Pico projector hardware on a cellphone always sounded like pointless gadgetry to me. The same thing inside a videocam, on the other hand, actually makes perfect sense. And that's what you get with the Sony Handycam HDR-PJ50.
The built-in projector will throw up images up to 12 feet in size over any flat surface, allowing you to watch home videos as a group without having everyone hunch over your shoulder. No word on projected resolution, so we're guessing this is the same crappy VGA display as we've seen before. Hey, it's better than nothing. The blown-up video comes with accompanying audio, of course, served with the onboard stereo speakers.
Chief features of the Sony Handycam HDR-PJ50 include a 1/4-inch Exmor R CMOS sensor, a 29.8 mm wide angle Sony G Lens, optical Steadyshot image stabilization, 12x optical zoom, a 3-inch flip-out LCD and a 220GB hard drive. It can record 1920 x 1080 resolution video, complete with 5.1-channel Dolby Digital surround, and shoot stills up to 7.1 megapixels.
All the usual videocam refinements are onboard, as well, like face detection, smooth slow recording, backlight compensation and all that jazz. For ports, you get mini-HDMI for connecting to a TV, a mini-USB, external mic input and SD card expansion.
With your smartphone and your compact point-and-shoot (and DSLR) managing serviceable videos on their own, we're not sure how much you really need a dedicated videocam. In case you do, the Sony Handycam HDR-PJ50 comes bearing a unique selling point: it performs projection duties along with the video recording bit. Price is $948.
Sony HDR-PJ50V High Definition Handycam Camcorder with Built-in Projector (Black)