There's a lot more to the JVC ADIXXION GC-XA1BE than just a rugged action camera. It is also equipped with built-in WiFi connectivity. To set this up you need to install the included software, which here is different than that used with the Everio WiFi cameras, such as the GZ-GX1. Rather than the latter's Everio sync, an app called WiVideo is supplied, which is not just a re-skin but entirely different software.
WiVideo installs on a desktop PC or notebook directly from the camcorder when you connect the ADIXXION via its USB cable. You can then use the application to transfer video files to your PC, and set up the WiFi on the ADIXXION, although annoyingly the automated process only works with a WiFi-equipped PC. Otherwise, you will have to enter the SSID and password manually. You can also use this software to upload footage to YouTube, Facebook, Picasa and TwitVid. A driver is supplied so you can use the ADIXXION as a wireless webcam in Skype and MSN too.
There are WiVideo apps for iPhone and Android, as well. These let you control the camcorder remotely, including the digital zoom, and trigger record, as well as browse the stored video in the camcorder's memory. Most exciting of all, however, is the integration with USTREAM. Again, the desktop software is used to create an account and upload the settings to the ADIXXION. But then you can use the built-in menu to enable USTREAM mode, and your video will then be streamed wirelessly to your USTREAM channel page. Flip was planning something like this for its next product, which sadly didn't see the light of day when Cisco discontinued the brand in April 2011. The forthcoming GoPro Hero 3 will also have wifi built in. But for now the Adixxion is one of the few camcorders with this facility, making it an exciting prospect for live guerrilla video. The one downside is that the WiFi features won't work if the battery is depleted below a certain level, and you can't power the device externally without having the flap open.
With its small, fixed lens the ADIXXION can't quite deliver mainstream camcorder image quality. But it still does reasonably well. Colour is faithful if not stunningly vibrant, and there's a reasonable level of detail. The relatively high data rate means this detail isn't overcome by artefacts from aggressive compression. Image stabilisation is only mildly effective, but that's still better than nothing if you are engaged in bumpy activities. Low light performance is also surprisingly good, which will be particularly useful if you make use of the ADIXXION's underwater shooting capabilities. In this respect, this camcorder is notably ahead of most action cameras, which often don't perform well in poor illumination. The ADIXXION is a much more flexible camcorder due to its tolerance of variable lighting conditions.
JVC's Adixxion GC-XA1 is a relatively pricey action camera, at around £300. But it is also of high quality construction, with lots of useful features. It has stoked a fair bit of interest in professional circles, as a tool for capturing extreme sporting events from the point of view of the participant. If your focus is more on motorsports, Dogcam's MiniDVR-HD, with its secondary recording unit, could be a more appropriate option. But for extreme sports, particularly in a space where the WiFi USTREAM capabilities can be used, this is an action camera with plenty of flexibility.