|White balance||Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent, Incandescent, Underwater|
|Focus||Fixed (4.9 feet to infinity)|
|Lens cover (auto or manual)||None|
One of the key reasons people get a shoot-and-share minicamcorder like the DV1 is for the simple editing, organizing, and uploading software usually embedded on the device. The DV1 has on-device software, but it's Google Picasa, which only handles photos. A software disc is included with a full user manual, ArcSoft MediaImpression, and Apple QuickTime player. This version of MediaImpression, like Picasa, is for photos, leaving you just QuickTime for viewing. There is no movie-editing software or anything to facilitate transferring to a computer or uploading to sharing sites.
Of course, you don't need software to get your photos and videos off the device. You can just take out your SD card and stick it in a card reader or connect the DV1 to a computer via the pop-out USB connector and drag and drop your files from the camera. It's located under a locked door on the left side along with a Mini-HDMI port. (A door on the right side protects the SD/SDHC card slot.)
The USB connector is used for charging, too, and an extension cable is included to make it easier to plug into your computer or the bundled wall adapter. The battery is sealed in the device, which is irksome mainly because battery life is so short. GE rates the life at 29 minutes when recording in full HD. During testing I recorded in a mix of resolutions and it lasted longer than 30 minutes, but not by much.
As for the rest of its design, the DV1 isn't bad, but it could be improved. The casing is a bit slick with nothing to help grip on the back or sides--not really what you want for a rugged device. The controls are easy enough to understand. In the center you have a directional pad with a record button in the center. The pad is used for menu navigation as well as controlling the 4x digital zoom, changing white balance, and viewing a histogram. It feels spongy, likely due to the DV1's waterproofing. To its left is a rocker button for shooting still photos and reviewing your recordings; an identical button is on the right side for opening the menu system and deleting files. To shoot a video you just need to turn it on (it starts up in a couple seconds) and press record.
However, when you turn it on, the bottom third of the screen is covered in miscellaneous setting information laid out in strangely divided boxes. That means that only about two thirds of the screen is for framing shots, while the rest is cluttered with information that's probably of little importance to the majority of its targeted users.
On the other hand, the DV1 does offer more settings than most in this category. Too bad its menus are oddly arranged. For example, you might expect video setup options to be the first thing you find, but instead you get two sets of photo settings. It's not that it's difficult to navigate, just somewhat confusing and unnecessary for a pocket video camera at this price.
The GE DV1 is an OK minicamcorder for Web video. If it weren't for the rugged construction and low price I'd say skip it altogether. But if you want something inexpensive for YouTube moments at the beach, pool, or hiking, it's sufficient.
Find out more about how we test camcorders.