Nowadays everybody should have a pocket camcorder. They’re fun, easy to use, and totally affordable. JVC’s first foray into that arena arrives by way of the Picsio GC-FM1. The Picsio, in which I will refer to is as from here on in, is extremely lightweight and is easy on the eyes thanks to its bejeweled-esque design aesthetic.
I really like the way the Picsio felt and held. From krinkle-cut side seam to the overall way it fit in my hand, the Picsio is ready to slip comfortably into your jeans or backpack. Aside from general aesthetics, the buttons on the Picsio were extremely flush with the body. While they felt smooth and accessible, they often times didn’t react like you wanted them to. The power button required a “hold” press but I could never get used to how long it actually took. It also took longer to power up than to shut down using the same button.
Other times hard pressing buttons led to features I never new existed on the Picsio. For example, nowhere in the “very basic” instruction manual does it describe being able to fast forward and rewind a movie using the directional pad whilst viewing. I thought it should be there so through a couple hard presses I discovered that it did indeed work. Not a big deal, but the instruction manual should have made it clear that that function was available. Other than that, the memory card slot unhinged with an ease and precision and the SD card popped out with an expected bravado.
The sound out of the speaker straight sucked. Totally distorted and hardly audible. Like my complaint with the Flip Mino there should absolutely be a headphone input. Having to listen back to audio on the Picsio was a drag. Moving on, the recorded sound appearing on the video sounded clear and totally listenable. The mic picked up most everything it needed to and I have no complaints in that area.
The video that the Picsio was capable of taking was rather impressive. Maxing out at 1080p, my videos looked great on my computer and YouTube. Image stability could have been a bit tighter, but I think that this flaw is inherent in most of these digi-pocket cams so I don’t consider it a true fault of the Picsio in and of itself. Color and contrast was generally pretty sharp. The lens itself could have been wider, but only a true purist would complain about that.
While the Picsio looks great in ample amounts of light, low levels come out really, really dark. I just can’t understand why these companies can’t design a pocket cam with an LED spotlight. Trying to record night life ends up being a real crapshoot (pun intended) without a significant light source. This we know.
Transferring files via USB was easy and self explanatory for all you Mac types using the typical drag and drop style. The size of your SD card will totally dictate how long you can film in 1080p. I was using a 2GB one and it only allowed for 7 minutes of HD shooting. Do the math, and you’ll find that you won’t be shooting Avatar 2 in one take on a Picsio. For this type of camera that is never really gonna matter because the Picsio is designed with the YouTube generation in mind. All your really gonna do is shoot stupid shit your friends do and whatever else happens on the street, and the Picsio is perfect for that.
The Picsio also shoots stills in full screen ratio. Not a lot of options, but if you need it it’s there. I really liked the Macro slider on the side of the Picsio and found it to be an essential feature that was easily accessible through the flick of the switch.
There’s no real menu to speak of, so options and modes are off the table. It comes packed with a wrist strap and a USB cable for transferring. Battery life was decent and will easily outlast any memory card you have jammed in there.
In the end, I liked the JVC Picsio. Some entry level design flaws are loudly apparent, but for the price (you can get one on Amazon for $100) the Picsio is a great choice. I’d like to see some improvements for the next iteration such as a better UI and LED spotlight to name a few so we’ll have to wait and see what JVC has planned.
- Lightweight and pretty
- Solid looking 1080p footage
- Easy file transfer
- No LED Spotlight
- Lacking instruction manual and UI menus
- Shaky image stability
Buy the Blue JVC Picsio GC-FM1 Pocket HD Video Camera here for $100!