Well I received my 900 today...yes, I ordered the 900. So here are my initial thoughts on how this compares to the CX700:
* Outdoor quality of the 900 is significantly better than the CX700. Colors are richer, more saturated and yet look very lifelike. The CX700 by comparison looks a bit washed out and pale. Additionally the 900 provides greater detail & sharpness than the CX.
* AWB works better on the 900 and does not shift like I saw on the CX700.
* The autofocus is more stable on the 900 and doesn't get wonky as you begin a zoom or pull back from a full zoom.
* The VF on the 900 is larger than the Panasonic 700, a pleasant surprise. By comparison to the letterboxed CX700, it's almost huge...well not huge, but surely larger.
* The LCD on the 900 is very nice, the extra 1/2" of real estate does make a difference.
* Low light is definitely better on the Sony. Images are much cleaner in very low light if you're stuck in a really poorly lit area. If low light is your thing, the Sony is the better choice.
* Manual options of these two has been discussed already.
* Data rates can get extraordinarily high. I saw them peak in excess of 30mbps and the PS3 does not like that. For some reason my clips gave the PS3 much more trouble than Mark's clips. I have no idea why.
* I'm not crazy about the menu system in the 900, I think the 700 was more straightforward.
On the downside, I've got an annoying rhythmic 'beep' that begins about 2 seconds into each clip. It's a very low level beep, but it can be heard and it follows a pattern almost like a heart monitor. I've heard it with autofocus disengaged or engaged, AGC on or off and I've heard it whether played back from the camera or the PS3. I'm suspecting it may be a problem with my individual unit, but I'd like to hear from other owners once they get theirs. I can't seem to upload full 1080p clips from the 900 to Vimeo. I get a 'failed' each time I try and I wonder if it's not that very high data rate that Vimeo doesn't like.
Overall a very nice bump up in quality from the Panny 700 and in conditions other than low light, definitely better IMO than the CX700.