JVC's new Everio GZ-MG330 camcorder is so small and light that we barely noticed the difference when we chucked it into our bags - that's how light this beauty of a camcorder is. It's also the main draw for this camcorder, as you can bring it anywhere without being weighed down unlike bulkier camcorders. Sealing the deal for the Everio GZ-MG330 are the three color choices (sapphire blue, ruby red or diamond silver) available, which makes it all the more attractive for potential buyers.
Of course, it's not just looks over substance for the Everio GZ-M330. Using the camcorder is an easy enough process, just flip the LCD lid open and the camcorder automatically turns on, though it took about six seconds to power up completely. The zoom toggle on top is also located within easy reach and is sensitive enough to give you a smooth zoom as opposed to quick and jerky ones.
When switching between the Video and Stills mode though, the M330 does require you to use both hands as the switch for switching modes is located in a somewhat inaccessible place: just above where your thumb sits on the Record button. With your hand sitting snugly within the M330's straps, there's really no way to toggle the switch and since you can't take photos without switching to the Still mode, it's likely you'll be using the other hand.
Unlike some of the newer camcorder models, the M330's LCD panel isn't touch-sensitive. Instead, located on the side is a new-fangled Laser Touch Operation stripe that's actually an illuminated scroll bar with a blue light that tracks your fingers moving on the stripe. While we're naturally disappointed that there's no 'pew pew' lasers involved, the stripe actually works well with the on-screen menu.
Saving video files was slightly more troublesome, as the video file format defaults to JVC's proprietary .mod MPEG2 format, which does make things a tad difficult when trying to replay the file back on the PC. We suggest using a video converter tool like FFmpeg if you're comfortable with such programs or the straight to DVD function that the camcorder has, which is probably the simplest method by far for most casual users.
Sadly, the resolution of the M330 isn't very high, only going up to slightly over 300 LPH (Lines per Picture Height) for both the vertical and horizontal, although the colors were decently reproduced. Some interlacing artifacts were also noticed on the edges of moving objects too. The M330 also has a light that when set to Auto, turns on in low light situations and produces a faintly blue spotlight. Together with the Gain on, both functions allow for ample capture indoors. The audio capture of the A330 was also impressive, being able to catch quiet sounds two meters away in an enclosed and noisy room with its forward-facing microphone.
The M330, like most other camcorders, fared badly when capturing still images. The colors turned out punchy and with resolution settings capping out at a max of only 640 x 480 pixels, you're probably better of just using the camcorder for video recording and ignoring that function altogether.
The JVC Everio GZ-MG330 is definitely a handy little camcorder that's easy to use and bring with you. It's not a workhorse though, due to its average image resolution. If you're keen on shooting quality videos, perhaps the latest HD hard drive based camcorders might be more your type. Based on its small size, price and tape/DVD-less operation though, the M330 still strikes us as a product worth a look for the average consumer.