The Sony HDR-TG3E is a tiny HD camcorder that comes with a stack of extras.

It's the shape of the Sony that drives everything. You flip and twist the LCD screen, which automatically turns on the power and then you hold the camcorder vertically like a six shooter.

This means the base is tiny, so it sports a proprietary port and docking station.

Connectivity options

In an ideal world you connect all of the cables to the three ports on the dock. There's a USB port, a power port for charging and an AV port that gives you a choice of two cables.

One has a composite cable and RCA stereo and the other has RCA and Component. Sony includes a Component-to-SCART adapter in the package.

If that's not enough, you can also use the mini HDMI connector on the body of the HDR-TG3E. You also have the option of plugging the power and AV cable into ports on the side of the camcorder.

The functions are controlled by the touchscreen which is much more successful than some rival systems.

Sony supplies a 4GB Memory Stick Duo card that will give you enough space for half an hour of 1080 HD footage.

Great value camcorder

We were impressed by the quality of the movies we took. No doubt the Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens played its part, but the Sony Intelligent Face Detection system also did a fine job. We could see it working as it placed a white box around as many as eight faces in each scene.

The real surprise is that you can buy the Sony for less than £500 and we consider it good value indeed.