Bluetooth is certainly one of the more recognizable wireless standards out there (having a catchy name helps). It's the technology by which we wirelessly connect our cell phones to wireless headsets and headphones. Not surprisingly, camcorders have adopted it to add wire-free functionality and convenience.
Bluetooth in a Camcorder
Bluetooth is a wireless technology that is very common in mobile phones and digital music players, usually as a means to wirelessly send music or voice calls from the device to a headset or earphones. In fact, many current cellphones no longer offer the auxiliary ports needed for wired connections, relying completely on Bluetooth for connection to external devices.
Bluetooth performs well over short ranges between 10 and 30 feet or so. It's ideal for sending small bundles of data between devices but wasn't designed for data-heavy applications such as video streaming.
So what is Bluetooth doing in a camcorder?
Using Bluetooth, you can send still photos to a smartphone. Then, you can email those pictures to friends and family or upload them to the cloud for saving. You can use Bluetooth to control a camcorder, too: In JVC's Bluetooth camcorders, a free smartphone app lets you transform your smartphone into a remote control for the camcorder. You can start and stop recording, and even zoom remotely using your phone.
Bluetooth also enables camcorders to work with wireless, Bluetooth-enabled accessories such as external microphones and GPS units. Using a Bluetooth GPS unit, you can add location data to (geotag) your videos to them. If you need to position a microphone close to a subject while you record, a Bluetooth mic is a nice option.
While the benefits of using Bluetooth wireless technology in a camcorder are pretty obvious (no wires!) the downsides are less so. The biggest is the drain on battery life. Any time a wireless radio is turned on inside a camcorder, it's drawing down the battery. If you're considering a camcorder with Bluetooth technology, pay close attention to the battery life specifications and whether the stated battery life has been calculated with the wireless technology on or off. Also consider buying a longer-lasting battery for the unit, if one is available.
Cost is another factor. All things being equal, a camcorder with some form of built-in wireless capability is usually going to be more expensive than a similarly equipped model without such specifications.
Finally, and most significantly, Bluetooth can't support wireless video transfers to other Bluetooth devices such as phones and computers. HD (high-definition) video produces very large files that are far too large for the current version of Bluetooth to support.