Top critical review
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Good portable camera, the younger brother to the HD Model
on June 9, 2009
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.