The Genius G-Shot DV1210 is a dinky camcorder that's pleasingly straightforward. It's light and easy to use, and at this price is perfect for the younger, or clumsier, user. We took it for a test drive to find out if the DV1210 has the features and the ambition to extend beyond YouTube. It's available online for around £130, a strikingly low price for a camcorder.
The G-Shot DV1210 is a cute little shooter with some neat design touches. It measures 125mm long and 50mm broad. It's pretty light, even when loaded up with AA batteries. The body is the standard camcorder shape, with a comfy padded hand-strap and fold-out 61mm (2.4-inch) swivelly screen.
Handily, the screen knows when it has been turned all the way round to face front, and flips the image so you can film yourself. When the image is inverted, the screen can also be folded back flush with the body, so you can look at footage without having the screen out. Up, down and select buttons are placed next to the screen, which also control flash and macro options.
The controls are really simple: on/off and menu buttons, display and playback/shooting buttons, and a rotary click switch to switch between video, still or voice recording. The play/pause button sits in the middle of this switch. A zoom/volume rocker is placed at the top for index finger operation, next to a music button and still capture button.
You have the option to use the included li-ion battery, or replace it with easily-available AA batteries should the juice run out halfway through shooting. The battery charges by sitting upright in a cute little dock. It's fairly pointless, sure, but looks ten times better than most clunky, boxy chargers.
The DV1210 makes quick-changing memory cards a cinch, thanks to a spring-loaded hatch in the side. The translucent blue hatch is another neat design touch.
The DV1210 is extremely simple. It doesn't have an optical zoom, and the digital zoom cannot be used while recording. Video is recorded in MPEG-4 at 640x480- or 320x240-pixel resolution, and that's it. Your video can be played on a television, but not a very big one, as the resolution is so low. While it's not exactly hi-def, it's fine for footage that will end up on the Internet.
When connected to a television you can choose from NTSC and PAL television formats and record programmes. Beyond using the DV1210 as a portable media player, the only use for this function that springs to mind, in the context of such an Internet-friendly camcorder, is to capture TV content for subsequent copyright-bashing upload to the Web.
The other media features include a built-in MP3 player and FM radio, as well as a 5-megapixel still camera. White balance, exposure compensation and image quality can be altered. The camera has a shutter timer that waits 5 seconds, 10 seconds or 30 seconds.
Video and MP3 is stored on SD or MMC cards. This limits you to a maximum of 2GB storage at a time, but SD cards are relatively cheap and widely available. SD cards are also used in a wide variety of devices, making them almost the equivalent of AA batteries. There is 32MB of inbuilt memory, which records a grand total of 1 minute and 30 seconds of standard-quality footage. Not up to a wedding video, then, but more than capable of producing YouTube segments.