JVC Picsio GC-FM1 review: JVC Picsio GC-FM1

Typical Price: $299.00
3.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Small and light. Optional HDMI output. Not expensive.

The Bad Footage is grainy and choppy. No supplied storage. Questionable looks. Some buttons require a firm prod.

The Bottom Line The Picsio doesn't really do anything to distinguish itself from the competition at the same price point, apart from its questionable aesthetics.

7.0 Overall

Design

Amongst the maddening throng of Flip-style camcorders, JVC's Picsio GC-FM1 stands out thanks to its ribbed chrome piping around its edge and reflective satin squares on its back. While all these fripperies make the FM1 interesting to look at it, does it actually have a great personality, sharp mind and deep intellect to back up the out-there dress sense?

On the front there's a 2-inch LCD screen that's sufficiently detailed, if not balloon-prickingly sharp. While the screen's glossy plastic works brilliantly as a mirror on bright, sunny days, it can make sizing up a shot difficult. At the very least, though, it's better than the Flip MinoHD's low resolution abomination.

JVC Picsio GC-FM1 design

We're not sold on the Picsio's aesthetics, you might think otherwise, though.
(Credit: JVC)

Underneath the screen are the power, playback, trash, grid and video/photo mode buttons, which all flank a five-way controller. It doesn't take long to learn that tapping left steps you through the various video quality levels, up and down zooms in and out digitally, and the centre button starts and stops recording. Some buttons also require a firm jab before a click is registered.

Features

Along the Picsio's right-hand edge are its outputs, an AV out, mini-USB and mini-HDMI port (composite and mini-USB cables are supplied courtesy of Japan Victor Company, HDMI is not). A swing door on the bottom hides the SD/SDHC card slot. Gift buyers beware, there's no card or internal recording memory supplied. Also, on the Picsio's base is its tripod mount, which just misses the centre line of the lens by that much.

The Picsio's battery is not user swappable and is charged via USB; in JVC's estimation it's good for 96 minutes of continuous use. Plug the GC-FM1 into a Windows machine and you'll be able to use the MediaBrowser LE software that's stored on the device, which allows you to export files to your PC or iTunes, as well as upload videos to YouTube and perform basic editing tasks. While the program won't let you set a title, it will generate YouTube "HD" format video.

Performance

A lens on the Picsio's rear feeds into a 9.725mm (1/3.2-inch) 8-megapixel sensor. Naughtily, JVC advertises the GC-FM1 as a 1080p camcorder despite the fact that it records at 1440x1080 at 30fps instead of 1920x1080.

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