Amazon.com Review Not a full-fledged camcorder, and yet very much more than a toy, the Gateway DVS20 MPEG4 Pocket Multi-Cam is one of a new generation of "convergence" devices that take both still images and tapeless digital video. In a head-to-head contest with a full-featured tapeless camcorder--something from Panasonic D-Snap's line, for example--it may not come out all that well, but at this price range a more fair comparison would be with an entry-level digital still camera. Seen in this light, the DVS20 does very well indeed. In fact, I now find myself favoring my Gateway over my everyday digital camera, a low end Olympus.
| The DVS20's compact body |
The first advantage it has over almost every still camera in its price range is the swiveling LCD that lets you take photos from awkward angles--you can shoot holding the camera over your head for example, by angling the LCD down, or capture stylish, cinematic low angles. And the shutter action is above average, with very little of the dreaded shutter delay effect of many digital cameras (you know, when you press the button and the picture gets taken sometime the following week).
So what about video? The DVS20 does okay, though it would be better to think of video as a bonus function rather than its main purpose. It performs middling to poor in low-light conditions, but in daylight it takes pretty clear, if somewhat herky-jerky footage. A memory card is a must if you want to do any significant amount of taping--the size of the internal memory is actually pretty generous at 64 MB, but this will hold a maximum of 18 minutes of video, and that's at the lowest resolution (a very grainy 320 x 240). It's worth noting that the mic performs much better I expected. I was able to tape a public event, getting very clear audio for both the PA and the ambient crowd noise.
One real downside is the rate at which this thing eats through batteries--one day of sporadic use was all that a pair of alkalines lasted me. Do not proceed without rechargeables! And while we're talking downsides, I should also mention that the flash tends to wash out facial features at distances under ten feet. Overall, though, you'd be hard put to find a better value in this price range. --David Stoesz
- Above-average performance for its price range
- Swivel-view LCD
- A/V and USB outputs
- SD card slot
- Very compact body--comparable to a pack of cigarettes.
- Devours batteries like sweet, sweet candy
- Only so-so low light performance
- The flash tends to wash out details
Not only is this Gateway 2.1MP camcorder both a digital video recorder and camera, it's also small enough to slip in a pocket or purse. An internal 64MB memory gives you plenty of storage space for clips and pics and an SD expansion slot holds up to 512MB of extra memory (sold separately). Also features 1.5" color LTPS LCD screen, 2.5x digital zoom, 320x240 QVGA video, auto flash, 10-sec. self-timer and 3 image quality settings: normal, fine and super fine. The camcorder comes with AV/USB cables to download files/images to your computer, photo and video editing software, a user guide and a carrying strap. Compatible with Windows 98SE, 2000, Me and Xp platforms. Imported.