An inexpensive compact action camera with a useful LCD screen, but the GC-XA1 is let down by its poor battery life
Sensor: Size not disclosed CMOS, Sensor pixels: 5000000, Max recording resolution: 1080p (30fps), AV connections: Mini HDMI, Size (HxWxD): 64x53x35mm, Weight: 126g, Warranty: One-year RTB
JVC’s GC-XA1 Adixxion has two separate mounting points on the camera’s body, both of which consist of two different-sized tripod screw holes. This means you can mount the camera horizontally or vertically with a variety of mounts. Mounting the camera horizontally makes for a lower centre of gravity and a wider mounted surface area, helping to dampen unwanted vibrations coming through to your video. You can also invert the video in the camera’s settings menu, so you can mount the camera upside down without having to later rotate the video on your computer.
The camera itself feels reassuringly robust thanks to its rubber casing; it’s rated to survive a 2m drop, and is also waterproof to 5m down. Compared to some scuba-proof action cameras this is little more than splash-proof, but at least the camera doesn’t require a case to keep the damp out. It’s also resistant to dust and at freezing temperatures up to -10 degrees. A rear flap covers the HDMI and Micro USB ports, as well as the SD card slot and removable battery.
The camera has two pairs of buttons on each side for controlling the digital zoom, video playback and to access the menu. These are sealed with rubber to make the camera’s waterproofing possible, which mean they’re a little tricky to press. The power button and an easy-to-access record button are located on the top of the camera (when mounted vertically, otherwise they’re on the side).
The action cam has a 1.5in colour screen that can be used for a live view, to adjust the camera’s settings or to play back recorded footage, so you can make sure you have the shots you need while still up the mountain/in the canoe. Some action cameras instead require you to connect to a laptop, smartphone or tablet to preview footage, so having an LCD screen is certainly useful.
We found the Adixxion’s WiVideo companion app unreliable. On Android it took a few attempts to establish a connection and we also had occasional problems with the app losing this connection, while on iOS we couldn’t get the camera to connect at all. The app allows you to change some of the camera’s settings such as video and photo resolution. You’re able to trigger recording from the app and there’s a live view from the camera sensor, but this had about a half-second of lag. It’s also possible to view the video and images stored on the camera’s SD card from within the app.
Supplied with the GC-XA1 are two flexible mounts and a goggle mount. The flexible mounts have an adhesive base with a ball socket for adjusting the angle of the camera. The flexible mounts at least made it easy to attach the Adixxion camera to our HPI Racing Bullet MT radio-controlled car for testing.
The camera offers fewer recording options than some of its rivals. Its best-quality mode is 1080p at 30fps. If you drop the pixel count to 720p you get the option of smoother 60fps recording, but you don’t have any options for high frame rates, so you can’t create slow-motion videos. Action cams capable of high-frame-rate recording tend to be more expensive than the GC-XA1, however.
We mounted the camera to our HPI Racing Bullet MT test radio-controlled car for testing and were disappointed with the resulting footage. Even when the car wasn’t moving, there was a lot of noise and visible video compression. In our speed run tests the camera wobbled violently, which led to plenty of shearing in the resulting video image; the ball and socket mount didn’t seem able to keep the camera steady, and the GC-XA1 doesn’t appear to have much in the way of image stabilisation.
^The ball-and-socket mount didn’t help with image stabilisation – best viewed full-screen at 1080p
The camera’s battery life was disappointing. It could record only 44 minutes of continuous video at 1080p, but this is the same as the similarly-priced Aiptek SportyCam Z3. The camera could also be fiddly to use, such as when connecting via Wi-Fi to an access point. This requires you to first connect the camera to a computer through USB to input your network settings via the desktop Wi-Video software. The GC-XA1 is a versatile camera, but if you’re on a tight budget the Aiptek SportyCam Z3 is a better buy, thanks to its generous range of supplied accessories.
|Sensor||Size not disclosed CMOS|
|LCD screen size||1.5in|
|Video recording format||H.264 MP4|
|Video recording resolutions||1080p (30fps), 960p (30fps), 720p (60/30fps), 848×480 (30fps)|
|Max recording resolution||1080p (30fps)|
|Video recording media||SD|
|Sound||AAC, 44kHz mono|
|Maximum still image resolution||2,560×1,920|
|Memory slot (card supplied)||SD|
|Data connections||Mini USB|
|AV connections||Mini HDMI|
|Battery life||0h 44m|
|Battery charging position||Camcorder|
|Price including VAT||£144|