The specs for this camcorder are exciting; the images, sadly, are not really much better than standard definition images. If you want something to capture video for the web, and that allows you to do more tweaking than you can with simpler camcorders like the Flip Mino, then this would not be a bad choice. Just don't expect it to give you truly high quality images. Also, the onboard memory holds next to nothing, so when buying this camcorder you should factor in the price of at least an 8GB SDHC card to store the video you shoot. Overall, I think this would be a very good camcorder for beginners, since it is easier to work with flash memory than to mess around with tapes, and since practicing with the functions here will prepare one for using a more advanced camcorder when the time comes (and the budget allows). It does look good, and is fairly well designed. For many purposes this would be just the thing.
I shot some footage with this in its "SD" 30fps mode and its "HD" 30fps mode (which uses a lot more memory per minute of video), and played it all back on my 42" SANYO LCD HD television using an HDMI cable. What surprised me was that I could distinguish very little overall difference in quality. There was more contrast in the HD picture, which is important, but otherwise I couldn't tell a difference - at least, I couldn't say for sure which video images I preferred. In a situation where my aim was just to capture what's going on, I'd be as happy with a Flip as with this (of course with the Flip there is next to no zooming, so it wouldn't work in every situation). But if the idea was to create a certain "look" or adapt to the needs of a unique situation (e.g. bright lights against darkness, very bright sun or snow, etc.) then it would be nice to have the flexibility of the controls on this one.
Some people think that what really matters in a camcorder is the resolution. 720 pixels or even 1080 pixels sounds a lot better than 480p - this one can be set to shoot at 720p, which is, technically, "HD" - but, as it turns out, that's just one factor in a much more complex equation. The quality and size of the lens, the quality of the processor, the size of the sensor, are all factors that contribute to the overall character of the picture you can get from a camcorder. What that means is that just because a camcorder is "HD" doesn't mean it will give you the best in quality.
I shot this video comparison you see here at a local nature park, using both the HD and the SD mode of the Sanyo TH1 and also shooting for comparison roughly the same images with my Flip Mino. It's hard to really see all the differences here on the small screen (especially given that I had to compress the video for playback on the web), but I find that even when I play it at best quality on my big screen TV it is hard to say which images I prefer. They all have a fair amount of grain to them, and none even come close to the quality of the images I can get on my Canon VIXIA HF10, but they all look okay and for some uses just fine. The critical point for me is that between the three, even though there were some detectable differences, I couldn't decide which I liked best. (You will note in this video the obvious difference in aspect ratios, since the HD footage is widescreen and is here letterboxed so it will fit in the same size screen as the SD footage; another feature is that in bright sunlight the Flip images are pretty washed out, but they are about equivalent in normal light conditions and even relatively low light conditions).
For the purposes of this test I had all the settings on automatic, and only changed the video capture setting from HD to SD between shots, but it's worth noting that unlike simpler camcorders the TH1 does give you some flexibility with the images, allowing for all the standard adjustments (white balance, exposure, etc.) and the usual settings (sports, snow, fireworks, etc.) and effects (transitions, sepia, b/w, etc.). It has an impressive 30x optical zoom - though it's not wise to zoom that far unless you've got it on a tripod because at that focal distance the image stabilization can do nothing for the shakes.
This is advertised as a dual purpose camcorder, meaning it shoots both video and photos, but it is worth noting that the photos are very poor quality - not even as good as you get with most cellphones these days (technically, they are shot on a 1.1 MP sensor and blown up to 2.0 MP photos, and while the number of pixels is not the most important thing it is not unimportant and that is pretty low). One other secondary purpose is served by the fact that you can set the camcorder to record only audio, which uses much less memory than shooting video and audio at the same time. So this could also serve as a "dictaphone" or recorder. For that purpose it does well enough - and the onboard mike seems to be comparable to other camcorders in its price range. But apart from a possible use as a dictaphone, for all intents and purposes this is a camcorder that ostensibly shoots in HD but is probably best suited for video intended only to be screened on the web or personal computer or where the overall quality of the images is not of utmost importance.