The JVC Everio GZ-GX3B is a smart, well-designed camcorder that has an impressive range of new features to play with, while all the basics of a hand-held camera continue to operate effectively to produce solid results.
It is so refreshing to see a company advertising a new feature that actually has a practical use beyond its gimmick value. JVC's smartphone connectivity is a genuinely handy feature, and we found ourselves appreciating all its capabilities in everyday filming tasks, rather than merely enjoying the novelty of it. Overall, this camera certainly does not disappoint; we would be happy to buy a device of such high standard and practicality, at this price.
Design and features
This camera has been designed with a pleasing, minimalistic outer shell that's simple and comes across as a practical, top-of-the-line consumer camera. The only concern with the appearance is that JVC could have used a heavier plastic or grained metallic texture to make it appear more sophisticated. When using the device, we found ourselves leaving finger traces in big smudges across the body and the screen. So, while it's a smart looking device, be prepared to have a screen-cleaner on hand.
The LCD touchscreen is a great size at 3.5 inches; however, in bright sunlight, you're more likely to be watching your own fingerprints on the screen instead of the image, due to the reflection on the poorly chosen plastic. The menu is fairly standard for this range and, like most other cameras of its kind, persistently annoys you with jingling menu sound effects as you struggle to use the device without attracting irritated looks from the strangers around you.
The main draw of this camera is its new smartphone connectivity. JVC is promoting this new feature with some snappy advertising that suggests that this function will give you the power to spy on all your family members, but despite the unsettling way it's being promoted, it is actually an excellent new idea. The live monitoring via smartphone or PC is actually useful, unlike other brands' gimmicky features, which lose their novelty very quickly. Home detection monitoring — sending an audio snapshot via email — is another great use for this connection that has caused our imaginations to run wild in coming up with possibilities.
The only doubtful function is the video emailing from your smartphone, which left us puzzled as to why you wouldn't just film it directly with your phone and email it more efficiently. But, overall, JVC make this new technology seem so easy for anyone to use seamlessly, and we hope to see this feature being explored by other brands and models in the future.
Video and image quality
What's pleasing about the JVC Everio GZ-GX3 is that it fulfils all its roles soundly; it's not by any means an outstanding video or image camera, but it does deliver consistently satisfactory results. The image presents lovely true-to-life colours, sharpness and good light-to-dark contrast.
Our complaints are very few, but there are a couple of flaws, such as the long end of the zoom, which can appear a little too grainy when out-of-focus, particularly at full zoom.
Other issues include the length of the zoom, which we were hoping would be longer in a high-end camcorder, as well as the poor performance in low-light environments. We would suggest that if you're planning to film a lot in dark settings, you reconsider buying this device, as you might be disappointed.
Another positive, which surprised us, was how excellent the image appeared when we connected the device to a television using an HDMI cable. The large LCD screen on the device clearly gives you a nice glimpse of how it will turn out when blown up on a TV screen. Ultimately, the generally solid performance of the camera overcomes any smaller issues we had with zoom and light settings.
At the end of the day, the positives seem to far outweigh the negatives in the JVC Everio GZ-GX3B. What you're left with is a fantastic all-rounder within its price range that capitalises on choosing smart new features — unlike the relatively useless features, such as 3D filming and in-built projectors, which so many other cameras are pushing — to create an innovative new device that utilises modern technology seamlessly. The JVC Everio GZ-GX3B performs well and, like a jack-of-all-trades, is difficult to criticise, as you're left with a genuine feeling of satisfaction.