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Sony Handycam HDR-XR520

alaTest has collected and analyzed 209 reviews from magazines and websites. People really like the design and resolution. The memory and image quality also get good feedback. There are some mixed comments about the color and portability. There are some less positive views about the battery and value for money.

usability, image quality, memory, resolution, design

value for money, battery

We analyzed user and expert ratings, product age and more factors. Compared to other Camcorders the Sony Handycam HDR-XR520 is awarded an overall alaScore™ of 90/100 = Excellent quality.

See all Sony Camcorders

Review analysis

(Based on 209 reviews)

Expert Reviews  

User Reviews  

Showing 66 review(s)

Expert Reviews User Reviews
Showing 1 - 10 of 66 Show Reviews: in English | in other languages (34)

Expert review by:

Sony Handycam HDR-XR520V


Massive storage capacity, good manual control placement, optical viewfinder

Tricky user interface, heavy, short battery life, unremarkable HD video performance

Expert review by:

Sony Handycam HDR-XR520V


In what's probably the most interesting development in consumer camcorders thus far in 2009, Sony serves up the Handycam HDR-XR500 series, a pair of hard-disk-based AVCHD camcorders that integrate the dual firsts of built-in GPS and a new Exmor-R...

First-rate video quality and performance; geotagging videos is fun, if limited

Annoying menu system; no wind filter; no manual shutter-speed, iris, or audio controls; relatively big and heavy; expensive

Though their geotagging capabilities are mostly novelty and their interfaces could use a complete overhaul, the top-notch video quality, performance, and consumer-friendly feature sets of the Sony Handycam HDR-XR500V and HDR-XR520V make them worthy...

Expert review by:

Sony HDR-XR520V


Handheld cameras are coming down in price, making the newer versions more affordable for anyone looking to enter the market. Despite is bulky appearance, the 240GB HDR-XR520V is a fully capable High Def handycam that can accomplish your image capture...

240GB HarddriveGeo-tagging via inbuilt GPSFully HD Capable12 megapixel Image capture

A little bulky

The Sony HDR-XR520V handycam with built-in harddrive also offers an inbuilt


Expert review by:

Sony Handycam HDR-XR520V Camcorder Review


The Sony HDR-XR520V (MSRP $1499.99) packs a lot of punch-and a lot of hard drive capacity-into a relatively small consumer camcorder. The retractable viewfinder and the return of last year's excellent manual control dial are just a couple of the...

The Sony HDR-XR520V (MSRP $1499.99) is a camcorder that will please some, disappoint others, and make still others feel a little wary. Sure, most camcorders can't please every kind of user, but the XR520 is particularly divisive: its viewfinder and...

Expert review by:

Sony HDR-XR520V Handycam First Impressions Camcorder Review


The HDR-XR520V is the new top-dog HD camcorder from Sony. It packs a 240GB internal hard drive into a fairly compact frame and offers new Exmor R technology on a 1/2.88-inch CMOS sensor. The new sensor as well as improved processing is designed to...

The HDR-XR520V has a lot riding on its new Exmor R sensor technology. How much work Sony truly put into improving the imager will be revealed once we get a model into our testing labs. If things have really improved as much as Sony says they have, then...

Expert review by:

Canon ZR400 Camcorder Review


The ZR400 is Canon's top of the heap ZR model this year, and it shows. The ZR400 includes everything the ZR300 does, including an improved imager and better still performance. For Elura performance in a ZR body, check the ZR400 out.

Expert review by:

Review: Sony Handycam HDR-XR520V HD camcorder


Sony's Handycam HDR-XR520V is a monster when it comes to storage capacity, with a 240GB hard drive.

In the hand, the HDR-XR520V looks and feels pretty portly, too, although its bulk makes it easy to hold. Strangely, its zoom toggle button is narrower and trickier to access comfortably than the HDR-CX520V, and you’ll find your fingers and thumbs...

Expert review by:

Sony Handycam HDR-XR520V Review


Sony Handycam HDR-XR520V reviewed by ConsumerSearch, which notes pros and cons, along with reviews and ratings for the Sony Handycam HDR-XR520V and comparisons to other HD Camcorders

29-hour best-quality recording time; Low-light video virtually free of noise; Limits hand shake better than others; Easy to use

Expensive; Overall video quality lags behind Canon; Lacks some common manual controls

Expert review by:

Sony HDR-XR520V


The Sony HDR-XR520V (MSRP $1499.99) is a camcorder that will delight some and disappoint others. Sure, most camcorders can't please every kind of user, but the XR520 is particularly divisive: its viewfinder and control dial are alluring to videophiles,...

Let's start with the features that might be an irresistable siren song for beginners. The built-in GPS lets you add a geo-tag to your video clip so you can keep track of exactly where you were at the time of filming. Most of the XR520's controls are...

Expert review by:

Sony HDR-XR520V


Great features, low noise, smooth motion, and a gigantic 240 GB internal drive

240 gigabytes of internal memory; Excellent motion and sharpness; A great lens ring for fine control

Menus and buttons a jumbled mess

Product Specifications

Shoot like a pro and record your memories directly to hard disk drive with the HDR-XR520V Handycam camcorder. This impressive camcorder is capable of recording up to 96 hours of high definition (HD) video in HD LP mode. Equipped with an advanced 1/2.88" Exmor R CMOS sensor, you can capture stunning 1920 x 1080 HD video and 12.1-megapixel still images. Additionally, a built-in GPS receiver helps you keep track of your current location and even remembers where you shot your videos while the professional-quality Sony G lens delivers superior optical performance.

Audio Input

Microphone Operation Mode:Surround


Battery Form Factor:Manufacturer specific
Manufacturer Battery Name:Sony NP-FH60

Camcorder Features

High Definition Video Support:1080i
Low Lux / Night Mode: Yes
Widescreen Video Capture: Yes

Camera Flash

Type:Built-in flash

Digital Storage Media

Type:Hard disk drive

Dimensions & Weight


Display (Projector)

Diagonal Size:3.2in
Diagonal Size (metric):8.1cm
Display Form Factor:Rotating
Technology:TFT active matrix
Type:LCD display

Exposure Parameters

Shooting Programs:Beach / Fireworks / Landscape / Portrait mode / Snow / Spotlight / Sunrise / Sunset / Twilight mode/Beach / Fireworks / Landscape / Portrait mode / Snow / Spotlight / Sunrise / Sunset / Twilight mode / Twilight portrait


Packaged Quantity:1
Product Line:Sony Handycam

Lens System

Lens Aperture:F/1.8-3.4
Max Focal Length:60mm/66mm
Min Focal Length:5.5mm
Optical Zoom:12
Type:Zoom lens

Optical Sensor

Camcorder Effective Still Resolution:6Megapixel
Camcorder Effective Video Resolution:4.15Mpix
Camcorder Sensor Resolution:6.631Mpix
Optical Sensor Size:1/2.88"/1/2.9"
Optical Sensor Size (metric):8.8 mm ( 1/2.88 ) / 8.8 mm ( 1/2.88" )/8.8 mm ( 1/2.9 ) / 8.8 mm ( 1/2.9" )
Optical Sensor Type:Exmor R CMOS
Sensor Qty:1CMOS

Optical System

Built-in Optical Image Stabilizer: Yes
Image Stabilizer:Optical (Steady Shot)

Storage Floppy Drive

Type: None

Video Input

Digital Scene Transition:Black fader / White fader
Digital Video Format:AVCHD / MPEG-2
Digital Zoom:150
Face Detection: Yes
Media Type:Flash card / Hard disk drive
Shooting Modes:Digital photo mode
Still Image Format:JPEG


Viewfinder Color Support:Color
Viewfinder Type:Electronic/LCD