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2,187 of 2,224 people found the following review helpful
on May 27, 2009
Color Name: BlackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I've made a video review, using the Flip Ultra Camcorder, so that you can see the audio/video quality (Keep in mind I had to compress the video a little bit for Amazon), and I also show how to use the camcorder.

In my opinion, this is an excellent camcorder for a novice, or someone who just wants an easy to use camcorder that is small and compact. I personally don't need more than 2 hours recording time and it's wonderful not having to purchase tapes.

The price is actually less than many digital cameras. I've wanted to own a camcorder for a long time, and the Flip Ultra has finally met my standards for: quality, value, and ease of use.
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839 of 853 people found the following review helpful
Color Name: BlackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have two Flip camcorders - the MinoHD, and the Flip Ultra (this product).

I consider this one to be the younger brother to the MinoHD, with lower video quality, but also some things I like better than the HD model. Therefore I'm giving this 3.5 stars, and here is why.

Here's what I like BETTER:
1. the larger viewing screen on the camera - as compared to the HD version, this one has a much better viewing screen and a much better field of vision. the HD version has to be some distance away from what you're filming in order to get a good view, but with the ultra you can be much closer to your subject and still see all around them
2. more space - 120 minutes means I can carry this thing with me all day and take create 640x480 video, up to 2 hours worth, and that's important if you're out and about (although I wish there was a way to put a memory card into it for more space)
3. The product has a better surface for holding and gripping the camera. The HD version is glossy and slick, where as the Ultra version has a more matte finish on the case so it's easier to hold.

Here's what I don't especially care for:
1. It requires batteries. The HD model is rechargeable, so you just plug it into the USB on your computer and the battery recharges itself. The Flip Ultra takes AA batteries, and while you certainly can use rechargeable batteries, I consider this a step backward. (the batteries also add weight)
2. it's only 640x480 - this is pretty much bottom end for video capture these days, especially when most digital cameras are now able to record in HD dimensions; if you are super concerned about presenting your finished video in HD, this product is NOT for you

What is the same?
1. The USB plug is a flip-out in both models, you just press on the release latch and the USB plug flips out - just plug it into your computer and the software starts up automatically (note that the ultra version does have the latest version of the software which has some additional picture capture and uploading options - you can get this from the website too)
2. From power on, to ready to go, both cameras are FAST. Push the power button, set the date/time (only first time you turn it on) and the camera is ready to go. Push the record button and you're off. Much faster than many digital cams on the market.
3. One button recording - same on both, it's a big red button that you can't miss.
4. Good sound quality. The mic on the front of the device gets the sound quite well, without the need for external mic.
5. TV output cable and plug. If you want to show your video on a TV without having a computer around, you can use the included audio/video plug to watch your movies (just remember that your battery will run down faster)

Overall I think this is a great addition to the Flip video line - just consider it the more consumer version vs. prosumer (HD level). For the price, storage space, and ease of carrying it everywhere, I'm giving it 3.5 stars. I removed 1.5 stars because of lack of rechargeable features, and it's slightly heavier than the HD model.
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479 of 498 people found the following review helpful
Color Name: BlackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Showing the 2nd generation Flip in action: using the Flip and what's in the box, some video samples, and a quick movie editing example using the Windows version of the Flip software.
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77 of 79 people found the following review helpful
on May 27, 2009
Color Name: BlackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The new Flip Ultra Camcorder 2nd Generation comes in with a few tweaks over the original Ultra. Most notably the internal memory jumps from 2GB to 4GB which equates to about 2 hours of video. Image quality is much improved via the new installed software package. Audio on this model is more enhanced then previous versions via the upgraded microphone. This model accommodates both Mac and Windows operating systems. The LCD screen is expanded from 1.5" to 2". The control buttons are larger. The sliding power button is no more. The tekkies at Flip opted for the industry standard push button. This unit is slightly larger then the original Ultra. The body is plastic and comes in black, pink, white, and yellow with a chrome finish.

Simplicity at its best, above average video is obtained with 640x480 resolution video at 30fps, compressing it using H.264, and encodes it as MPEG 4. As with all Flip gear, shooting and transferring videos to a computer or even uploading them to file sharing sites is simple. The on board 2x digital zoom is a gadget at best and is practically useless. First time mini camcorder buyers should be aware that manual, advanced or still capture settings are not an option. However, the preloaded software package easily allows stills to be pulled direct from video.

For a low resolution model, the Ultra produces above average video as long as one views it via the programmed format on the computer monitor or TV. Enlarging to full screen will not only distort the image, it will also bring on the noise demons. That said, colors were well saturated, sound was good and low light performance was average at best. Buyers should keep in mind that a steady hand is paramount to good video. A tripod will make all the difference in shooting quality video.

Powered up via (2) AA alkaline batteries, this unit opts for a simple video out port that displays low resolution video on TV. The basic composite AV cable (RED/WHITE/YELLOW PLUGS) ships with the device. The folks at Flip throw in batteries, wrist strap and a soft, zip string cover to protect the Ultra's plastic finish. The cover will not come close to protecting the mini cam from bumps and drops. It goes without saying that a memory card slot or even rechargeable batteries would have made this product an even sweeter investment.

By no means will the Flip Ultra Camcorder 2nd Generation be confused with any of the top dollar units. However, it is a system that can and will cover the basics for web based video. For those that do not wish to sink the extra bucks into a top of the line mini camcorder, this model will more than cover the bill.
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48 of 48 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon September 23, 2009
Color Name: BlackVerified Purchase
If you've done any camcorder shopping at all, it doesn't take long to realize that we've got a problem with function/feature overload. You could pick camcorder A with night vision, steady hand, and sepia filming capabilities...or you could pick camcorder B with the touch screen, HD video quality, and 50 other functions that you'd never use... The list, as you no doubt have discovered, goes on and on.

This is why I LOVE my Flip. Within 2 minutes of opening the box, it was on and ready to start recording. Within those same two minutes, I'd read the instructions on how to record, playback, and download the videos onto my computer. In my opinion, this is brilliant technology - it's small, convenient, and incredibly simple. Still want high-quality videos, not to worry, this puppy can capture 'em.

If you're an aspiring filmmaker with a commitment to the best of the best of the best...the Flip's probably not the best choice for you. But if you're like the vast majority of people who just want a quality camcorder (and be honest, even though they sound cool, you won't use a quarter of those features on the $400+ camcorders) that doesn't cost an arm and a leg, buy the Flip. It's incredible.
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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon June 17, 2009
Color Name: BlackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I bought family members first generation Flips some time ago, and they were so impressed by their simplicity and convenience that I had to get one for myself. I justified it by explaining to my wife that it would make Amazon reviews so much easier (I haven't once used it in that way), but really I saw it as a new toy. Sometimes less is more, and that certainly seems to hold true in the camcorder world -- at least as far as the Flip is concerned. While there are certainly bigger, better, and far more professional solutions about, the real value to the Flip is that it can go with you anywhere, and you can forget all about it until a shooting situation comes up. We've used ours to record press conferences, and post the same online for others to see. We've created our own virtual tours of homes we were interested in. We sent it to Princeton for my grandfather's 65th reunion, so I could at least enjoy the festivities from a distance. We've used it far more often than we ever imagined we really would, and it's proven to be as much a real tool as a novelty. That you can hand it to someone who has never seen it before, and instruction can be limited to "on/off here, start/stop recording there," means that it's near universally accessible, and fun even for those who might otherwise be somewhat technologically averse.

I grabbed the 2d gen Ultra because I wanted the additional storage space. What I didn't expect was to enjoy a larger view screen, a better (by my eye) on/off toggle (a simple push button, rather than a slide), higher quality audio, and a number of functional enhancements on the software side, such as mass delete with confirm.

Curiously, I no longer seem to be able to just pull the .avi files from the Flip into the Movie Maker software that comes bundled with Windows Vista, but I'm not prepared to actually complain about that fact, as it may be as easy as saving them in another format before pulling them in. If someone else has a meaningful solution here, I'd love to hear it.

That aside, I'd be hard pressed to come up with a single complaint about this generation of the Flip. Unlike hauling around a 'real' camera or camcorder, you can toss this one in your pocket and forget all about it until you need or want it. You can teach others to use it in under 30 seconds. Uploading to services like Youtube is easy even for those who have never done it before, with or without the software bundled in the camera itself. I couldn't be happier that I took the leap from the basic first generation to the Ultra 2nd.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 2009
Color Name: BlackVerified Purchase
I needed a cheap little camera that took good video of my grandkids since my children are so remiss in doing so. I thought this little camera would be good since I saw some great reviews on it and the folks were right. It is light weight,easy to carry and pull out quickly, shoots high quality video. The kids are not usually aware of you filming which gives great shots. All good so far until I used up the 2 hours of video, and I was out of town. I did not have my computer with me, so I was trapped with video that I could not download and no way to save what I had.
My son suggested I go to Staples, or Best Buy and get a flashdrive and have them download it to the flashdrive. I did that and it worked fine. Now I just carry the flash drive with me and it gives me another 2 hours of film time. You will need an 8GB flash drive for the camera since that is what is inside the camera and it will hold 2 hours of filming. Editing is cumbersome and not very well thought out in the software, but you can buy other software to edit that works better.
If you are planning on taking this camera camping, be aware that you need to be near a high tech source when the film runs out. Although 2 hours seems like a long time, it isn't.
Grandma Judy
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on October 22, 2009
Color Name: BlackVerified Purchase
I've been using this camera for a few months and have noticed one major problem. All of the video it takes is somewhat zoomed in. Even if you use the controls to zoom all the way out, the video appears to be zoomed in. In other words, it's the opposite of a wide angle lens.

This is terrible when shooting in close quarters. I use the camera for taking video of house tours and it makes every room seem so much smaller than video taken with another camera or photos taken with another camera. You get so much less stuff in the shot and have to try to back up all the way into the corner of the room to get even a decent shot of the room.

If you want to see what it's like, take your digital camera, zoom to 3x, and see what it looks like. Understand that that's the furthest you can pan out with the Flip.
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45 of 50 people found the following review helpful
on October 20, 2009
Color Name: Pink
I got this for my mother as a Christmas gift. It worked great for about 6 months. Then it wouldn't work all of sudden. Never dropped or mishandled. Worked with tech support and couldn't revive it. Only came on with the little flip beep and then turned back off. I sent it to the company to be repaired. Got it back a about 40 days later. It worked and they fixed it even though it was beyond the warranty! We were so happy. Then on the next outing. Dead. Wouldn't work again. Since the warranty is only 90 days, there is nothing to do, except complain here and get another brand.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on May 18, 2009
Color Name: Yellow
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 little tapes never to be seen again. It's just too much of a hassle to move 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 big selling point for me is the simplicity. It's easy enough to use that I think even my parents could operate it with little instruction. It starts up in a flash and is instantly ready to record (from off to record in about 5 sec). The big 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 good 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 easier. You basically flip out the little 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, however, gives you a nice interface for managing your videos on your Flip as well as those that you've moved to your computer. In addition to simplified file management the software gives your an easy 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 easy to transfer the video to my computer I might actually end up watching these videos for a change.
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