By Andrew Liszewski
Initially I wouldn’t have thought that adding Bluetooth capabilities to a video camera would be useful beyond maybe letting it talk to a GPS receiver so you could geotag videos and photos, but the new GZ-HM550 Everio from JVC can use it in more interesting ways. It allows you to use a smartphone as a wireless remote for example, which is one less accessory you have to carry, or monitor the audio with a pair of wireless Bluetooth headphones, which is also quite convenient.
But Bluetooth isn’t the only thing the GZ-HM550 is packing. It’s a full HD digital camcorder (ie 1920×1080, not that 720 crap) with a 10.6 megapixel CMOS sensor that’s also able to snap 9 megapixel digital photos. The 32GB of built-in flash memory is good for recording about 3 hours of video at full HD quality, though that can be further expanded with the use of SDHC cards. A Kinoca Minolta lens provides 16x optical zoom without any loss in image quality, and built-in image stabilization will keep things from getting too shaky when you’re zoomed all the way in. With a price tag of $799.95 and a decidedly un-pocket-friendly form factor the GZ-HM550 definitely isn’t designed to compete with the Flip UltraHD, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.