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Genius G-Shot DV1210 review: Genius G-Shot DV1210

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The Genius G-Shot DV1210 is a dinky camcorder that's pleasingly straightforward. It's light and easy to use, and at this price is perfect for the younger, or clumsier, user. We took it for a test drive to find out if the DV1210 has the features and the ambition to extend beyond YouTube. It's available online for around £130, a strikingly low price for a camcorder.

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5.5

Genius G-Shot DV1210

Pricing Not Available

The Good

Small and light; good battery life; user-friendly.

The Bad

No optical zoom; limited resolution; barely any features at all.

The Bottom Line

The G-Shot DV1210 is portable, light, straightforward -- and that's about it. There's no optical zoom and resolution is chopped off at the knees, but with an MP3 player built-in and at this impressive price it's perfect for YouTubers

Design
The G-Shot DV1210 is a cute little shooter with some neat design touches. It measures 125mm long and 50mm broad. It's pretty light, even when loaded up with AA batteries. The body is the standard camcorder shape, with a comfy padded hand-strap and fold-out 61mm (2.4-inch) swivelly screen.


The swivelling 61mm screen inverts when facing the other way, so you can film yourself, YouTube-style

Handily, the screen knows when it has been turned all the way round to face front, and flips the image so you can film yourself. When the image is inverted, the screen can also be folded back flush with the body, so you can look at footage without having the screen out. Up, down and select buttons are placed next to the screen, which also control flash and macro options.

The controls are really simple: on/off and menu buttons, display and playback/shooting buttons, and a rotary click switch to switch between video, still or voice recording. The play/pause button sits in the middle of this switch. A zoom/volume rocker is placed at the top for index finger operation, next to a music button and still capture button.

You have the option to use the included li-ion battery, or replace it with easily-available AA batteries should the juice run out halfway through shooting. The battery charges by sitting upright in a cute little dock. It's fairly pointless, sure, but looks ten times better than most clunky, boxy chargers.

The DV1210 makes quick-changing memory cards a cinch, thanks to a spring-loaded hatch in the side. The translucent blue hatch is another neat design touch.

Features
The DV1210 is extremely simple. It doesn't have an optical zoom, and the digital zoom cannot be used while recording. Video is recorded in MPEG-4 at 640x480- or 320x240-pixel resolution, and that's it. Your video can be played on a television, but not a very big one, as the resolution is so low. While it's not exactly hi-def, it's fine for footage that will end up on the Internet.

When connected to a television you can choose from NTSC and PAL television formats and record programmes. Beyond using the DV1210 as a portable media player, the only use for this function that springs to mind, in the context of such an Internet-friendly camcorder, is to capture TV content for subsequent copyright-bashing upload to the Web.

The other media features include a built-in MP3 player and FM radio, as well as a 5-megapixel still camera. White balance, exposure compensation and image quality can be altered. The camera has a shutter timer that waits 5 seconds, 10 seconds or 30 seconds.

Video and MP3 is stored on SD or MMC cards. This limits you to a maximum of 2GB storage at a time, but SD cards are relatively cheap and widely available. SD cards are also used in a wide variety of devices, making them almost the equivalent of AA batteries. There is 32MB of inbuilt memory, which records a grand total of 1 minute and 30 seconds of standard-quality footage. Not up to a wedding video, then, but more than capable of producing YouTube segments.


Performance
Lacking an optical zoom and only shooting low-resolution video, this camera wouldn't seem to do much that a camera phone couldn't do. But the resulting video is of decent quality, given the basic resolution. Colour isn't especially vibrant, and fine detail tends to smear, but when shrunk to Internet video player size, as much of this footage probably will be, the results are acceptable.

It may be fine for outdoor movies, when biking, sailing, skiing, skateboarding, or falling on to concrete, but image quality is poor in low light. Although the camera has a flash, there's no light assistance for video. This leads to darker videos often being reduced to noisy mush.

The digital zoom rocker is deceptive, as it's easy to zoom in happily and only later discover that the results are atrocious. All detail is smudged horribly. We would almost have preferred to have no zoom option at all, and for the DV1210 to make a virtue of its crude simplicity rather than sabotaging us with a subpar zoom.

Still images can be captured with a 5-megapixel sensor. Autofocus is responsive, although the shutter is rather slow. It's tricky to get pin-sharp images without any control over the shutter, especially as the shutter button's position on top of the camcorder and the way you grip it make it difficult to keep the body still. A tripod helps, but lugging a tripod around seems to go against the principles of such a light, disposable-feeling camcorder.

Battery life is pleasingly good, and the fact that the DV1210 takes AA batteries means that running out of juice doesn't have to be a big problem.

Conclusion
The DV1210 can't do much, but what it does, it does well. The various functions are so simple as to be rudimentary, and it sorely lacks an optical zoom and some kind of light for shooting in darker conditions. Our score reflects this poor feature set. But it's light and quick and produces respectable image quality within those resolution limitations.

If you have any ambitions to getting creative with your video, then the DV1210 is far too basic, but if simple point-and-shoot video primarily destined for the Internet is your intention, this camcorder is cheap enough to take into any environment without fear.

Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Nick Hide