket pocket, but certainly won't weigh down a small daypack.
The HD2000 ships with a plethora of accessories, including a docking station, charger, soft carry pouch, hand-strap and lens cover, as well as an S-Video cable, USB cable and Component cable for connecting the camera to a PC, TV or printer. Although the docking station has an HDMI port, no HDMI cable is included. There is also a remote control which can be used for recording and playback. A neat feature when using the remote to record yourself is that when the monitor is swivelled completely around to face the front, the display is flipped so that it appears the right way up.
Sanyo has also bundled in Nero Essentials 8 for basic editing and copying of recorded video to DVD.