Customer Reviews: Flip Ultra Video Camera - Pink, 4 GB, 2 Hours (2nd Generation)
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on May 26, 2009
Color: Black|Vine 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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Color: Black|Vine 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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VINE VOICEon June 6, 2009
Color: Black|Vine 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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VINE VOICEon September 23, 2009
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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VINE VOICEon June 17, 2009
Color: Black|Vine 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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on October 20, 2009
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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on October 22, 2009
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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on October 27, 2009
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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on March 3, 2010
I purchased the Flip Video and was instantly amazed by the simplicy and intuitive engineering of the device. I was an extremely happy customer until I needed support. Every once in a while I would turn on the camera and instead of getting a video image, I got a black screen. Restarting the unit usually took care of the issue.

Now after a year, I only get this black screen and nothing else, the camera will no longer function. I contacted Pure Digital Technologies for assistance and we began the troubleshooting process. I was told to take out the batteries for 2 days and put in fresh ones and try again. This did not work. Pure Digitals response? They informed me I was past my 90 day warranty and sorry for the inconvenience. Case closed and marked solved. They have chosen not to respond to any further requests for help.

A quick search on the net showed me that I am not alone with this problem... This appears to be occuring rather often with their product and they are unwilling to stand behind their quality if your purchase happened more than 90 days ago. This is by far the weakest link in Pure Didgital technologies flip video chain. My advice... Spend the extra $ and get another manufacturer's product that is built to last. As cool as this video camera was, consumer electronics should not be a crap shoot.
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on May 17, 2009
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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