The Genius G-Shot HD520 is a small pistol-grip camcorder with 5Mp photo capture, face-detection and the ability to work as a voice recorder as well.

As seems to be the vogue, the Genius G-Shot HD520 shoots H.264 video to removable SD Card flash memory and has an HDMI output so the resulting footage can be viewed on a convenient TV screen.

The Genius G-Shot HD520 has a very plasticky high-shine silver finish and is a little bulkier than its 160g (without battery) might suggest. The lithium-ion battery doesn't have a separate charger cradle - instead you insert the battery pack in the G-Shot's body and charge it from the mains to which it's connected by mini USB.

The Genius G-Shot HD520 comes in a protective neoprene case that has a belt loop that could also be used to secure it to a bike handle or similar.

Separate buttons on the upper right of the Genius G-Shot HD520's exterior turn the flash on and off and let you zoom in and out. The slider button for this function is a little sharp on the fingers and neither this nor the flash function seems to work when you don't have a memory card inserted or have no images saved to the internal memory. The SD Card slot is concealed, nattily, at the base of the unit and is hidden by the slide-off cover for the lithium-ion battery.

As is standard, when you flip up the Genius G-Shot HD520's 2.5in LCD display you get a musical greeting - you can disable this in the settings menu. The display can be turned through 270 degrees and, while it doesn't have the detail or sharpness of a big-brand camcorder, is serviceable with a friendly onscreen menu.

A hardware button on the rear of the pistol-grip Genius G-Shot HD520 camcorder lets you cycle through options from photo playback to PMP (portable media player) and eBook reading. Yes, Genius is trying to be all things to all gadget fans here, providing some cheap, off-white plastic earphones should you want to use the G-Shot as a music or video player. The eBook idea seemed rather zany given the cramped display, but hats off to Genius for cramming in lots of features.

The scattergun approach makes the Genius G-Shot HD520 seem very good value and, while we'd have preferred more control over our videos, Genius offers quite a few setup options for photos. The 5Mp digital zoom and basic flash are a good start, as is the camera mode for taking stills of items you want to auction at eBay or elsewhere - effectively a still portrait mode but without the face-detection. Face-detection can be initiated from the secondary selection navipad lower down the rear of the camcorder, as can the self-timer and flash.

While we wouldn't describe the amount of user control as comprehensive, you can at least adjust the EV exposure by -2.0 or +2.0 and set the white balance depending on the light conditions. The result is some acceptable but unmemorable shots when shooting on a reasonably sunny day or in a well-lit interior but very noisy and indistinct evening shots. The ability to mount the G-Shot on a tripod would have been welcome.


We weren’t bowled over by the Genius G-Shot HD520. It crams in a lot of ideas but doesn’t execute them terribly well. We’d be happy to take this camcorder out and about to record a family fun day, but wouldn’t rely on it as our everyday digital camera.