In the market for a solid mid-range camcorder? Sony's Handycam 380 packs many of the features you'd need, and it ships with an optional built-in projector, too. The CX380 and PJ380 are nearly identical, with the latter model adding in a 13-lumen projector, including a video input for displaying content from smartphones, tablets, computers, or any other source with an HDMI port -- you can watch footage you record through the 26.8mm G lens, just like last year's PJ260V, but you can also use the device to output flicks, TV shows or presentations, assuming you're able to locate a dark room with a suitable projection surface. The camcorder carries over many of its predecessor's features, including an Exmor R sensor that can snap 8.9-megapixel stills, a 55/30x optically-stabilized zoom lens, a 230k-dot 3-inch LCD, 60p captures, a microphone input and 16 gigs of internal storage. This year's flavor adds an option to shoot in AVCHD or MP4, along with that aforementioned HDMI input on the PJ380 and a Multi Interface Shoe.
These cameras are a bit heftier than Sony's entry-level models, but they're still quite comfortable to hold, and the glossy black finish is elegant, albeit a bit susceptible to greasy fingers. There's a combination SDXC and MemoryStick slot on the bottom of boosting the recording space beyond the built-in 16-gig flash. Both models have audio input and HDMI out ports hiding behind the touch-enabled LCD, while the PJ380 also includes a relatively bright pico projector on the other side of the flip-out display. The cameras felt sturdy and responsive, and the PJ's projector was bright enough to make out details even in a sun-lit room, despite the tan textured wall we paired it with. Both models are set to hit stores next month, with the CX380 available in black, and the PJ380 shipping in black, white or red. For now, though, you can catch an up-close look in the hands-on gallery just below.