Genius G-Shot HD550T review

£110
Price when reviewed

Low-cost video cameras have come a long way since the days of mini-DV and capturing footage over FireWire. All sorts of exotic features have trickled down from high-end cameras to the extent that even products such as this Genius are able to boast HD and flash memory recording.

Read through the G-Shot HD550T’s list of features and it’s hard not to be impressed. It records 720p footage at up to 30fps encoded in H.264 (MOV) format. It takes 12-megapixel stills. There’s a macro mode, allowing you to shoot as close as 20cm. It has a 3in touchscreen that folds out from the body of the camera and tilts and swivels. Even more surprising is the presence of touch auto exposure.

More unusually, the G-Shot has not one but two SD card slots, each one supporting cards up to 32GB. For extra practicality, its battery compartment takes AAA alkaline cells as well as the 1,200mAh lithium ion rechargeable pack included in the box.

It has a motion sensor mode, enabling you to set it up as a security camera, and in the box is a full selection of accessories – an HDMI cable, carrying pouch and wrist strap.

What’s the point, though, when quality is this bad? In our indoor tests, the amount of colour noise was nothing short of shocking, obscuring detail and turning shadows from dark grey into a kaleidoscope of mottled spew.

Genius G-Shot HD550T

Highlights were clipped terribly; no matter what lighting conditions we shot in, and when panning the camera, shots exhibited tearing.

Finally, detail capture was poor, and at close range straight edges were visibly bowed outwards. Compared with the best in low cost video cameras – the Kodak Zi6 (web ID: 244431) and Flip Mino HD (web ID: 250147), and most modern digital compacts for that matter – the HD550T is very much the poor relation.

We could also mention how the controls feel plasticky, how the positioning of the palm strap makes it awkward to reach the main buttons and how the body plastics are so thin and weak they bend out slightly out when the battery compartment is stuffed full of alkalines. We could point out that the price is too high, given the quality of its rivals.

But these complaints pale into insignificance next to the flaws in quality; if you hadn’t already guessed, we’re not recommending it.

Specifications

Camcorder HD standard 720p
Camcorder maximum video resolution 1280 x 720
Camera megapixel rating 12.0mp
Camcorder recording format H.264 (MOV)
Accessory shoe? no
Camera optical zoom range N/A
Camera optical image stabilisation no
Electronic image stabilisation? no
Screen size 3.0in
Touchscreen yes
Viewfinder? no
Built-in flash? no
Light? yes
Number of sensors 1

Audio

Internal mic type Mono
External mic socket? no

Dimensions

Dimensions width 30
Dimensions depth 113
Dimensions height 73
Dimensions 30 x 113 x 73mm (WDH)
Weight 227.000kg

Storage

Integrated memory 0.0GB
Camcorder internal storage type Flash memory
Memory card support SD/SDHC Card

Outputs

Data connection USB
Composite video output? yes
Component video output? no

Accessories

Remote control? no
Dock? no

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