Sony HDR-TG7 review

Sony adds built-in GPS to a slim and stylish Full HD camcorder

The Sony HDR-TG7 is, somewhat confusingly, called the TG5 over in the US

TechRadar Verdict


  • +

    Superbly detailed movies

  • +

    Impressive hybrid memory

  • +

    GPS features and potential


  • -

    Touchscreen unresponsive

  • -

    Only 4MP stills

  • -

    High-end price

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Just like its forerunner, the TG3, Sony's stylish new Full HD shooter is a camcorder with the 'wow' factor. The Sony HDR-TG7 takes the pistol-grip camcorder design and refines it so that you get a trim, slim, easy-to-use model – with an intriguing twist being added by a built-in GPS receiver.

To clear up any confusion right from the start, this is also the Sony HDR-TG5 as that's what this model is called over in the United States.

At the moment Sony is the only major manufacturer to jump on the GPS-camcorder bandwagon. It's a costly investment for consumers too: the TG7 is available for around £700, while Sony's other GPS shooter, the XR520, can cost over £1,000, whether we see more models like this depends on the success of our Sony duo.

If it's a fact that you can pick up more affordable models than the TG7 what exactly are you getting for your money?

Well, with a nod to irony, you're getting slightly less camcorder than with the TG3. Sony has shaved a few mm off the dimensions, and the TG7 is a whole 10g lighter than its predecessor. This trimming is fine but perhaps more relevant is the redefinition of the record button and zoom lever.

Sony hdr-tg7

Rather cleverly, Sony has ditched the TG3's zoom and record buttons and created a practical, user-friendly all-in-one control. One large button on the back of the camcorder activates recording, while a ridged thumbwheel goes around this button – and that's your zoom control. Beautifully engineered and a pleasure to use.

The titanium body and scratch-resistant coating remain from the TG3, so the TG7 retains a reliable build quality.

It's also got a good selection of connections courtesy of a supplied docking station. The TG7 camcorder itself just has an AV output and a charger input, which helps to keep the size of the cam down.

Sony hdr-tg7

On the dock, however, you'll find AV, USB and Component sockets, as well as a full-size HDMI socket. This means you can connect the TG7 to your high-def TV and enjoy its 1920x1080 Full HD movie power at top quality.

A further design tweak makes a significant impact on the TG7's capacity to impress: where the TG3 recorded solely to Memory Stick, this new addition features a 16GB internal flash memory, plus the ability to record to Memory Stick PRO Duo.

Sony refers to this as hybrid recording, but the reality is that your camcorder has the potential to record up to six hours of Full HD video using this method.

Looking at its button-free minimalist styling, you'd be forgiven for thinking the TG7 had very few functions. Nothing could be further from the truth – it's just that to access all the fun of the menu system you get to use a 2.7in touchscreen LCD.

The LCD provides crisp and colourful images and its 2.7in size means you keep that movie-friendly 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio. The only downside is that it doesn't respond as quickly as we'd like, and so you end up jabbing your finger repeatedly at the screen – not a good look.