Customer Reviews: Aiptek Action HD GVS BK 1080P High Definition Camcorder with 5x Optical Zoom (Black) (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
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on January 24, 2009
Tested three low cost HD camcorders:

1st: Sanyo Xacti VPC-HD100
2nd: DXG 569V Silver Ultra-Slim HD
3rd: Aiptek Action HD GVS 1080P

To give you some background for reference. My primary objects for video are family and pets. I use iMovie and Studio8 for video editing. I have experience with other consumer HD cams such as the Canon HF100 and Panasonic SD100 both in a higher price class. For Photos I use a Canon G9 and have therefore not evaluated photo ability of those tested. My main reasons for considering the three cams are price, convenience, and most important the ease of the file-format. As for now I say no thanks to the AVCHD video format.

For my review I used the following criteria:

Video clip format
Quality of the videos
Quality of sound
Field of view
Focus speed
Feel and quality of the product
Ease of use
Battery life

First up was the...

Sanyo Xacti VPC-HD100:

Video clip format: - MP4- very convenient- played right away on Mac & PC provided you have QT and a strong graphics card. Also played right away on PS3

Quality of the videos: - good picture clarity but light/dark transitions produced too high contrasts & whites were overblown. Unfortunately the auto-focus was a disaster loosing focus for no apparent reason and without change in the scene. Oftentimes it took several camera swings and zooms to re-gain focus.

Quality of sound: - acceptable with the standard low background hissing.

Field of view: - very narrow (very zoomed in like 40-45mm in the 35mm equiv.)

Focus speed: - a disaster, could not stay focused even when on tripod facing a still scene

Feel and quality of the product: - okay feel, somewhat flimsy as evidenced by the port cover overall the camera is not a stellar design.

Ease of use: - buttons in a very inconvenient layout (without being picky here) I oftentimes found myself in the menu trying to start recording with small hands.

Battery life: - too little time with camera to truly evaluate.

Verdict: camera went back mainly due to focus issue and field of view.

Next in line...

DXG 569V Silver Ultra-Slim HD

Video clip format: - .MOV - played right away on Mac & PC provided you have QT and a strong graphics card. Unfortunately required conversion for PS3 use.

Quality of the videos: - fairly acceptable for this price class, not as crisp as the above Sanyo but better low light characteristics and better transitions between lights and darks over the Sanyo. Overall slightly lower quality then Sanyo.

Quality of sound: - no hissing but to faint and distant. In short, barely acceptable

Field of view: - acceptable estim. Around 35-38mm (35mm equiv.& about even with many digital picture cameras)

Focus speed: - this camera did not have autofocus but the fixed focus was very acceptable as long as objects were at least 3' away. The macro mode worked great and the switch was conveniently placed for a quick switch while panning around a room to move in for a close analysis of an object.

Feel and quality of the product: - I was very drawn to this camera for its form-factor, and overall feel. Ergonomically it felt best of the three cameras, it had a quality feel and finish for its price class and a very nice 3" display that was viewable from most angles. Buttons were very conveniently placed alleviating mishaps. The LED light in the front was amazingly bright; it would have been a great little interviewing camera for dim lighting situations if it were not for the poor sound.

Ease of use: - very easy to use, good menu layout but at times the menu items required a second push to accept a setting.

Battery life: - too little time with camera to truly evaluate but it appeared too short.

Verdict: I would have likely kept this model, however after three days of use the SD card spring mechanism failed rendering the camera useless.
I contemplated to re-order the same model but eventually let it go due to poor sound and weak battery live.

And last...

Aiptek Action HD GVS 1080P:

Video clip format: - .MOV- very convenient- played right away on Mac & PC provided you have QT and a strong graphics card., unfortunately required conversion for PS3 use

Quality of the videos: - best of the three models tested, clear, good contrast, truest colors of the three models, good transitions form light to dark areas when compared to the others.

Quality of sound: good, slightly over-modulated but acceptable.

Field of view: - best of the three, guessing 32mm-35mm (35mm equiv. make sure you are using the 720P mode for widest angle)

Focus speed: - no complaints here, quick and precise for this price class

Feel and quality of the product: - somewhat flimsy feel and finish, the 3" display does not have as nice viewing angle as the DXG camera. Aiptek could also have chosen a nicer plastic for the case giving it a modern feel.

Ease of use: - the menu layout is could use a workover but workable.

Battery life: - too little time with camera to truly evaluate but it appears Okay.

Verdict: - So far so good. Should this one not work out for a valid reason then I will consider stepping up to the Sanyo Xacti HD1010.

It's the end of April 2009 now and I love this little camcorder. The results are fantastic; this has been a great companion for me throughout my daughter's first year. Battery life is great. I charge here and there via USB cable after transferring clips to my Mac. You get a good 1.5hr or longer with a continuous clip. I can manage to charge only once per week while shooting multiple 1-4 min clips and occasional pictures every day. Since my original write-up I have managed to shoot hundreds of still images and am impressed with the quality (make sure the lighting is plentiful and keep a steady hand in dimmer situations). Beware this is not a Canon still camera and is not intended to take its spot but I managed to get good results on a continuous basis.[...]
you might have to copy and paste the links into your browser, I am not sure what youtube does after video is uploaded. Oh, don't forget to click on the HD button when viewing the clips. The videos generally play smooth so if there are hang-ups of jagged lines while panning then it is likely your computer. The clips run smooth on my home Mac but get a little jerky on my work PC which does not have a dedicated video card.

July17th update:
Still love the camera and carry it by my side on daily excursions with my daughter. I would like to request the following from you Aiptek engineers: Please consider a different solution for lens protection then the 1980's lens cover, and please work in variable zoom speed rather then the single speed.
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on June 20, 2009
This is a video review of the camera after 2 weeks of ownership.
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on March 7, 2009
I strongly recommend this camera if you are looking for an inexpensive camera for family use.

My only experience with a camcorder is the $800.00 Panasonic VHS-c camcorder I purchased 10 years ago just before my first child was born.

10 years later, I found that I did not use my original camera too often. The old camera is big and bulky and about 5 to 6 times the size and weight of the Aiptek. The other reason is, I don't even have a VCR anymore. (I know, I could hook the camera up to my TV)

The biggest reason for me to get something new was for editing. VHS-c is a long and slow process to put on the computer for editing and I wanted better video quality.

I began looking at high definition camcorders and the Aiptek Action HD GVS 1080P High Definition Camcorder
was recommended to me because of good reviews. After reading the reviews on line, looking at videos posted on youtube, and the price of the camcorder, I decided to buy it.

I admit I have not used the Aiptek Action HD GVS 1080P High Definition Camcorder very much but here is what I can tell you:

1) It is inexpensive...My first camcorder cost me $800.00 with accessories. This one cost me around $400.00 with accessories. (Camera, external charger, extra battery, 16 Gig SD card and the Sima bracket. There was tax and some shipping as well.)

2) The camera is small, easy to use and very portable.

3) I bought a 16 Gig SD card for it and for the moment I don't think I need more. The camera says I have 4 hours of available video at the 1080p setting.

4) The camera likes a lot of light. The more light the better. In rooms with just one light on...the video is very dark. I thought I had purchased the Sima SL-20LX Ultra Bright Video Light when I made my purchase. I just discovered I didn't. Due to the lighting issues I have seen in my own home, I am going to buy the Sima Light. Just a note, My VHS-c camcorder was horrible inside the house when I did not use the built in light.

5) I bought the Sima SLB-M Video Bracket. Just used it for the first time and really like it. The camcorder is small. Holding it in one hand is not recommended because it is too hard to keep steady with one hand. You can hold the camera with one hand and the video screen with the other but the Sima is a metal bracket and is sturdier than the movable plastic video screen. You will also want it for you Sima LED light. You will want to hold the camera steady for the best video.

6) The camera did not come with a wrist strap. I purchased one and recommend it.

7) Another review was negative for the the choppy video at 1080p. It is choppy when everyone is moving a lot but with good lighting the picture looks great. With this camera it is a trade off. Slightly choppy video for great picture quality. For sports, you will probably want to use the 720p at 60fps setting.

8) The *only* setting that uses the cameras stabilization is the 720p at 60fps mode.

I review all my electronics on line and I hope this review helps you make your decision easier. I am happy with the camera and it works for my needs.
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on May 18, 2009
I have to say, I'm incredibly stunned at the performance of this little camera. I film and edit for a hobby and was looking for a real deal camera to step up my game, but my budget was small. I had it in my head that I wanted a Canon GL2 MiniDv, until I did some research and found out that first off, minidv tapes are slowly on the out (replaced by Flash Memory), and that its picture quality was not as high as some of the newer cameras which shoot in full HD 1080i (don't get me wrong, I would be grateful to have a GL2, it's just too expensive) I started to search for comparable cameras only to find out I would have to drop $3000-$4000.. Which some day in the future I may, but for now, I was looking for cheap & effective solution. I researched about 20 different affordable HD cameras only to find that each one would have a key element missing that I would need, That being expandable memory or tape (Flip MinoHD), external mic line input (almost all), full 1080i hd (Kodak g7), and something very important for MY needs...easy to travel with!
I travel all over the world and like to film and edit my adventures. I wasn't thinking about the fact that if I bought a GL2 I would be carrying a 1' x 8" camera all over the place and would have to carry additional tapes as well.
After weeks of research I found this little guy and I don't regret a thing! It uses flash memory, it has an 1/8" external mic input, a large flip display, and best of all, it fit right in my pocket while I trek'd all over Asia! Upon my return I dumped all the footage down to Final Cut to find that the footage looked stunning!
Now, It isn't a miracle camera for $200, it has flaws, but for $200? come on!
Here are the flaws:
-it tries to focus alot, causing some blurry moments
-shooting with "night shot" produces a very pixelated image
-the battery is not the greatest

Here's how I fixed that:
-I bought a small SIMA LED light (worked great)
-after a few days I learned how to counter the focus issues
-i bought a back-up battery and loved life!

Even if you are experienced with film making, and have really nice cameras, this little guy will be your best buddy for on the go and travel shooting. And with the "open source" timeline in FCP 6...the sky's your limit with mix and match video types.

I hope this helps anyone who is having trouble like I did.
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on April 17, 2009
This camcorder works perfectly for me. The 60fps is very good. However, if your hands are pretty steady the 30fps isn't bad either. Quick note, the image stabilization only applies to 720p 60fps and wvga 60fps. Low lighting isn't half bad. There is a night mode option that does help a bit but to be honest, I didn't purchase this cam to do low light situations. Still images are really nice once you get the hang of taking them. The 1080p resolution is at 1440x1080. This is actually at 1.33 which is full frame, but the pixels aren't square. If you have K-Lite Codec Pack, you should have something called XVid MP4 which can export this as a widescreen avi file. You'll have to play around with the settings on it to get it just right though. Didn't have any trouble doing this with AVS Video Editor 4. The other video resolutions shouldn't give you any trouble. And mind you, it has nothing to do with the camcorder itself. Codecs aren't truly specifically designed for 1080p so you have to work around it. Format for vids is .mov The software I got with it was ArcSoft. If nothing else, take advantage of the Digital Theatre that comes with that package. It's awesome for viewing the .MOV files as well as any dvd you own. Plus it lets you take still pictures from whatever video is playing. Make no mistake, the HD on this baby is nice. I would suggest testing it out on an actual HD screen though before you start bashing it. I was hanging with one of my old buddies and he thought it was garbage until we looked at the vids on the computer. An LCD is never a good indicator of how the full video looks. That's not even an lcd's purpose. It's so you can see what you're shooting in the first place. And he claimed to be so HD savvy! Ha!

I seriously would recommend this camcorder for anyone that plans to do a lot of daytime shooting. I'd even recommend it for Youtube vids although honestly if all you're doing is shooting for Youtube ONLY, you could actually go after a flip that records in hd. Plan to become a videography hobbyist like myself? Go after the Aiptek.

One more thing. This camcorder has an external mic jack. This was the deal maker for me to be honest. I plan to be pretty busy this fall recording marching bands ever saturday and an external mic is a godsend for this price range. It works very very well and that's after numerous tests at different volume ranges. Using the internal mic only? It has nice frequency response and is in stereo. It's located on the lcd flap so no internal motor noise is picked up. Hope this helped you guys.
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on May 16, 2009
I've tried the Flip Mino, Kodak Zi6, and the Sony Webbie MHS-PM1 in the past two months. Let me tell you that the Aiptek GVS beats them all! The Aiptek has an actual flash for taking pictures (unlike any of the aforementioned), optical zoom, removable Li-Ion battery, and support for SD cards.

I cannot remember the last time I've been this satisfied and excited about a product (not even my Apple iPhone can overshadow this Aiptek GVS). Fairly confident that you also will feel the same after buying one.

Oh also, the kit comes with a tripod, lens-cover, and carrying case (along with the HD and AV cables, of course).
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on April 20, 2009
I had been thinking about buying an HD camcorder for a few weeks, in anticipation of my daughter's 1st dance recital. As the event loomed closer, and closer, I determined that buying something online wasn't going to be feasiable insomuch of delivery time, so sent an email to my brother in-law, who works at a camera store. I asked him about HD camcorders and whether they sold them, and whether there was anything worth while to buy under $200. His answer was "HA..nope!" He then explained that there wasn't anything worth while to buy under $600.

After reading that, I went on the web, and found this product. Not only did it have the technical specifications I was looking for 1080p@30fps and 720p@60fps, but it was also under $200. Even better, overnight shipping was only $20!! The reviews had me, the price was right, and it would be delivered ontime.

The product, simply works awesome. I couldn't be happier. Although I am sure there are better products out there, I simply do not need anything more. It records in HD, it is simple to use, it charges quickly, hooks up to my TV with no trouble, and uploads onto YouTube with ease. As a father looking to capture the events in his family's life, this is the best bang-for-buck around.

Anyone intrested in watching the videos I recorded, go to YouTube and search "2009 YMCA Dance Recital" you should get a least 5 videos by NFJ1978; those are the ones I recorded with this camera. Just remember to click on the "HD" button below the viewing screen when you get to YouTube, as they default you to a non-HD version....
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on August 16, 2009
I purchased the silver GVS back in May 2009 so this review in more of a comparison of the two cameras. Both camera's are essentially identical minus a few points. However, I know the Silver GVS available from Target shares some of the features with this model that my old Silver model does not...

Anyway, key differences...

* Cosmetics - Aside from the black casing, there are a couple other minor changes. Some of the logos have changes slightly (HD/1080 rather than ActionHD/1080). The rear I/O cover has also been improved so it's easier to pop open. Aside from that, the camera's identical to the silver model.

* Flash - As can be seen in the photos, the flash is horizontally mounted rather than vertical. This provides a slightly better photo and makes it more difficult to cover the flash with a finger. I've also noticed more consistant white-balances (my older GVS had a blue hue in "flashed" photos) (the Target model also has the horizontal flash)

* Microphones - People have confirmed the GVS has two microphones, but the majority of them do not record in stereo. I have confirmed this model DOES record in stereo and not simply encode 1-channel as the old models do. (the Target model shows Stereo in the photos, but the actual model DOES not have stereo written on it or record in stereo)

* LCD - I have noticed the LCD on the black (and Target model) have a much lower viewing angle than my older model. However, when viewed at the correct angle, the screen is much brighter, even on the lowest brightness setting. So, win some lose some...

* AV-IN - I hate to say it, but this model doesn't have AV-IN. I plan to send a message to Amazon regarding the product description, but I have tested this and found no form of audio/video input.

All in all, the camera is identical. Probably the only real notable addition is stereo. But aside from that, the camera is the same. I'd honestly suggest trying to get the previous model unless you REALLY need stereo or really want a black version of this camera. The better LCD and price difference makes it a better choice in my opinion.


While comparing these cameras, I realized my newest one (this black one) had this awful high-pitched squeal in the recordings. It appears the LCD makes some noise and is being picked up by the mics. I figured I'd try to upgrade my firmware to the latest version (28xx to 2901 I believe). To my surprise the noise being emitted from the LCD seems to be much lower and there's very little being recorded now. So, for this and probably any other Action HD GVS, get the latest firmware from Aiptek!
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on February 27, 2009
I was so excited about this camcorder, but after two returns it became apparent that Aiptek is having quality issues while producing this model. The first camcorder had three white dots and one red spot show up in the viewfinder while recording. I also noticed what I would call "streaking" in the viewfinder (think very light vertical lined burned into the lens...much like tv burn in). I thought it might just be the viewfinder, but when I viewed the movies on my TV or computer, they were actually more pronounced since the viewing area was bigger. I returned the camcorder (amazon was great about the return) and had them send me another one. The new one had no white dots in the viewfinder and the streaking burn in was less pronounced. I was very pleased until I again viewed the recorded video on my TV and on my computer. Both showed a single white dot near the middle of the screen. If you're buying a camera for the great picture, a little white dot that is always there is pretty darn annoying.

I'd actually read about one other person having the white dots problem with this camera (in a forum on the web) but I'd read so many great reviews and seen so many great video examples that I figured it was one bad camcorder. I have no doubt some people are getting camcorders with no defects, but after two bad units I'm moving to a different brand. Unfortunately any other cameras with these features are a bit more expensive. I hate when people say you get what you pay I guess I'll just not say it. :-(
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on January 9, 2009
This product has it all, compact, good looks, high definition, flash based storage, decent battery life, and price. Aiptek finally came through with GVS, delivering the much needed stabilization that was missing in the previous models. If you are the typical family man, or amateur video enthusiast who's looking for the perfect camera to shoot family events, take on vacations, or just shoot the next Little Miss Sunshine, I highly recommend this product.
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