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

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JVC Picsio GC-FM1 (blue)

(Part #: GC-FM1AUS) Released: Oct 14, 2009
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2.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Nice size; macro mode; electronic image stabilization; takes SDHC cards.

The Bad Garish-looking design with hard-to-use buttons; lame software.

The Bottom Line The JVC GC-FM1's impractical design and poor software hobble an otherwise competent mini camcorder competitor.

5.8 Overall
  • Design 5.0
  • Features 6.0
  • Performance 7.0
  • Image quality 6.0

When jumping into a crowded market, especially one with a couple of strong players in the lead, a company has to work hard to distinguish its entries from the field. JVC successfully manages that with its debut product, the Picsio GC-FM1--unfortunately, not often in a good way.

On sight, you'd certainly never confuse this mini camcorder with comparably priced competitors like the sleek, first-generation Flip MinoHD or the bulky but top-notch Kodak Zi8. Though it comes in three attractive colors--deep purple, royal blue, and black--and an almost perfect size (a bit thicker than but otherwise smaller and about as light as a BlackBerry Pearl), its shiny faceted plastic face and wavy chrome-colored accent strip are about as sparkly as you can get without actually going the Swarovski-encrusted route. And while testing it in the park, I thought I had developed some magic squirrel-whispering powers until I realized that it was the camcorder that they were climbing the fence to see. Adult humans were less impressed, based on my casual office survey.

The wavy silver sort of camouflages the exposed USB, miniHDMI, and composite video jacks on one side and the macro switch on the other. Unlike many competitors, the FM1 doesn't have a built-in USB connector, though it includes a cable; nor does it bundle an HDMI cable like the Zi8. On the bottom is a tripod socket, hand strap connector, and a door covering the SD card slot and built-in battery.

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