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Action cameras are increasingly popular for capturing the essential footage from your latest and greatest day out on the bike. The likes of GoPro have been setting the standard for some time but here's a major electronics manufacturer entering the fray with the JVC ADIXXION GC-XA1.
First impressions out of the box are good. It has a compact feel to it, the small body is easy to handle and the controls are all set out on the top of the camera. This is the second version of the camera and there are numerous features to cover off.
Given its relatively small size, it still packs in a 1.5inch LCD screen. This gives you just about enough room to see adequately and edit your next Spielberg epic. To assist you in this process, the JVC is waterproof to 5 metres. I can't vouch for this aspect as even on my rides I have not crossed through any rivers.
You get a a 5 megapixel camera, that's an increase on the previous model. You get full HD mode and the range of settings is impressive. All that said the feature I did have problems with, was the built in wifi. Using the software preloaded on the JVC you should be able to control and view footage through a wifi network or directly but the connection proved to be a little flaky.
The JVC comes with two mounting positions, one on the bottom of the unit and another on the side. The range of fittings supplied with the camera include an adhesive plate, a goggle mount and an adjustable mount that I used on the helmet. As seems to be the norm for everyone except GoPro, there is no handlebar mount which is disappointing - particularly that when we started testing the JVC in the summer its retail price was £100 more than the Go Pro HD Hero.
Wearing the camera on the helmet does make a noticeable difference and causes a fair amount of wobble. This was reduced by tightening the fit but could be uncomfortable on longer rides.
Depending on the video resolution chosen in conjunction with a 2Gb SD card the length of recording time available is:
FHD 1080 x 30 gives 17m 47s
HD 720 x 60 gives 20m 06s
WVGA 848 x 480 gives 1hr 36m
Once you've decided on the quality of recording you're aiming for you're set to go. The battery life is sufficient to cover the record time, averaging between an hour and a half and two hours. How does the JVC ADIXXION GC-XA1 fare in the shooting stakes?
The ADIXXION GC-XA1 has a built in digital stabilizer that helps reduce the vibration picked up by the camera when recording. The 5x zoom gives plenty of scope to get the right focus and in short bursts there is plenty of capacity both on the card and with the battery. When you move the camera too quickly in record mode there is a slight lag as the lens adjusts to the change in light. When it does the picture is more than watchable for most uses, be they YouTube or your daily commute. Audio pickup is not great unless the action takes place in close proximity. Not a game changer as most people will probably prefer their own soundtrack rather than patchy sound.
The battery and card are housed in a secure area behind a cover but this can be accessed easily. The battery provided will be enough for short clips rather than an all day epic, certainly not without an upgrade.
Despite what we felt were it's limitation the JVC ADIXXION GC-XA1 will provide enough functionality at a high enough quality to tick a lot of boxes for many people especially now its price has dropped significantly
An impressive range of functions but can start to feel heavy after a while when helmet mounted and the lack of other mounts in the box is disappointing.
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Make and model: JVC ADIXXION GC-XA1 Action Camera
Size tested: black
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Those riders who want to capture their ride or part of for showing all their mates. Its ideal use is more likely to suit those wanting to record their commute.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Decent camera, zoom and definition add up to an impressive list of functions. Choosing your recording quality allows you to go for high definition or reduce the quality and allow you to save a lot more footage. Control is easy through the menu system and the buttons located on the top of the unit.
Both sturdy and waterproof to 5m. This makes it an able, rugged unit that is ideal for outdoor use.
Overall the camera has a great lens. It is able to capture good quality footage but can struggle to adapt quickly enough to changes in light and shade.
The JVC ADIXXION GC-XA1 has proved a tough, compact unit. The rubber outer seems able to cope with most conditions including rain.
It isn't the heaviest camera but if you don't have an option to use on the bars or a harness you would feel the weight over an extended period of time.
Given the choice in this price range the JVC ADIXXION GC-XA1 suffers a little by direct comparison. There are other makes which will offer an improved package at less money (judged by its original retail priced of £299.99). This isn't to say the GC-XA1 doesn't lead the way in some functionality but overall it feels like it lacks a little punch.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The camera delivers a decent quality recording, is neat and compact but struggles to reach the standards set by other more established models in the outdoor camera market place.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The ease of use and menu system are intuitive which make it easy to set up and go.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The lack of alternative camera mounting options - such as a bar mount - in the box
Did you enjoy using the product? On the whole, yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Not given the pricing and competition.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Not really.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
The JVC promises much and mostly delivers but the newer model may fill the gaps.
Age: 44 Height: 178cm Weight: 80kg
I usually ride: Currently riding a Pinnacle Evaporite Three My best bike is: As above
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, commuting, sportives, mtb, Not yet but looking to dip my toe in the world of TT