JVC GZ-HM450 Camcorder Review
JVC GZ-HM340 Comparison
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Since the GZ-HM340 is effectively the HM450's predecessor, let's do a quick recap of what JVC actually went ahead and changed on its new camcorder. The GZ-HM450 has the same size LCD as the HM340, but the screen is higher-resolution (230,000-pixels), and it uses a touchscreen interface. Yup, this means JVC got rid of its Laser Touch Strip, which was a staple on its Everio camcorders for a couple of years. Whether or not you consider the touchscreen better than the Laser Touch is a matter of personal preference, but, if you read through our review of the HM450, you'll know we found the touchscreen to be very frustrating at times (and extremely sluggish in its response time).
The biggest change for the GZ-HM450 may be the camcorder's new 40x optical zoom lens, which is twice the zoom offered on the GZ-HM340. If you're a zoom fanatic, the GZ-HM450 is certainly a camcorder worth checking out. The GZ-HM450 is also a bit lighter than its predecessor, but not by all that much. The addition of standard definition recording options is a pleasant surprise on the GZ-HM450, and it's a feature we always like to see on consumer HD camcorders.
In terms of performance, the two camcorders performed very similarly in our tests. The HM340 actually did better in some tests—like color accuracy and noise—while the GZ-HM450 held a slight edge in motion. Overall, we can't say JVC improved anything in the performance department, which is rather disappointing.
Unless you love touchscreens or have the need for the extra zoom lens, the GZ-HM450 doesn't have much to offer that makes it better than its predecessor. We do love the inclusion of standard definition record options, so that is something that makes the HM450 better (but this is a feature we aren't convinced everyone will use or even discover). What we're basically saying is this: if the new features we outlined don't intrigue you, then there's no point in getting the HM450 over the HM340, particularly if you can find an older HM340 at a steep discount.