Friday, August 16, 2013

Review : JVC Adixxion GC-XA1 Action Camera

Those of you that know me will had seen me racing with a camera in my hand. My tool of choice is my trusty Panasonic Lumix FT series which I happened to have the FT2 and the FT4(not reviewed,but it has GPS function and wifey got it for me last Christmas). 
Camera in hand
The camera was great. Nothing wrong with it. Battery life was good and image captured were awesome. It is weather and element proof (just not idiot-proof). But there was just something missing - the ability to hook onto something so I can record it in anyway I want. More so, the digital stabiliser works great for still capture and less-than-aggressive video. Videos taken with the Panasonic has extreme "Blair-witch" effect and i long for something more stable.
The JVC Adixxion XA1
About two months (or was it three) months ago, I was hooked up by a friend and he introduced me to JVC Kenwood Malaysia. An informal meeting that has turned into an opportunity for me to obtain the JVC Adixxion GC-XA1 for my personal use and review. 
Relatively unknown to many and this is because the market is dominated by the GoPro brand of action camera. I do not have the opportunity to review GoPro and do a fair comparison to the Adixxion. Needless to say, there are many other equivalent as well, with one brand from Korea resembling GoPro to the T. It could be, in my opinion, an OEM product. So, do look for reputable brand with aftersales services support if you are considering (your hard earned money!)
In The Raw
The JVC Adixxion XA1 that was given to me
If you are looking to get an action camera for personal use or as a gift for someone let me start by sharing that this JVC Adixxion is retailing at RM999 (which by the way, is what GoPro Hero2 is at certain shops/online stores).
LCD built-in.Image from JVC website
If you all insist, based on the technical specifications of the Adixxion and GoPro brand, these are what I can share based on my limited period ownership of Adixxion and what I know of GoPro.
To start with, the similarities. Both the Adixxion and GoPro records in FUll-HD-Glory. Both unit on par with 1080p HD at 30 frame per seconds (fps). Both unit come with highly sensitive f2.8 lense suitable for low light recording. Both has capability of capturing video images at 170degree angle (which gives it the "fish-eye") effect. Both are rugged enough to be used in almost all conditions including underwater and harsh condition. Both are made for outdoor. But that is where the similarities end.
WiFi - out of the box. Image from JVC Website

GoPro requires additional hardware to be used with the unit for viewing (LCD pack) while JVC Adixxion has it built-in (via a 1.5inch LCD on the side). Wifi connectivity and control comes right out of the box for JVC Adixxion while GoPro requires additional hardware to link it (including a remote). These two alone add bulk to the whole camera setup.

Connectivity simplified
The winning point for the JVC Adixxion is the weight of the unit itself. The whole package comes in at an impressive 31grams lighter when compared to the most basic setup on GoPro - and we know GoPro need the housing to be waterproof or even to be mounted onto anything. The Adixxion comes with two tripod mount that is sufficient to place the camera in any position possible.
tripod mounting option on the side.
Image from JVC Website





The JVC Adixxion loses out to the GoPro in the still images it captures. Being able to take only in 5megapixel size and with fixed 170 wide angle viewing, it distort the image to be fish-eye like. Not very versatile when compared to GoPro. I have not verified if the Adixxion could take photos in burst mode (by holding down the Record button) as the GoPro could do so. 
Fisheye like on the Adixxion. Stay off the corners or get distorted ;-)
Clear shot of the rollerblade. Camera was actually about 6inches away
Much better images if stay in the middle of the frame
However, if you are purchasing this to be used as a still camera, then it is likely like buying a compact camera to take video. JVC must improve this aspect if they want to attract more users. For me, it's immaterial as this will be used as an outdoor action camera - images can be screenshot from the video, in Full HD glory!
One more item that the Adixxion loses out to GoPro is the "timelapse" feature where Adixxion only has option for 1second and 5seconds capture as opposed to more choices within the GoPro. However, these are not crucial points but good to have features. Battery life wise, both units share the similiar capacity at 1050mAh and the Adixxion is rated at 70minutes on Full HD recording with WiFi off. The GoPro goes almost 2hours on the same charge. This is mainly because the LCD on the Adixxion XA1 does not turn off once the unit is switched on. A firmware flaw if you ask me. 
My Video-Blog (Vlog) of the JVC Adixxion, captured using the Adixxion XA1 unit while running Kiara
The best way to view this is in Youtube and choose Full HD 1080p. The details are awesome. (results may vary based on your monitor/screen performance too, I viewed mine on HP Elitebook 8470p - which is HD LCD monitor)
You can now expect more video postings using the JVC Adixxion XA1 in my blog. 

JVC Adixxion XA1 Specification - Priced RRP MYR999.00

Dimensions (WxHxD)
74mm x 53mm x 35mm (2-15/16" x 2-1/8" x 1-7/16")

Weight with battery
126g (0.28lbs)

Quad-Proof Design
Waterproof: 5m/16.4ft, IEC Standard publication 529 IPX8
Shockproof: 2m/6.5ft, MIL-STD 810F Method 516.5-Shock
Dustproof: IEC Standard publication 529 IP6X
Freezeproof: -10°C/14°F

Image Sensor
5M CMOS
Lens Type
F2.8, Fixed focus, 170 degree
Digital Zoom 5x
Auto Exposure

Digital Image Stabilizer

White Balance

Auto and Manual

Self-Timer

Video Recording Format
MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 (MP4)

Video Recording Mode
FHD: 1920x1080/30p, 15Mbps VBR
HD960: 1280x960/30p, 8.9Mbps VBR
HD60: 1280x720/60p, 13Mbps VBR
HD30: 1280x720/30p 6.7Mbps VBR
WVGA: 848x480/30p, 3.0Mbps VBR

Digital Stills
JPEG, 5 Megapixel

Audio Format
AAC

Battery Life
FHD  1hr 10min
HD960      1hr 35min
HD60        1hr 10min
HD30        1hr 45min
WVGA       1hr 45min

Terminals
HDMI mini, USB mini (chargeable)

LCD 1.5” color


Wi-Fi Function  

PC Software
Wi-Video (for Windows®, provided in camera)

Supports up to 64GB SD Card

Provided Accessories
  • Goggle Mount: Attaches to goggle strap with supplied screws.
  • Flexible Mount: Adheres to flat or curved surface with supplied 3M double-sided tape.
  • Lens Protector x2
  • LCD Protection Film
  • USB Cable
  • Rechargeable Battery
Optional Accessories
  • Roll Bar Mount MT-RB001: Fits pipes from 21mm to 40mm (7/8″ – 1-5/8″) in diameter.
  • Handle Bar Mount MT-HB001: Fits pipes from 21mm to 30mm (7/8″ – 1-3/16″) in diameter.
  • AC Adapter AC-V17UL / AC-V10L: Charges ADIXXION battery from outlet.
  • Float Strap WA-FL001: To help the camera float while in water.
  • Goggle Mount MT-GM001 (same as supplied with camera)
  • Flexible Mount MT-FM001 (same as supplied with camera)
  • Lens Protector GL-LP001 (same as supplied with camera)
  • Battery BN-VH105 (same as supplied with camera)

Full Adixxion website : Click Here

JVC Adixxion Promo Video


At time of this review, I was informed that the Adixxion has came up with a new upgraded unit known as the XA2 that addresses all the "setback" above. I am promised the XA2 when it comes to Malaysia in October and expect another round of review of the improved Adixxion  XA2 at my blog. I will get the exclusive for this. So, wait up.

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