JVC has never been a company scared of doing things a little differently. The first to put a hard disk in a consumer camcorder with its original Everio range, JVC has also frequently gone out on a limb with chassis design, such as the GC-PX10, which pretends to be a digital camera. So, although JVC has already had a crack at the rugged camcorder with the PICSIO GC-WP10A, it's no surprise that the company now has a much more unusual rugged camcorder in the shape of the enticingly named JVC ADIXXION GC-XA1BE.
The ADIXXION is really not like any other rugged camcorder on the market. Despite being about the size of two stacked matchboxes - measuring just 74 x 53 x 35mm - it still manages to pack in a very small 1.5in colour LCD, which means you can change settings using a menu system and actually see what the camcorder will be shooting, unlike almost all bullet-style action camcorders.
JVC is calling the ADIXXION's design "Quad-Proof", because it's waterproof to 5m, shockproof when dropped from up to 2m, dust proof and freeze proof. The design is certainly very rugged, and the only flap is secured by a clever double-action switch, making it highly unlikely you will open it accidentally. JVC also provides a couple of protective films and two plastic lens protectors in the box, so you can keep the unit operational in extreme conditions.
Ruggedised action cameras generally come with a host of attachments, for example the Dogcam Bullet HD Wide and Dogcam MiniDVR HD. JVC's ADIXXION doesn't include the comprehensive range of fixings that Dogcam's cameras are supplied with, but there is still plenty in the box for a wide variety of activities.
Two adhesive base plates are included, although just one mount. Presumably, the idea here is that you leave the base plates attached and move the mount between them. There is also a belt mount, which requires screwing a belt attachment onto a mounting plate. A Roll Bar Mount and Float Strap are also available, but only as optional extras. The ADIXXION itself has two regular screw mounting positions, on the bottom and the side, further increasing shooting flexibility.
The ADIXXION is based around a 5Mpixel CMOS of undisclosed size. Video resolution options max out at 1080p Full HD at 30 frames per second. You can also shoot 720p at 30 and 60 frames per second, and there's also a curious 960p option, as well as WVGA (848 x 480), both of which operate at 30 frames per second. This isn't quite the 4K of GoPro's recently announced Hero 3, but will be more than enough for most users. Video is recorded to SD card, using a slot beneath the aforementioned flap. At the top data rate, which equates to around 15Mbits/sec, a 16GB SDHC card will be enough for around 140 minutes of footage.
Although the ADIXXION does have a menu system with some user-configurable features, there aren't that many manual camcorder settings on offer. Image stabilisation is available, but only the digital variety, although this is better than nothing. The 5x zoom is also digital only, presumably as much for robustness as it is due to the camcorder's small chassis size. You can choose between automatic white balance, two fluorescent options, tungsten, plus both blue and green underwater settings. There's a time lapse function which will grab a frame every one or five seconds, as well as a self-timer which will trigger recording ten seconds after you hit the button. Picture inversion flips the image over, which is useful if the camera is installed hanging upside down.