Sanyo's Xacti WH1, an HD camcorder that claims to be waterproof to upto 3 meters or 10 feet of water, can be the best gadget to buy this season. But is it a good camcorder or just a gimmick? That's the question I'm looking to answer in this review.
Unlike their previous Waterproof Camcorder, the CA65, the Xacti WH1 sports a more traditional design, with the palm-grip on the right and the screen flapping out on the left. Though this design seems a lot more comfortable for lengthy shoots, I really liked the casual feel of the CA65 as well. That said, the new design is an improvement.
Considering that the camera is waterproof, it's obvious that it would be sealed from all sides. But what I like here is that the camera manages to keep everything safe from water, it doesn't get painful to access the hidden parts. The battery, memory card, output ports are all quite easy to access, but of course, be careful not to compromise any of the sealed parts when in water.
What I did find odd, was that there's no lens cap. It may not be the most important aspect of a camcorder, but it gets quite annoying wiping the fingerprints off the lens every time before using the camcorder.
The 2.5-inch screen sports a 4:3 aspect ratio, which seems quite odd considering that the camera's native resolution is 1280x720 - a widescreen resolution.
The camcorder controls are very well placed, though they can get a bit confusing. For example, when going through the video menu, the play button doesn't play the selected file, but the set button does. I'm not sure if it's just me, but it took me a while before I figured out that the little ring around the set button was the navigational control. Still, once you get the hang of it, you will agree that the controls are comfortably placed.
Overall the Xacti WH1 isn't exactly stylishly designed or looks like anything out of the ordinary. But considering that the meat of the camera is not in its looks, but its performance, I wouldn't consider that a very negative point.