Manufacturer: Geeks.com

Product Name: Jazz Elite HDV-188 5MP HD Video Camera w/3" Screen

Review Date: 09/17/08

Author: Kristofer Brozio

 

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It seems everyone has a video camera, a still camera and a portable media player, sometimes tow or more of all of the above, wouldn’t it be nice to have a decent, inexpensive product that that does it all for you?

Today for review I’ve got the Jazz Elite HD Video camera and not only does it film videos in HD, but it’s also a fully featured multimedia player as well so you can take videos, take stills, listen to music and even watch movies on it. In my time with it I’ve used it quite a bit, I’ve found it’s easy to use, takes good videos and it has a great battery life. Did I mention it’s inexpensive? So read on to check out the Jazz Elite HD Video camera from Geeks.com

The Jazz Elite comes packaged in a sealed plastic clamshell style package that of course you must cut open to access the contents. You can see the camera plainly through the front, and there are specs and features listed on both front and back. (I didn’t include a picture of the back as there was a large inventory label obscuring the view).

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Once you get the package open, you’ll find loads of stuff in there including the camera itself, battery, software/driver disc, user manual, HDMI cable, composite AV cable, power adapter, carrying case, wrist strap and even a set of headphones.

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The Jazz Elite camera is actually fairly small, about 4 inches by 1 inch by 2 inches in dimensions. On the front side you can see the Jazz and HDMI logos, above that is the speaker.

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On the back, or bottom is the battery cover and a small slider switch for changing to Macro from landscape or long distance.

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The back of the camera is where you’ll find all of the function buttons needed to do most of the operations with the camera, and the USB and TV out connections as well. Most of the buttons have two functions depending on what mode you are in.

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On the top of the camera you’ll find the microphone and power button, but the camera does also turn on and off when you open the display. On the front of course you’ll find the lens, below that is a little white box which is actually an LED that acts as a flash or assist light, and all the way down is the access for the HDMI port. On the bottom is just a hole for a tripod.

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The screen can be placed in several positions depending on how you want to us the Jazz Elite, it can also rotate all the way around so you can film yourself.

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You can use a standard SD card to expand the memory, it gets inserted on the bottom under the battery cover so you’ve got to remove the cover to access the memory card. Kind of a pain, but you can also use the included cable to transfer the contents of the camera if need be.

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Specifications:

Jazz Elite HDV-188 5MP HD Video Camera w/3" Screen

Part #:         HDV188-BP
Warranty:       1 Year
Manufacturer:       Jazz Products LLC
MFG Part #:       HDV188

Your Price:          $147.50

Capture memories with this Jazz Elite HDV-188 5 Megapixel high-definition Video Camera. The Jazz Elite HDV-188 is a Digital Camera, Video Recorder, Voice Recorder, PC Camera, Mass Storage, MP3 Player, and PMP in one device.

The HDV-188 features a 3-inch TFT LCD with 8x digital zoom and HDMI, NTSC/PAL AV Out. Other features include a USB 2.0 interface, 64 MB internal memory, and an SD/SDHC memory card slot for adding up to 8 GB. Order today!

Features/Specifications:

Jazz Elite HDV-188 5 MP HD Video Camera with 3-inch Screen

General Features:
    * Color: Black
    * Image Sensor: 5 Megapixel CMOS sensor
    * Maximum Resolution: 11 Megapixel interpolated
    * Internal Memory: 64 MB
    * External Memory: SD/SDHC card slot up to 8 GB
    * File Formats: JPEG/AVI (H.264)/WAV/MP3
    * Display Screen: 3.0-inch TFT LCD
    * Digital Zoom: 8x
    * Interface: USB 2.0
    * AV Out: HDMI, NTSC/PAL
    * Motion Detection
    * Night Mode
    * Movie Stabilization
    * Power Source: NP60 Li-ion battery

Modes:
    * Digital Still Camera
    * Video Record
    * Voice Record
    * PC Camera
    * Mass Storage
    * MP3 Player
    * PMP

Video Resolution:
    * HD: 1280 x 720 @ 30 fps
    * D1: 720 x 480 @ 30 fps
    * VGA: 640 x 480 @ 30 fps
    * QVGA: 320 x 240 @ 30 fps

    * Dimensions:
    * 4.1 x 1 x 2.5-inches (H x W x D, approximate)

These are the basics specs listed, you can read all of the specs on the Geeks.com site HERE if you wish.

Using the Jazz Elite is very easy and actually fun, the instructions are easy to follow.

When you’re using the camera there’s few things on screen to let you know the status. In the top left corner is the amount of pictures you can take, the top right corner has the time to record video and the resolution. The right side has a sliding bar that tells you the focus or zoom, under that is the battery indicator, memory card indicator and whether you are in macro more of not.

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Pushing the slider button in opens up the menu, I’m not going to list all of the options as there are quite a few of them, you can click the pictures to see them.

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Switching to the media player mode turns the Jazz Elite into a portable media player that can play music and movies, or look at pictures and listen to notes.

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Included with the camera is Arcsoft Media Impressions and Media Convertor, two very useful programs for manipulating videos and pictures and converting video to other formats easily.

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Back to using the camera, the still pictures are ok, it’s not a high end camera but for what it is they look very good. The videos are a bit grainy but still decent for such a low priced camera that is much more than that.

I’m not including videos in this review for you, but I do have 10 videos that I shot using the Jazz Elite over on the TestFreaks Viddler account. You can check them out at your leisure HERE. They all were shot in either 1280×720 or 720×280 resolutions. The HD makes it more of a wide screen with black lines on top and bottom, so I don’t prefer that so most were shot in the 720 resolution or D1 on the camera.

I did find one small design flaw, the flash or assist light is in a bad place really, every time I wrapped my fingers around the a camera my index finger covered it up. I had to keep reminding myself not to do it, but after using it several times I became accustomed as to how I had to hold the camera correctly.

Also, I don’t really care for having the SD card located under the battery cover, using the cable is fine, but you get a faster transfer rate with a card reader so I prefer to transfer them directly from the card, and having to remove the cover is a hassle. Other people might not care, but I’m taking a lot of videos, and to me it’s a pain…

The battery life of the Jazz Elite is very good, I charged it once when I got it and haven’t charged it yet, I’ve shot at least an hours worth of video for reviews and quite a bit more just playing around.

The screen for watching movies is decent enough, of course it’s only 3", but movies look pretty good on it overall. It makes a nice little media player really.

 

Conclusion:

The Jazz Elite seems to be one of the nicer and feature packed Digital Camcorders out there on the market today.

The Jazz Elite is very easy to use and honestly it’s a lot of fun, I enjoy using it and will be using it for some time to come. I plan on using this camera for all of our reviews so it’s going to be getting quite a workout, and it already has really.

The battery life is great, I’ve shot quite a bit of footage, at least an hours worth and the battery indicator has just finally dropped down by one.

The Jazz Elite is inexpensive considering everything that it can do besides record videos and take pictures, you can have a nice little portable media player that just happen to take movies and pictures!

Pros:

-Very good battery life 

-Easy to use 

-Decent quality movies 

-Feels well made

-Good sounding as PMP

-Inexpensive

-Lots of extras included

Cons:

-Bad placing of flash/light assist

-Must remove cover to access memory card 

 

Grades:

Overall: score 8 10 thumb5 Jazz Elite HDV 188 5MP HD Video Camera w/3" Screen

Design: score 8 10 thumb6 Jazz Elite HDV 188 5MP HD Video Camera w/3" Screen

Performance: score 9 10 Jazz Elite HDV 188 5MP HD Video Camera w/3" Screen