JVC just announced a duo of new PICSIO pocket HD camcorders. The new GC-FM2 and GC-WP10 each feature a three inch touch panel, Eye-Fi wireless transfer support and up to 1080p video recording quality.
The GC-FM2 includes a built in USB transfer connector, which also doubles as its charger port. The GC-WP10 is waterproof up to ten feet/ three meters and even features a built in MP3 voice/memo recorder.
The GC-FM2 will be available early September for $179.95, making it the cheapest full HD touch screen HD camcorder on the market. The waterproof GC-WP10 will hit stores late September for $199.95.
Both cameras come pre-loaded with LoiLoScope EX for Windows for instant content uploads to YouTube and Facebook. The application also allows for video editing, special effects and DVD creation. Mac users can import and edit clips using iMovie.
The Sony Bloggie MHS-PM5 is a pocket HD camcorder with an impressive lineup of features (on paper at least). Inside the camera is a sensor capable of 5MP photos, 1080P “full HD” video, SD(HC) and Memory Stick Duo card support, one-touch uploads and a built in USB connector.
The Bloggie is Sony’s answer to the huge lineup of pocket HD camcorders that have invaded the market in recent years – a market that Sony used to dominate with their Camcorders.
The Sony Bloggie PM5 manages to stand out in the busy pocket camera market thanks to several neat innovations – its first (and easiest to notice) is a swiveling lens. Opening the lens also turns the camera on, which makes it easy to take some spur of the moment video clips.Controls and options
Controls on the Sony Bloggie are aplenty – you get a joystick for menu controls, play and menu selector buttons, a video and photo button and a power button, for when you want to do playback without opening the lens. All these buttons are in line with the long list of features found on the camera – while some pocket HD camcorders may only offer the most basic of options, the Sony Bloggie adds features like resolution selection, various playback options and of course, the ability to delete recordings, which is handy if you just recorded someone doing something you don’t want any records of.
The Bloggie feels very “Sony-ish” – I’m not sure how to describe it, but even without seeing the brand name, most geeks will be able to determine that it was made by Sony. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it just feels a little over-engineered. The battery and card slot are hidden behind a slide/tilt cover which just feels way too much for a budget camera.
Then there is the USB plug – it slides out, and is hidden by a flimsy plastic cover, something I just know will break off sooner or later. In the box is a short USB extension cable, which means you don’t have to have the Bloggie hang off the front of your computer (and risk breaking something).
In the hardware section, I’ve kept the worst for last – the screen. Oh my goodness what a disaster… The screen on the Bloggie only works well if you look directly at it – a few degrees to the left or right, and it is almost impossible to see what you are recording. This suddenly makes the swivel lens so much more convenient, because you’ll need to swivel up or down to keep the screen angled correctly.
Video and photo quality
This part is actually quite positive – both photos and videos are actually pretty decent – but you’ll need to make sure you stick to the middle of the road in quality. The 1080p setting (highest option) may sound great on paper, but in reality, the camera has a hard time keeping up with any kind of fast movement.
Of all the pocket HD cameras I’ve tested, I actually found the photo quality of the Bloggie to be the most impressive – it obviously won’t replace your day to day camera (no flash, no optical zoom), but it sure beats the quality of most mobile phones.
This clip was shot in 720p 30 frames per second – which is (in my opinion) the best setting for the Bloggie. In daylight the camera works surprisingly well – but you don’t want to use it in any dark rooms, as with most cameras in this class, the quality of dark shots is pretty poor.
The camera does feature a digital zoom, but frustratingly, it only works in the photo mode and the 720p video mode – a nice touch to include, but fairly useless in reality.
There are several reasons to like the Bloggie, and several to dislike it – so lets start with its pros:
The swivel lens is actually pretty cool – it helps with shots above your head, or self portraits. I also like that the camera takes Memory Stick Duo and SD(HD) cards – this provides some flexibility, and allows you to use cards you may already have lying around. A slightly more expensive version of the Bloggie adds a nifty 360 degree lens – which allows you to make wacky fish-eye shots.
The removable battery is definitely a pro but spare batteries are $40. The upside is that the battery pack charges any time you plug it into a USB port, and that its battery life is really, really good.
The price is a tough call – it retails for $149.99, but that is without any memory cards – so expect to invest a bit more. At this price point, there are several other options, including several with 8GB of storage built in.
Now for the cons:
No HDMI output – I feel that this one is a real missed feature – even though you can hook the camera up to your TV for non-HD playback, or pop the memory card in your computer or PS3, the lack of HDMI is just a real shame. Then there is of course the display – I won’t waste any more words on that…
I find it tough to draw any conclusions about the Bloggie MHS-PM5 – I feel like I shouldn’t like it, but it really isn’t a bad camera – it is just a camera with a ton of competition – and some of that competition offers more value for money.
Despite its shortcomings, I do like the Bloggie – it feels well made, and it doesn’t have the “toy factor” some other cameras suffer from. Bottom line – if you like the pros, go for it, but if the cons are too much to deal with, find something else, you have plenty to chose from.
Now summer is finally on its way, you are probably looking closely at the travel deals out there, waiting to pick an affordable destination (hint: check out our hot travel deals!).
Before you spend all your hard earned cash on your plane tickets, why not invest in some gadgetry to make your trip more enjoyable? Here are 10 gadgets that can help you carry more, get online (in the air), capture your fun, keep your photos safe and help power all that stuff.
Tom Bihn Tri-Star bag
Wouldn’t travel be easier if you could pack everything you need for a short trip, in one bag? Would life become perfect if that bag could be a shoulder bag, backpack and duffel bag? Then check out the new Tri-Star from Tom Bihn bags.
This 3-in-1 bag makes smart use of its space, and has room for clothes, a laptop and any other small items you want to carry along with you.
The EyeFi card is an SD memory card with a twist – built inside this tiny card is a WiFi adapter, and any time your camera is in range of a wireless access point, it sends its photos to a variety of sources. The card supports uploads to your home PC, but also to most online photo hosting sites.
For 2009, EyeFi took their excellent product, upped the storage space to 4GB, and added support for video files.
Now your camera can upload photos, as well as videos. Imaging making a funny video, and arriving home with all that content already published on Youtube!
Price: $79.95 (EyeFi 4GB Explore Video) or $99.95 (Share Video) Where: eye.fi store
The new Verizon MiFi promises to make mobile broadband easier than ever. In the past, getting online with mobile broadband involved using a USB adapter or modem card.
The MyFi combines a wireless hotspot and mobile broadband adapter in one small battery powered device. When turned on, you can get online using your WiFi enabled laptop, netbook or PDA, without having to deal with complicated software.
Price: $99.95 (after a $50 mail in rebate, and with a 2 year contract, $59.95/month for service) Where: verizonwireless.com
Pocket HD Camcorder
Still carrying a bulky tape camcorder? Dump it and invest in a new digital HD camcorder like the Creative VadoHD or the Flip UltraHD. At just over $200, these cameras make surprisingly high quality clips, and they are small enough to fit in your pocket. With no moving parts, battery life is often enough for a days worth of clips.
Once you get home, you simply pop out the built in USB plug, and copy all the clips onto your computer, ready to upload to your favorite video sharing site.
The Tekkeon TekCharge MP1800 is, despite the long name, remarkably simple. This small Lithium-Ion battery pack can charge almost any portable device. The unit comes with a variety of charging tips for mobile phones, PDA’s and smartphones.
With a whopping 4000mAh capacity, this battery pack carries enough portable juice to recharge most gadgets at least twice. When connected to an iPod or Zune, you’ll get over 100 hours extra music playback time!
My daily deal for today is for a camera I reviewed last year – the Kodak Zi6 pocket handheld HD camcorder.
This camera can record video at 720p, and 60 frames per second, which equals “real HD”.
The device has 128MB of built in memory, and an SD(HC) card slot, so you will have to invest a little more in a memory card if you plan to record more than a few minutes of content.
The camera runs off AA batteries, and a charger with 2 AA’s is included. To transfer the video off the Zi6, you simply flip the integrated USB connector out the side, and plug it into your PC. The included software allows for easy transfers to Youtube.
This $229 camera is well worth its price, but if you are looking for a way to snag one at a (much) lower price – read on!
Amazon is offering the Vado HD for $229.99 with an instant $100 discount when you use promotional code I4PQ9E3S.
Here is how to get the deal – add the Vado HD to your cart (make sure Amazon is the seller, and not a third party). Then at the final stage in the checkout process, add the promotion code in the box on the right.
It’ll take $100 off, and you can get this awesome HD camera shipped for just $129.99.