All of this hides the fact that the GX1 actually hosts quite a fulsome selection of manual controls. There’s a small complement of scene modes – more than some of JVC’s current budget models can boast, but not as extensive as some manufacturers offer at this price level. You can adjust focus and white balance, with auto and manual modes plus the usual indoor and outdoor presets, but a couple of underwater options too. There's a general brightness control plus shutter speed and a separate aperture priority mode. There are some useful extra modes, including time-lapse recording with intervals of one to 80 seconds, and a high-speed recording option. Sadly, all of these are found in the full menu, so take a few screen presses to get to. But at least the facilities are there if you want to use them.
This brings us back to the wireless functionality, which is as extensive as that provided by the EX215. There are essentially two sides to this. First, you can hook the GX1 up to an existing wireless network, but this requires entering details into a very fiddly system of menus, as well as the details of your email service if you want to use the features on the camcorder that require these. Once you have set this up, you can access the camcorder across your WLAN with a Web browser, preview and watch footage and pictures from the camcorder's memory, and even control recording and zoom. There are apps for iOS and Android that offer most of these facilities in a self-contained format. You can also record clips of a fixed length and send them to an email address you have set up beforehand, directly from the camcorder itself. There’s a motion detection ability, although this doesn’t trigger video, just taking still images. But it could still come in pretty handy for keeping an eye on your house when you’re out, or for other forms of unattended surveillance.
Alternatively, it's possible to set the device up as a wireless access node itself. You can then connect to its mini wireless network with your WLAN-equipped mobile device, using the passcode on the GX1's screen. After this, the Web browser, iOS and Android apps can be used as before, giving you much more sophisticated wireless control facilities than the supplied IR remote. If you're an avid video blogger, these abilities will make the GX1 much more useful than other camcorders for recording yourself.
JVC's budget camcorders generally impress us with their image quality, particularly in low light, and its higher-end models don’t disappoint either. The GX1's premium CMOS provides truly excellent image quality in every condition. With optimal lighting, colours are rich and detail is excellent. Performance is even more impressive in poor illumination. Colours are surprisingly accurate in low light, with no sign of grain and plenty of fine detail. Overall, the GX1 more than lives up to its specification.
The JVC HD Everio GZ-GX1 is a more appropriate combination of extensive wireless abilities with a premium camcorder than the EX215. Like the latter, though, you don't seem to be paying significantly extra for these features. This isn't quite an enthusiast's choice - the lack of discrete controls for the manual settings puts paid to that. But there's still a wealth of features here, allied with excellent image quality, making this a good choice if you primarily want premium point-and-shoot abilities, but occasionally need that little bit more control - with wireless functions a major added bonus.