Webbie HD: First Look

by on February 16, 2009

Showing my complete lack of self-control I traveled to the local SonyStyle store and purchased Webbie HD. I pan on doing a comprehensive review shortly, but with a project coming to a head this week, my idea of shortly may be different from yours. So here is the first look:

What is It

If you go to the SonyStyle site they provide this quick description “The pocket-sized Webbie HD camera is your perfect companion, ready to record antics at a moment’s notice. Not only does it record HD MP4 video that plays nicely with sites like YouTube, it also snaps off sharp, 5-megapixel still shots with ease.” The point is ease of use in both shooting and uploading footage. This is not going to replace a more expensive video camera.

Ease of Use

I unboxed, charged and then used it to take some video without checking the manual. I like to give gadgets a first go around without reading the manual. Kind of ironic for someone who makes his living writing manual and training guides, but I like to get a feel for how well the device is designed.

It’s pretty straightforward to shoot with a clear movie and photo button. There is also a button marked with a play button that should be obvious for folks that have used a digital still or video camera. The camera is very right-handed (which is OK for me). I find the movie button is not in a very convenient location.

When you flip open the LCD, the camera turns on. And start up is very fast. By default the camera shots 720p video and 5 megapixel stills. You will not discover how to change this without cracking the manual.

First Shots

My first run was a couple of videos, and then I just installed the software on the CD, and uploaded to YouTube. I was curious as to why there was no YouTube option initially (more on that later) so I ended up uploading the MP4 and letting YouTube convert it. It wasn’t low light, but not a real brite scene.

My next go around I found the YouTube uploading option, but it would not work with my YouTube account. This is because my account is logged in through my Google account, and the software does not support that.

I created a new YouTube account for uploads, and even received a few comments about the device. Here are some early samples:

This is the first video I shot. I wish it would handle low-light better, but it is limited by the small sensor:

This is a better shot, there was better light. Both clips display how good the sound is:

Finally, a clip from far away, in a conference room as David Pogue sings 1 1/2 songs (I missed the beginning of the first):

You can see in that shot that the focus can be a little sluggish, and hard to keep steady at full zoom.

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