Since I wanted to test the Direct Copy function in the Sony and the USB adaptor cable is not provided, I went to Low Yat Plaza and bought the generic cable (the USB AF to 5 pin, F is for Female) to do the connection. But alas, when I hooked up the XR350 to my external HDD, nothing happened. I then checked in the AFS Forum and found that you need to get the original VMC-UAM1 cable from Sony as they must have wired the port differently from the normal. I thought I have escaped from the proprietary memory stick of the Sony but now I still need to get another Sony proprietary item, what a shame.
Not accepting defeat, I thought I can out-smart Sony. Since the same 5-pin port is used for connecting the camcorder to a PC with the USB cable that came with the camcorder, I can use this cable and use a AF-AF converter to connect to the external HDD. Thus I went and bought this converter and did the connection. Again, nothing happened and it looks like I have no choice but to get the cable from Sony. Before doing that, has any owner of this Sony range found another solution to connect an external HDD, other than using the proprietary Sony cable? Please share in the comments and help all the poor souls out there and not make Sony rich.
Below are shots of the cables I tried so it will be clearer.
From reading the manual and the AFS Forum, this Direct Copy is an improvement over the Sanyo. In the Sanyo, you must use a self-powered HDD meaning you must use the bigger 3.5" HDD while in the Sony you can also use the much smaller USB-powered 2.5" HDD. This is more convenient in terms of portability. I can only tell you more about the Direct Copy after getting the Sony cable. So hang on there.