JVC Everio GZ-GX1 - overview
Sitting at the top of JVC's Everio HD with Wi-Fi range is the GX1. It's a well-featured compact camcorder with a large 1/2.3in CMOS sensor and JVC's Wi-Fi monitoring trickery.
JVC Everio GZ-GX1 - design and build
At first glance its big 3in LCD display with metal effect edging looks almost as though JVC has glued an iPhone 4 to the side of its compact camcorder. In use this sharp, bright LCD display makes it easy to see what's in shot. It doesn't add much to the weight, either – the GX1 is relatively light at just 235g including battery.
JVC Everio GZ-GX1 - controls
The GX1 allows manual control over the likes of focus, shutter speed and aperture, the latter going down to F1.2 for artily shallow depth of field effects. But like almost all its other settings, they're buried within its painfully clunky and slow-to-respond touchscreen menu system. The only two features that get a physical shortcut button are the image stabilisation and "silent mode" which turns off the camcorder's beeps and dims its screen.
The manual control features will appeal to more ambitious camcorder users, but without a dial or lens ring like the one found on Panasonic's X900 they're not easily enough adjusted to be of use in a real shooting situation. To get to any useful settings you'll have to skip past the first menu which contains a handful of little-used shortcuts including Wi-Fi settings, smile shutter and special effects that let you doodle on screen as you film or add face-tracking graphics like a pair of comedy glasses with nose attached.
JVC Everio GZ-GX1 - video
Gripes about the menu aside, the GX1's large 1/2.3in sensor produces excellent results and its Intelligent Auto mode copes well with changes of scene. In daylight colours are spot on – vibrant and accurate – and there's bags of detail. It does admirably even in low light, especially when compared to other camcorders of the same size. However, perhaps as a result of the larger sensor, you're limited to a 10x optical zoom. Small compared to some, though there are few instances when more than this is required during normal shooting.
JVC Everio GZ-GX1 - battery life
Battery life is unimpressive, lasting less than an hour-and-a-half of varied use, although there's plenty of scope for slotting in a higher capacity cell to extend life. Meanwhile, easy-to-use time lapse and high speed recording modes will be a welcome addition for creative users.
JVC Everio GZ-GX1 - Wi-Fi
One of the more unusual features on offer is the GX1's WiFi capabilities. Downloading the JVC Everio Sync app for your iOS or Android device will let you use it as a monitor, and even control zoom and video or stills recording. This can be done directly between phone and camcorder, or through local wireless networks meaning that you can potentially see through its lens from anywhere in the world.
Another option sets the GX1 to email a short video clip or still image to a chosen address when motion is detected. Great for a crude home security setup or just to make sure you're the first to know when your dog decides to turn your sofa inside out while you're at work.
JVC Everio GZ-GX1 - verdict
The GX1 produces brilliant video in its very adaptable Intelligent Auto mode, and the Wi-Fi options are well implemented. However the lack of usable manual control and the clunky menu system mean that more serious camcorder users should look elsewhere unless they're specifically after a camcorder with Wi-Fi skills.