Customer Review

1,871 of 1,904 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The camcorder SHOWDOWN: I've done the product comparisons for you, November 6, 2009
This review is from: Flip MinoHD Video Camera - Brushed Metal, 8 GB, 2 Hours (2nd Generation) (Camera)
Update: Since my review the Flip Mino has been greatly improved. It now works and plugs in perfectly to my Mac and has stereo sound. For it's small size, that's a good thing.

Now, on to the original review:

If I'm going to spend more than a hundred bucks on an item or somewhere around there, I do extensive research first to know I got the best bang-for-the-buck and, consequently, dodge any potential future buyer's remorse.

I've realized that the time I spend doing my product comparisons is often time that others don't have so I may as well share what I can.

I'll start by saying that you'll see my "Verified Amazon Purchase" on the Flip HD Ultra Camcorder review because, obviously, that's the one I wound up buying and I'll share with you why. But what I like in a camcorder may not suit your own needs so I'll break it down and let you decide what's best for you via what I found out:

Here are the pocket camcorders I compared:

*Flip UltraHD (will be referred to as "F")
*Flip Mino HD 2nd generation (Will be referred to as "M")
*Creative Labs Vado HD 8 GB 2nd generation (Will be referred to as "CL")
*Kodak Zi6 Pocket HD (Will be referred to as "K")

*There are notes on the RCA Small Wonder at the bottom. Because that's not an HD camera, I didn't include it.

Why HD cameras only? Brighter colors and better images, wider images

HD SHOOTING TIME:
F: 120 minutes.
M: 120 minutes
CL:120 minutes
K: 25 minutes with batteries they included, 120 minutes if you buy an SD card

HOW CNET's editors rated the cameras:
F Excellent
M Excellent
CL Very Good
K Very Good

MEMORY:
F: 8 GB
M:8 GB
CL: 8 GB
K: internally only 30 MB recording space but it has 32 GB expandable SD/SDHC card slot. Because it comes with such small recording space you really need to buy an SD or SDHC card to maximize its potential, but the potential is really good and this will increase your ability to shoot longer.
SW 8GB

RESOLUTION:
All are 720p which is excellent, just one step below the top 1080p format.

MICROPHONE:
F: Stereo
M: Mono*
CL: Mono
K: Mono

SOUND:
F:Premier AAC audio. Best sound quality but still not great in winds
M:Good sound quality, not good in winds
CL:Poor sound quality; had issues with sound and picture not being in sync.
K:Poor sound quality

ZOOM:
F: 2x
M:2x
CL:2x
K: poor quality zoom on the one I tried but I still think it's 2x. It has a great macro focus for very close-up objects if, for example, you see a bumble bee and want to shoot it on a leaf a few inches away! Kinda cool.

CAMERA SIZE AND WEIGHT:
F: 4.3x2.2x1.2 4 oz
M: 3.9x2x0.6 3. 3 oz
CL: 3.9x3x0.6 3.5 oz
K: 5.5x2.5.0.9 5.6 oz

SHIPPING SIZE AND WEIGHT:
F: 6.2 x 3.1 x 3.1 inches ; 11.2 ounces
M: 2 x 0.7 x 3.9 inches ; 1 pound
CL: 3.3 x 7.9 x 6.3 inches ; 11.2 ounces
K: 4x 5x 2.5" 2.4 lbs

TECHNICAL DETAILS:
F: USB cable pops out of the back so you don't need to keep up with a separate cable. Comes with Flip Video rechargeable AA battery pack (recharges when connected to USB); also supported by standard AA batteries. Note: Some sets come with the HDMi mini included and others come with the rechargeable battery pack on Amazon. Looks like one or the other but of course if you need both you can buy the other.
M: USB cable pops out of the back on this one as well. Has child safe button to prevent accidental deletion of videos. Internal lithium ion battery recharges through built-in USB arm
CL: USB in camcorder. Included in box are HDMI cable (nice), USB extension cable,(nice)silicon skin (cool) & rechargeable battery.
K: Included in box are HD and AV cables and wrist strap and rechargeable batteries and battery charger. Has built in USB arm.

SPEED:
F: 30 frames per second.
M: 30 frames per second
CL: 30 frames per second
K: choice of 30 frames per second or 60 frames per second.

VIEWING SCREEN: All 2" except the Kodak was the largest at 2.4"

IMPORTANT NOTES:
F: Best low-light performance for the mini cameras (though not perfect at all) and least amount of blurring and dropped frames in my opinion. Best color. Only one with stereo sound. You can get an underwater case for this one! Though that may sound crazy for a Texan, we use the camera non-stop on vacations and even when we aren't IN the water, we are around the water...on boats, in the sand with sea mist, etc. Then we can dive in and record the fish. Comes preloaded with flipshare software...just plug in to computer and it pops up.
M: Colors don't appear as good on the Mino as the other cameras. Thinnest camera. Make sure you get the one that only comes in the color aluminum or brushed metal. If it comes in any other colors it is the 1st generation MinoHD and they improved upon that one in the newer models. Great audio. Better shooting in low light than most mini cameras. Camera comes preloaded with FlipShare software. Can get still images through flipshare software.
CL: Decent filming in low light but not nearly as good as the Ultra or Mino; Software is preloaded in camcorder.
K: This is the only camera that I compared without the built in image stabilizatin which corrects for shaky images. What appears to be metal in picture is actually a chrome colored plastic. That said, this had the largest viewing screen of all of them. 2.4" Very poor in low light and seemed to have far more shaking and blurring. It also takes still pictures but they are really really poor quality...same as a lesser-quality cell phone pictures but good in a pinch if you want a still shot and have no cell or camera I s'pose. Heaviest for a pocket camera. Software is not preloaded in camcorder but a cd comes with it.

And, finally, the reviews of the Flip from experts swayed me quite a bit:
Fast Company: "Flip Ultra HD is Pure Digital's "Best Pocket Camcorder Yet." 6-09

USA Today: "New Flip Ultra Video Cameras Might Flip Your Switch" 4-09

Business Week: How do you Invigorate a Recession? Look to i-phone, Flip, Kindle, and Zip Car For Answers

There were lootttts more I came across when researching the Flip Ultra HD but those are some of my favorites.

CONCLUSION: Clearest picture and sound was important to me, expert reviews that pointed to the Flip UltraHD as well and I liked the built in software and the case I can get to shoot underwater. It is the number one selling camcorder as well. So that was my personal decision-making process. However, keep in mind that if you need reading glasses none of that will matter if the 2" screen is too small for your viewing the shots easily for playback in which case you may wish to get the Kodak if that's important to you..

Also: No matter which one you get, you will probably want a mini tripod if you ever want to be in the shot yourself do don't forget those.

Also note: It's confusing because when these manufacturers make changes in the camcorders, they do not change the names on the new versions, nor do they change the names if it's an HD version or a non-HD version so be sure you look for the "HD" after the brand name and look for "2nd generation" or "newer version" on the Mino and Vado if you like one of those better so you don't get the older models.

Hope my obsessive comparing and contrasting for my own purchasing assistance helped you as well even if what you wanted in a camera was different from me. :-)

Note on the:
*RCA Small Wonder: Because some have asked about the RCA Small Wonder, It never made the final cut...it should be noted that the EZ201 Small Wonder IS NOT HIGH DEF, which, like a tv means the colors aren't as bright or as sharp (yes, it is noticeable which is why people want the HD camcorders.) The zoom lens is optical rather than digital and, on the Small Wonder you'll notice that for whatever reason this means it goes out of focus when you zoom. Even the experts rating this camera suggested walking foreward and backwards when wanting to zoom rather than using the Small Wonder's zoom because of the out-of-focus experience it causes, unfortunately. It is the same quality as a phone video: very grainy & pixelated and only meant for small screen format. It also doesn't have a pop-out usb port unlike the other cameras so you'll need to keep up with a usb cord to use it. And it only has a 90 day warranty. It also only has a mono mic rather than stereo. It is FAR below these cameras in its graininess and pixilation (it's not even a close race) but I thought it should be noted. It's just not of the same class in any way. BUT it's a great price if you don't want HD or want it for fun rather than quality; would be great for a teen or for maybe someone who wants it for documentaion...so it's noted.

*Update: According to Mino, the 2010s now have stereo mics on the Minos. However, a retest of the color and clarity has not improved.
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Comments

Tracked by 10 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 87 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 10, 2009 7:33:08 PM PST
very thorough and helpful... thanks for the detailed report and research

Posted on Nov 10, 2009 7:35:46 PM PST
very thorough and helpful... thanks for the detailed report and research

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 11, 2009 6:12:02 AM PST
Chandler says:
You are so welcome! :-)

Posted on Nov 11, 2009 2:18:34 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 11, 2009 2:19:18 PM PST
HOW NICE TO SHARE YOUR TIME AND COMMENTS.
EXTREMELY HELPFUL TO FIND SUCH A DEDICATED CUSTOMER...THANKS, AMAZON TO INTRODUCE US TO MRS CHANDLER !
Guislaine from bothe Paris,France and Anna Maria, Floride

Posted on Nov 11, 2009 2:20:04 PM PST
HOW NICE TO SHARE YOUR TIME AND COMMENTS.
EXTREMELY HELPFUL TO FIND SUCH A DEDICATED CUSTOMER...THANKS, AMAZON TO INTRODUCE US TO MRS CHANDLER !
Guislaine from bothe Paris,France and Anna Maria, Floride

Posted on Nov 16, 2009 10:10:58 AM PST
twins mom says:
Thanks alot! I'll let you obsess instead of me second guessing myself. Thanks for taking the time.

Posted on Nov 16, 2009 3:06:03 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 16, 2009 3:14:41 PM PST
FF2Skip says:
Curious, why are you comparing Kodak's Zi6 instead of the much improved Zi8? The newest Kodak is quite a few dollars under the Flip. I just used the Zi8 in my track car. I like that it is rechargeable(no batteries) and could take up to a 32GB SDHC card, thereby negating the worry of having to dump any videos unto a laptop until the weekend was over. It also records in 1080p. I'm not a Kodak lover, but am really happy with my recent purchase. Previously I had been using Panasonic point-n-shoots for track video- less expensive when the vibration finally takes its toll on any of them.

Going over some points you mentioned, the Kodak has a flip-out USB dongle, internal software for editing, etc., HDMI port, and all necessary cables... including an HDMI one. Its features are comparable to the FM you reviewed at a price of $160. And yes, I purchased it here on Amazon. :)

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 16, 2009 3:59:12 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 30, 2009 12:00:14 PM PST
Chandler says:
Hi Skip, This was taken from my actual comparisons during the time of my purchase. I did look into the Kodak Zi8 right when I was at the end of all my research and had narrowed out the Zi6 but didn't like the sound quality still and that it only had a 1xzoom and still had less filming time without buying an SDHC card and not as good color so I didn't go any further to see if they added the image stabilization which was my biggest issue with the Kodak zi6.

Good point though as it is most assuredly still better than the Zi6 regardless of anything that might be different than the Flip HD! :-) I still like the Flip UltraHD than the zi8 even now for the reasons above.

Thanks for the input...that may be helpful to someone else reading the comments too...

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 17, 2009 6:04:11 PM PST
Actually, Kodak have updates for the camera that improves the image stabilization along with a sound error that seemed common in it. (Although it could still be recommended to buy a standalone. Actually if you look at the Zi8 review here on Amazon, the top post give the absolute best account of the camera review, by Derrick A. Jeror .) I just bought mine and have had no problems with it. I only got the 16GB card instead of the 32GB because personally I won't need that much memory on it. Surprisingly, Kodak even went as far as to read Amazon's reviews and try to fix the problems people were saying they found with it. That's all I got though, check out the review for it for a way better explanation on things.

Thanks!!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 18, 2009 7:28:58 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 4, 2009 5:10:22 AM PST
Chandler says:
Thanks Clayton.
How do you add the better image stabilization and sound to a Kodak camera? You take the camera in to them? There would be no way to download something like that and I hadn't heard you could do this. People email me about the cameras because of the reviews and I am open minded about brands because I know improvements can be made in the cameras or they might like things about other cameras that weren't something of importance to me.

Of course, I didn't review the Zi8 and it sounds like that is where Kodak went out of improvements from the Zi6. That's really really good to know. Smart of them!

Thanks again...
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