The JVC Everio GZ-HD6EK HD camcorder sticks to TS/Mpeg2 high-definition video - the format AVCHD is ultimately expected to replace.

The advantage is that the JVC Everio GZ-HD6EK is capable of recording 1,920x1,080 video, with the option to output it progressively, provided you hook it up to a compatible flat-panel TV or projector using HDMI. Another feature of note for Mac users in particular is that the Everio HD6 has a mini-FireWire port on its front, making footage transfer much easier than with the other models here.

The other big advantage the JVC Everio GZ-HD6EK has over most of its rivals is its 120GB hard drive. For those who prefer the convenience of being able to use removable storage, this camcorder has a microSDHC card in its base. While this is a strange place to find a memory card slot, we were pleased with this additional storage option - although SDHC would been a better choice yet.

In use, the JVC Everio GZ-HD6EK proves a little unwieldy. The inclusion of that massive hard drive makes it feel heavy. It tips the scales at 505g (without battery) - more than almost all the other cameras here.

Accessing the JVC Everio GZ-HD6EK's controls is easy: all the major options fall easily under your fingers and thumb, with the rest accessible via a joystick on the 2.8in LCD. The JVC models also have the biggest screens of all the HD camcorders we tested.

When it comes to picture quality, the JVC Everio GZ-HD6EK turns in a reasonable performance but, compared to the best camcorders, its shortcomings are evident. Video images lack the sharpness and detail of either the Canon HF100E or Sony HDR-CX11E. The JVC Everio GZ-HD6EK tends to exaggerate certain colours too - red hues look particularly over-saturated, though you can reduce this effect using the camera's manual controls.

Sound quality is respectable, although the JVC Everio GZ-HD6EK lacks the surround-sound recording options of either the Sony HDR-CX11E or Panasonic HD-SD100.

OUR VERDICT

This is a good choice of camera if huge storage capacity is a big factor. The JVC Everio GZ-HD6EK produces good pictures and sound and has a comprehensive set of connection options including FireWire. However, we found it rather bulky and the use of Mpeg2 rather archaic. Mac users should also note that it supports only 1440 CBR video. Windows users enjoy full HD capabilities.