Now that you know the difference between SD and HD camcorders, it’s time to see how the FS31 stands up against the competitors. Overall, the camcorder is extremely inexpensive, costing about $350. It’s also quite compact at 2.2 inches wide by 2.3 inches high by 4.8 inches deep, and it only weighs 10.1 ounces with the battery. This means that it fits quite nicely into a jacket pocket or backpack.
The camcorder has a large 2.7 widescreen color LCD screen, but it is not a touch screen. Instead, you use a joystick to navigate to through the menu. For those extremely opposed to touch screens, this is a blessing. You don’t have to worry about the screen getting smudged, or your hands sweating, which often makes it difficult to use the screen. For people that love their touch screen technology, this could be a deal breaker. But, the joystick is really easy to use and it is perfectly placed. The screen does swing out, and you can turn it around to view what you are recording.
The camcorder fits nicely in the hand and you can easily reach all of the controls. Another nice feature is the built-in lens cover. This cover closes as soon as you shut off the camcorder. This way you never forget to replace the lens cover and you don’t have to worry about a dirty lens.
The accessories package is pretty standard with USB and video cables as well as a battery pack. This camcorder, however, does lack both a control jack and microphone input. The inability to add an external microphone is a drawback, especially if you want to record good, quality audio. All camcorders suffer on the audio side, and this one is no different. So, it would have been nice to have the option of an external microphone.