Archive for February, 2010

Flip UltraHD – Great Portable Video Camera

by cjw333  (San Jose, CA United States)

I’ve owned a few video cameras over the years but none of them have gotten much use mainly due to the size of the camera. In my opinion it’s not always practical to haul those things around. When they do get used, the video that I take tends to sit on those small tapes never to be seen again. It’s just too much of a hassle to go the content from tape to digital so I can edit and finally watch what I’ve recorded.

Enter the Flip – with a size that fits easily in the hand (about the size of an iPod but narrower and a bit thicker) this device is also easily stuffed in a bag so you have it everywhere you go. For me this accessibility makes it much more practical compared to a traditional video camera.

Another huge selling point for me is the simplicity. It’s simple enough to use that I reckon even my parents could operate it with small instruction. It starts up in a flash and is instantly ready to record (from off to record in about 5 sec). The huge red button records and stops recording. That’s all you really need to know. Of course there are zoom and playback options that take the Flip beyond simple recording.

Although the Flip works well in low light, it’s best that you film in daylight or a well lit room. I did a test shot at night in a dimly lit room and the video was watchable but a bit grainy. Filming outside during the day resulted in crisp, clear video. If you’re looking to do a lot of recording in low light the HD version might be a better choice for you.

I also like the fact that I can watch my recordings right on the device itself. The built in screen is excellent enough for a few people to gather around for a quick view of what was just recorded. It has built in audio as well. If you want to show off your video to a larger crowd you can use the audio/video out on the side of your Fip to plug directly into a TV with a composite input (HD version has and HDMI output).

Getting the video from your Flip to your computer couldn’t be simpler. You basically flip out the small USB arm and plug your camera directly into your computer. When plugged in the flip will show up as a hard drive so if for some reason you don’t want to install the software you can just drag and drop video files just as you might do from a thumb drive or other external drive. The software, but, gives you a nice interface for managing your videos on your Flip as well as those that you’ve went to your computer. In addition to simplified file management the software gives your an simple way to edit videos, take snapshots and make your own movies by joining together multiple files.

I’m very excited to use my Flip for an upcoming vacation. The small size will fit easily into my day bag and with 2 hours of recording time I should have plenty of room to store a day’s worth of video. I also like the fact that the Flip takes AA batteries (regular or rechargeable) so if I run out of juice while I’m out I should be able to find replacements easily. Finally since it’s so simple to transfer the video to my computer I might really end up watching these videos for a change.

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Flip Mino vs Flip Ultra

Flip UltraUD

  • Flip UltraHD has larger screen and it was much simpler to shoot. Even though it is bulkier, the Ultra felt more solid and sturdier , really it doesn’t fit well in the packaged microfiber case.
  • Ultra buttons are more clearly define your actions when using the camcorder.
  • Flip UltraHD’s additional features such as larger screen,HDMI output (HDMI supports both audio and video) and offcource longer battery life.
  • Replaceable batteries, and a re-chargeable one is included.
  • Extra 4GB of memory and swappable battery feature and the on the UltraHD.
  • It has HDMI port for connecting to your HD TV and USB port.
  • 120 minutes of storage (compared to 60 minutes on the MinoHD).
  • 720p resolution video at a reasonably high frame rate.
  • Excellent picture in indoor lighting and Fantastic picture in daylight.
  • Excellent video tracking (i.e. moves well from left to right without losing a bunch of frames).

Flip MinoHD

  • The  Flip Mino is very sleek ,thinner and overall sexier. It can fit just into your pocket and can easily carry everywhere.
  • The Mino has no problem with USB extension.
  • The camera has a 1.5 inch screen that is vibrant but small. There is a nice quality built in microphone. Operation is dead simple. Turn it on and push the large red button to start record and then press it again to stop.
  • If you really want a simple to use, fantastic quality HD camcorder, with very simple to use software, then buy this.

Final Verdict

The quality of the videos in these 2 flip cameras are about the same, but, the colors appear to be slightly more vibrant with the UltraHD.

zoom is extremely limited in both cameras.

Fantastic video capture in both the cameras.

Fantastic internal software (although it works much better with PCs than Macs).

Simple to use and very simple devices to learn.

The UltraHD is a fantastic camera for families going on vacation. While it is larger than the MinoHD it does offer 120 minutes of video storage. But, if your goal is to have a highly portable camera for spur of the moment videos you may want to choose the MinoHD since it is lighter and more portable.

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Flip Mino Series Camcorder Bundle with AC Adapter, 60 Minutes (White)
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