The JVC Everio GZ-MG155 is an excellent choice for users who want a versatile camcorder.

The sleek-and-intuitive JVC Everio GZ-MG155 fits comfortably in your hand, in part because it stores files on a 30GB hard drive rather using a bulky DVD drive.

Of course, that arrangement means that you have to transfer files to a PC for backup in order to make room for newer video on the camcorder. No problem: the JVC Everio GZ-MG155 supports one-button transfer to of video files to your PC. You can also hook up the JVC Everio GZ-MG155 directly (via USB cable) to a computer-based DVD burner to create backups, bypassing the PC entirely.

The JVC Everio GZ-MG155's controls include a switch for toggling between video and camera modes, a play/record button on the side, a joystick, and function and index controls on the LCD panel. The basic controls are quite intuitive. Entering Play mode gives you easy access to recorded movie and still-image files; as with any other hard drive model, there's no rewinding or waiting for data to be written.

Switching to manual operation gives you more options, of course, although you must navigate some tricky nested menus to activate that mode. Manipulating a delicate miniature joystick on the JVC Everio GZ-MG155's LCD bezel lets you adjust white balance, add certain effects (such as sepia or strobe), manage files, or adjust zoom settings. The zoom lever atop the JVC Everio GZ-MG155's body controls the optical 32X zoom, which is fine for most purposes; the additional 64X and 800X digital zoom extensions cause images to devolve quickly into severely pixelated and unrecognisable images.

The JVC Everio GZ-MG155 earned a rating of Very Good for its video quality, with accurate colours under various lighting conditions. The camcorder comes with five white-balance presets, including a manual setting you can use to calibrate the white balance under difficult lighting conditions. If you don't need top-notch resolution, you can switch to one of the four lower-quality settings to save disc space. Still images left a lot to be desired, unfortunately, earning an overall score of Poor.

The JVC Everio GZ-MG155's low-light assist lamp worked almost perfectly in informal testing when the camcorder moved from bright to low-light areas. It has a single USB port in the front, and composite-out in the back, but you also get a well-designed docking station with outputs for USB, composite, FireWire, and S-Video. This dock reduces cable clutter when you want to set your JVC Everio GZ-MG155 up at your PC, and you can use it to charge the GZ-MG155's battery. (Alternatively you can charge the battery without using the dock.) The handy remote control gives you access to all functions.

The JVC Everio GZ-MG155's bundled software includes CyberLink's PowerCinema, PowerDirector, and PowerProducer programs (for playing and editing video), as well as programs for managing video and still-photo files and for creating DVD and hard-drive backups (all of which support Windows XP, but not Vista).

JVC Everio GZ-MG155: Specs

  • CCD: 1 x 1/6thin CCD
  • Auto / Manual exposure
  • f1.8-2.4 (Video) lens
  • Auto / Manual white balance
  • 37mm filter diameter
  • Program AE: Auto + 6 modes
  • 34x (-mm) optical zoom
  • headphone out: Yes (combined with AV)
  • 800x digital zoom
  • 1Mp still image
  • Media Card: SD (not supplied)
  • USB 2.0, S-AV out
  • Dolby Digital Stereo
  • EIS image stabilisation
  • USB streaming: Yes
  • 16:9, 2.7in Colour 16:9 screen
  • 66x71x110mm
  • Auto / Manual focus
  • 375g
  • CCD: 1 x 1/6thin CCD
  • Auto / Manual exposure
  • f1.8-2.4 (Video) lens
  • Auto / Manual white balance
  • 37mm filter diameter
  • Program AE: Auto + 6 modes
  • 34x (-mm) optical zoom
  • headphone out: Yes (combined with AV)
  • 800x digital zoom
  • 1Mp still image
  • Media Card: SD (not supplied)
  • USB 2.0, S-AV out
  • Dolby Digital Stereo
  • EIS image stabilisation
  • USB streaming: Yes
  • 16:9, 2.7in Colour 16:9 screen
  • 66x71x110mm
  • Auto / Manual focus
  • 375g

OUR VERDICT

The JVC Everio GZ-MG155 is an excellent choice for users who want a versatile camcorder that won't require them to burn DVDs constantly, and who want access to manual controls for more precise videography.

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