Pros / The JVC Quad Proof GZ-R440D EnvrioR is waterproof and shockproof.
Cons / It lacks integrated Wi-Fi.
Verdict / The JVC Quad Proof GZ-R440D is an affordable and rugged camcorder that ranked highly in our tests. It’s also comparatively inexpensive.
This camcorder is durable and easy to use. We’ll also admit we really like the bright orange color it comes in, but you can get the same device in black if you’d prefer.
Its maximum recording resolution is 1080p, which is high definition and results in very clear video. In our tests we took video inside and outside on a clear sunny day, and after watching the footage, our reviewers gave this camera a C in overall video quality. The road looked crisp and we could easily distinguish vehicle license plate numbers on passing cars, but the footage was slightly grainy. Our video technicians also watched the footage on video editing software and gave this camera an A for color balance as it tends to shoot a little bit blue but is well balanced overall.
During our outdoor tests, this camera had a hard time staying on. We affixed all of the camcorders to a rig made of PVC pipe and then tied that securely to the top of a car and drove around. It was a chilly day – around 30 degrees – and there was a little bit of wind, which may have contributed to the camera’s spotty recording behavior. At one point it decided to randomly turn on and start recording while we were parked at an intersection.
Despite its issues outdoors, this camcorder did pass our waterproofing test and drop tests. We thought the LCD screen might break off, but we dropped it several times with the screen flipped outward and it stayed put. Take note that the LCD screen does get dirty and smudge, and when you wipe it off it’s easy to press buttons unintentionally on the touchscreen – a problem we experienced with every touchscreen camcorder we tested.
This camcorder also has all the internal features we looked for, like image stabilization and some editing capabilities. There is no integrated Wi-Fi, like you get with the Nikon KeyMission 80 or the Sony Handycam HDR-CX440, but you’re still able to transfer your images using the SD card or cord that comes with the camera. On top of that, you get 4GB of internal memory. This isn’t much but could be useful in case you fill up your memory card and just need to get the last few minutes of a concert, recital or white-water rafting route. Its 40x optical zoom is on the top end of the camcorders we considered, which means it can capture a pretty good picture from rather far away. It also has 60x dynamic zoom capability.