The GZ-HM960 carries a suggested retail price of $849. Full technical specifications for the GZ-HM960 can be found here.
JVC Everio GZ-HM960 Video Features
The Everio GZ-HM960 uses the full AVCHD format for 1920 x 1080p high definition recording. It supports 24Mbps recording, the highest bit-rate available in the AVCHD video format. The GZ-HM960 features a 10.6-megapixel 1/2.3-inch back-illuminatedCMOS image sensor. Unlike JVC's mid-range models, the GZ-HM960 cannot record in standard definition.
The camcorder uses JVC's "Intelligent Auto" mode for automatically matching scene modes such as portrait, sunset, scenery, forest and macro mode, to shooting environments.
You'll find a 10x optical zoom JVC GT HD lens on the Everio GZ-HM960. It's a wide-angle, 29.5mm lens, so you can capture more of the scene in front of you, even in tight corners. This optical zoom is joined by two digital zoom technologies: a dynamic zoom can boost magnification to 15x without sacrificing video quality. There's also a standard digital zoom, which increases magnification to 200x. The lens uses JVC's "Enhanced Advanced Image Stabilizer" for keeping your footage relatively shake-free. According to the company, the image stabilization technology can compensate for camera shake at wide-angles and is four times as effective in combating shake than the Advanced Stabilization found on less expensive models in the Everio line.
The GZ-HM960's lens is conveniently protected by an automatic lens cap.
Memory and Display
The GZ-HM960 offers 16GB of internal flash memory in addition to a single SDXC memory card slot. It uses JVC's "seamless recording" system, which automatically switches memory formats when one is full. The camcorder is Eye-Fi ready, so it will automatically recognize when a wireless Eye-Fi memory card is in use.
You'll frame your recordings on a large 3.5-inch touch-screen LCD display. The display is capable of showing 3D footage in 3D without the need for glasses. It also displays standard 2D footage. There is no viewfinder.
Design-wise, the GZ-HM960 offers a boxier appearance than JVC's angular models in its entry series thanks to the larger LCD display. Thanks to the use of flash memory you'll still enjoy a light weight body though not as light as JVC's less expensive HD models (.78 pounds with battery inside). The GZ-HM960 measures in at 2.1 x 2.4 x 4.8 inches, roughly the same form factor as the entry-level series of Everios, and features a zoom lever on the top of the camcorder and a record shutter located on the side, next to the camcorder's battery. Open the display and you'll find buttons video playback, scrolling and info, plus the camcorder's ports: component, HDMI, USB and AV.
Aesthetically, the GZ-HM960 is essentially identical to the HM670 and HM650 - i.e. pretty basic and only available in one color - black.
What sets the HM960 apart from the HM860 is the ability to convert 2D footage on the camcorder into 3D. The LCD display is capable of displaying 3D content without the need for glasses and the camcorder can output 3D footage to a 3D-capable HDTV for big-screen viewing (glasses required). This software-driven conversion doesn’t offer the results of camcorders that use two lenses and two image sensors, but those models are usually larger and more expensive.The GZ-HM960 is also JVC's least-expensive model to offer Bluetooth wireless capability. Using Bluetooth and a free app from JVC, you can send resized video files from the camcorder to your phone and sync your video-recording with Google maps for geo-tagging purposes. The free app also lets you use your phone as a remote control for the camcorder. The app is available for Android, BlackBerry and Windows Mobile phones.
The Everio GZ-HM960 is also outfitted with face detection and a smile meter capable of measuring the intensity of the smiles of people in your frame. You can set a specific percentage of this smile intensity and the camcorder will automatically snap a photo when all the smiles hit that level (while also recording video).
Among the other features you'll find on the GZ-HM960 is a time-lapse recording function that lets you record one frame at a time for a selectable time interval (between one and 80 seconds). There's also an Auto Record function which starts recording automatically whenever an object moves into the frame. The camcorder will automatically end recording if motion stops after five seconds, so the camcorder can double as a motion-activated video camera (the battery won't last long enough for it to truly replace a security camera though).
The GZ-HM960's 3.5-inch touch-screen is used for a feature called Face Sub Window. When you're filming groups of people, you can touch a face and the GZ-HM960 will automatically enlarge that face on the side of the display so you can basically record a group shot and a close-up at the same time. It's available on other JVC models but thanks to the large screen on the GZ-HM960, it's actually more useful here.
Finally, you can add basic animated effects to video in the camcorder as well as to still images. JVC's Everio Media Browser software is built-in the camcorder as well for disc-free loading when you attach the camcorder to a computer via USB. The software supports basic video editing (color changing, clipping, etc.) as well as sharing via YouTube and Facebook.
The Everio GZ-HM960 offers a built-in HDMI output for connecting the camera although the cable is not included. You can also connect to a PC via USB cable. There is, as mentioned above, Bluetooth for camcorder-to-cell phone transfers.
Given that the HM860 and HM960 are identical except for the 3D conversion and the HM960 is less expensive, it’s clearly the better value. You may not even use the 3D functions at all, but they are there to “future proof” your investment in case you get the 3D itch.