Customer Reviews: Flip UltraHD Video Camera - Black, 8 GB, 2 Hours (3rd Generation)
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Color: Black|Package Type: Standard Packaging|Change
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on September 22, 2010
This review is very similar to the review that I gave for the Flip Slid HD when it first came out. (Please see that review also...)

I have been a Flip camera user since they released the first gen. Flip Mino HD (not the new metallic model). I loved the camera. For what I needed it for it was everything I wanted. I soon became addicted to the Flip cameras and needed to purchase the newest one every time they came out.

I currently own the Flip Mino HD (1st gen) Flip Ultra HD (2nd Gen) Flip Slide HD, and now the Flip Ultra HD (3rd Gen with Flip Port). I also own a Canon GL2 and Vixia 30 video cameras and a Canon Xi digital SLR.

I got home from school on Tuesday and found my brand new Flip Ultra HD waiting for me. I had about 20 minutes to open the package, look and set up the features (time, date, etc.) before I had to leave for marching band rehearsal. During rehearsal I did some test shooting and I was very impressed with the quality of this camera, but I was worried about a few features.

I was reluctant at first to purchase this camera because of the 60fps feature. I did own a Kodak Zi8 and the 720p 60fps setting didn't not import into Final Cut Pro. I had to take it into compressor or some other software and change the file extension in order for Final Cut Pro to import it. Of course this causes a decrease in quality.

I was also reluctant because of the image stabilization feature. When image stabilization is added to a camera (of this size) video quality usually suffers. I know flips can be very shaky if you do not have a well trained hand. After a few hours a playing you will figure out the right movements that the camera can incorporate so your video will not come out shaky.

I don't use my Flip Slide HD because of the omni directional microphone. I can not record loud situations because the microphone distorts. This is my biggest fault with the Slide HD. I was a little concerned with the new Flip Ultra HD that it would have the same problem even though it uses a different microphone, but what really sold me on this new Flip was the accessories and the FLIP PORT.

Right off the bat I noticed all of the new accessories that they are pushing for the Flips, the aquapacks, the igo chargers, and my favorite is the magnetic Bower Wide Angel Lens. Flip and Cisco have finally started listening to its customers, but what put it over the top for me was Blue Microphones. Blue Microphones makes vintage and out of this world recording, studio, usb microphones. I own one of their USB Microphones called the Snow Ball and the quality of that microphone is amazing. When I found out that Blue Microphones was making a microphone (mikey) for the new Flip to be used with the new Flip Port, I purchased mine right away.

So the Review...

The Ultra HD has always been my favorite because of its size. I think the bigger it is the better control you will have and the less shaky video you will produce. The new Ultra HD is smaller, but not that much. It feels good in your hands. The controls and the screen are in the same place. It is a nice fit in your hand.

I was very shocked at how well the image stabilization worked. If you have used a flip before this one you know that the slightest movement will create shaky video. You can tell that this one has image stabilization. It still can produce shaky video but it might take a big jolt to do it.

The 60 fps was great. It was much clearer video and with the image stabilization it made everything much smoother and clearer in the view finder, even in low light situations. I did check when I got home and the 60fps does import right into Final Cut Pro for editing without any compression. (Probably cause the videos are in MP4 format)

Overall I think this is the best Flip Camera out on the market. I like this one better than the Mino because of the touch screen controls. Sometimes pressing the touch screen controls on the Mino will cause the camera to shake.

I hope this review was helpful. Please feel free to leave comments or questions.

See my comparison of my Flip Cameras below.

Flip Mino HD - Good Microphone (2nd out of all of them), doesn't have as wide as a shooting angle as the Ultra's. Very small in the hand, at times hard to control.

Flip Ultra HD (2nd Gen) - Good Microphone (3rd out of all of them) Wide Angle for shooting, Feels good in the hand, sturdy, wont break if dropped. Double A batteries only last a few hours, rechargeable battery pack has short life span. Unit can get hot when charging - may even shut down.

Flip Slide HD - Poor Microphone (in loud situations) - its omni directional so it picks up all around the Flip not just in the front like the others. (4th out of all of them) Touch controls are better than the Flip Mino, however this has no hard buttons. The Slide does have the largest storage capacity and is second in video quality only to the new Flip Ultra HD.

Flip Ultra HD (3rd Gen Flip Port) - Widest Angle for shooting, feels the best in the hand, has the Best Microphone and currently I believe has the best video quality. This also is the only unit that has the new Flip Port.


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VINE VOICEon November 7, 2010
Color: Black|Package Type: Standard Packaging|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a powerful, easy-to-use, fairly cheap video camera; it records @ 1280 x 720, 60 FPS, and can hold about two full hours of video at that capacity. It fits neatly in a shirt pocket and is pretty much ideal for recording anything that doesn't need to be professionally produced film, from home movies to recording interviews. It comes packaged with a basic editing program that's designed to make it as easy as possible to produce basic home movies and post them to the web.

So far as that goes, it's a great camera, especially at the price. The only real problem with it is that the overall interface is fairly dumbed down -- for the sake of ease of use, they've traded away a *lot* of functionality. For example, it's easy to view the clips you've just recorded in the viewfinder, but you can't "fast forward" or "rewind" to a specific frame when you're not actively playing back videos, because there's only one set of "forward" and "reverse" buttons, and they also fill the "skip to next/previous clip" functions.

Similarly, the editing software is clean and easy to use, but lacks a lot of options. It's fairly easy to take a chunk of video, yank out a selection of favorite clips, and string them together into a movie, and maybe even put a title on the front and credits at the end, but anything more complicated than that ain't happening without third-party editing software. Perhaps most critical is the lack of a "resize" feature -- because this camera records at such a high resolution, even fairly short videos taken with it can quickly reach prohibitively high file sizes (two minutes of video from this camera took me approximately two hours to upload to YouTube, over a DSL connection).

All that's an issue because it seems, to me at least, that the only reason to purchase a dedicated video camera, in an era when everyone and their brother's cellphone already has video recording capability, is if you're at minimum a dedicated hobbyist. And if you're such a dedicated hobbyist, I would suspect that you'd want more bells and whistles (like focus and exposure controls, or better bundled editing software) than this thing has. What it does, it does great, I'm just having a hard time figuring out who the expected market is for this -- it records in higher resolution and better FPS than anyone who wants a casual camera for posting web videos really needs, and it lacks the advanced features that would make it appealing to dedicated hobbyists. The two-hour recording time and easy portability might make it very useful for people who want to record interviews or meetings, but archiving those recordings would be prohibitively difficult without, again, 3rd-party editing tools, due to the massive file size of the recordings this thing generates. The camera's best feature is probably the image stabilization, which works very well -- indeed, so well that I forgot about it, and just waved the camera around without even worrying about image shake at all. Because of that, this camera might be ideal for hobbyists who already have a full suite of editing software and are looking to shoot in uncontrolled conditions without a tripod.

The video to the left is an example of the sort of thing it's fairly easy to turn out with this camera -- you can see how it deals fairly well with indoor lighting conditions, has good color, etc., and you can see the "image stabilization" at work. I should note, however, that I did make two changes to this video using third-party software -- I reduced its resolution from 1280 x 720 to 640 x 360 and converted it to a .wmv file so that it would fit within Amazon's file size & format requirements for video reviews.


EDIT: It's unfortunate that CISCO is terminating the Flip line, as I just finally discovered what this camera *is* perfect for: taking on vacations in foreign countries. I just returned from a trip to New Zealand, and this camera's high FPS recording rate made it ideal for capturing footage of wilderness, animals and birds that move quickly and are otherwise hard to photograph, and the like; it was easy to just take a half-second or so of video whenever I wanted a still photograph, and pull those frames out later with the Flip's software; it was easy and convenient to carry wherever I went, even along full-day hiking trails; and the camera's two-hour recording time was sufficient to hold all the video I took over the two weeks of the vacation. The lack of focus & exposure controls was still a minor issue -- sometimes it had trouble with varied lighting in panorama shots and so forth -- but the camera's automated adjustments were pretty good if not perfect, and I was able to grab a great deal of quality footage of my trip.

There was one minor issue with charging the camera's battery -- the battery life, at about a half hour to 45 minutes, is significantly less than the recording time, and it can be annoying to travel with rechargeable cameras because of the need for socket adapters and the risk of short-circuiting your camera due to varying international voltage standards. Because the flip charges via USB, however, all I had to do was find a USB charger with the appropriate socket and charging became easy.

So, all in all, I'm upgrading this camera to a full five stars. I'd still consider it a niche product -- traveling tourist videocamera -- but it's pretty much an ideal camera for that niche.
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VINE VOICEon October 27, 2010
Color: Black|Package Type: Standard Packaging|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I wavered between giving this three or four stars, but settled on four because it delivers what it promises in spades: EASY to use, high quality video recording in a small package. If I could, I would give a 3.5. There's a BIG "but" though:

The caveat here is that this is now a single-purpose, niche product, whose single purpose can be found on a number of different devices, from DSLR's, to point and shoot cameras, to smartphones (and probably non smart phones). You would be hard pressed to find even the lowliest point and shoot digital camera that doesn't record 720p video these days.

The one differentiator here is that this Flip shoots video at 60 frames per second, which is great if you are mostly going to be shooting outdoors, in bright light (because you SHOULD get smoother looking action, although most people can't see the difference). But it can actually be a disadvantage (vs the more standard 24 or 30fps) when shooting in lower light situations. I found this to be true as I compared several gadgets of mine (iPhone 4, Canon S95 digital camera, Canon HV30 HD camcorder), shooting the same indoors scene.

Just hard to recommend that anyone buy this today, knowing that almost every digicam on the market does 720p video now (and several of the new gen point and shoots do 1080p!) I shot the same scene (outdoors, but in very cloudy conditions) with my iPhone 4 and the Flip. The iPhone's video was slightly less contrasty, and a little more shaky looking due to no optical image stabilization like the Flip has. BUT at least I could focus on certain areas with the iPhone. With the Flip, I have no way to focus on a particular object, which is tough. I would bet MOST people would not be able to tell much of a difference in the picture quality between the two (unless you were watching them side by side, and even then, was difficult to determine a clear winner)

When these Flips first came out, they were a standout product because video in digicams was horrible at that time, and either nonexistent or poor on cel phones, but times have changed. For $200,today, you can buy an iPhone 4, or a point and shoot Sony digicam with a CMOS, low light sensor, that will shoot better video, plus you get the primary functions of those devices to boot. The video is just gravy.

- Svelte, easy to carry and handle, outside black soft touch material very nice
- Good to very good video quality
- SO easy to use and hook up to another device for viewing the results.
- optical image stabilization works surprisingly well considering form factor, weight and small size of the Flip
- 60 fps great for outdoors/good light shooting

- Hard to justify price when you can get at least as good video in other devices that do more than just video
- No ability to focus
- I wish the lens had more protection, or even a built in lens cap/cover. Note it does include a soft case, but I mean something like you see on most camcorders these days.
- Not great in low light due to 60fps recording (at least give the option to switch to something slower for low light situations?)
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This video shows the features of the Flip UltraHD, and it compares it to the original white Flip to show how far Flips have come. I demonstrate the features, size, video quality, and microphone sensitivity. Highly recommended -- but it cannot be compared to full-featured digital camcorders. Note: I deducted a half-star for the inability to turn off image stabilization; sometimes the IS makes the video look jerky, like a series of stills.

-- Debbie Lee Wesselmann
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on September 27, 2010
This is now my 3rd Flip camera (they are all still in operation, I just can't help upgrading when a higher quality product hits the market). I always fall in love with my new Flip video camera and this one is no exception - I prefer the design of the Ultra HD over the Mino because of the larger screen, and the new 3rd generation is noticeably thinner than last year's model which makes it lighter and easier to hold. HUGE HUGE HUGE improvement in video quality on the 3rd generation model - image stabilization and now 60 frames per seconds (FPS) compared to 30 FPS in the previous HD model. This 60 FPS results in noticeably higher quality video and the ability to zoom more effectively. This model comes with a rechargeable battery pack so you can charge via your usb port on your computer, or if you are traveling and don't have access to USB the Flip Ultra also allows you to put 3 AA batteries for videographers who are "on the go."

Another A++ product from the folks up in San Francisco who design this product. Go out and get one - it's time for an Upgrade to the 3rd generation of Flip!!!!
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Color: Black|Package Type: Standard Packaging|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is the first FLIP video camera I've owned, but they're so popular, I figured they must be pretty good-and I'm not disappointed!! It's easy to use, synchs easily with the computer, charges rather quickly (4 hours on USB from completely dead), and takes AWESOME HD (720p) videos! The exterior is slim and rubbery, for easy gripping. It also has a wrist strap and a hole on the bottom to mount the camera on a tripod. It turns on quickly and only has a few buttons, which make it easy to use even for someone who isn't very tech-saavy! It synchs up with the computer immediately, uploads the videos and is easy to reset. It also has an HDMI port on the bottom, so you can plug it right into your HDTV to view the videos that way. It holds 2 hours of HD movies. When you turn the camera on it tells you how much time in free space remains, and when taking a video, it tells you how long you've been recording for. It has playback with sound, which is very clear. The video quality is better than anything I've seen on something this size and the audio quality is great too!

Now for the few things about it that make it 4 stars instead of 5. First off, I don't notice ANY image stabilization - the video I included pretty much shows that even the slightest of hand shaking can really make you feel woozy. There is no lens cover, which is a little concerning since this is the type of camera you'd like to be able to just toss in your purse or pocket, but without a lens cover, I get a little nervous that I might scratch the lens. It does NOT take still pictures, which isn't a big deal, but it would be nice to be able to switch back and forth from video to still, but again, not a deal breaker given the awesome quality of the video/audio. Lastly, it charges from the USB connection, which is not bad, but if you spend $40 more you can get the charger that plugs into a port at the bottom and then into the wall and it will charge twice as fast-it's just kind of annoying b/c I use a laptop and in order to charge it via USB, I have to leave the computer sitting open. I would also like to see a USB extension cable included with this camera because it is rather painful to see this thing plugged into my computer and hanging by it's little USB "arm".

Bottom line: this camera could do SO MUCH more for the price you pay, and although it does perform well, it's just not that great a deal when you consider what else is out there. For $50 more, I can get a device that is the same size, takes the same quality video, but also takes pictures, surfs the web, plays music, has wifi, bluetooth, GPS, runs apps, etc etc . . .
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on October 2, 2010
This Flip UltraHD camcorder is even more impressive than the last one. As usual with Flips, it's the ideal thing for any family hoping to videotape the kids, friends, events, etc. First of all, it's completely idiot proof: when you get the box, there is absolutely no assembly required. Your first guess about which buttons are the power switch, record button, and USB connector release will be correct; great intuitive design. The device looks and feels great (as other reviewers have mentioned) and easily fits in your hand comfortably for long periods of time (unlike my blackberry). It is a bit larger than the last one, which helps it fit snugly in the hand, though it takes a little bit more space in your pocket. It turns on and off instantly (unlike my home computer or cell phone) so you don't have to wait long to start recording that precious, fleeting moment.

The screen is large and the HD video is amazing on big-screen playback. The new 60 frames per second is noticeably better, and pretty much as smooth as you'll ever need. (Frames change twice as fast as than the eye can see, so it seems super-smooth to the human eye -- I did a bit of research!) Image quality continues to be excellent, and not too shaky/bouncy. The new image stabilization seems to remove some vibrations (like when videotaping a baby laughing in a driving car) but I didn't notice a major difference indoors since it can't remove the effects of the larger hand tilting movements (caused by my running around stepping on toys while following the baby around). The USB connector is a bit different, on the side instead of the top, which makes it easier to connect to a laptop. Otherwise it's the same: convenient, easy to connect, and you don't have to go running to find any special USB connector cable (like my old digital camera). The audio is still good, picking up faint background sounds that I hadn't even noticed at the time of recording and picking up simultaneous music and voices with great quality. The 2-hour battery life is more than I ever use, so it's great. There is a new battery pack (very easy to install if you've ever had a cell phone), but it doesn't seem to change anything for better or worse.

The Flip Video software continues to set the standard. It is ridiculously easy to setup, automatically starts when I plug in the camcorder, and makes it completely obvious how to download the videos, play back, freeze frames to make photos, and share. And it's fast-- not much waiting for videos to load up (like other video players). It's all in an easy-to-use, well-organized (by video date) layout very similar to the iPod control panel. I wish all software was this easy to use.

I highly recommend this device-- it's the most impressive Flip yet, and well worth the investment.
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
on October 7, 2010
I'm a Flip lover, have had four of them and immediately got this new model because of the Flip Port and possibility of hooking up external mics. I was surprised to see how close it was to the tripod screw. I've tried it on four tripods and every one blocks access to the Flip Port. In other words, the only way to use the Flip Port is in handheld mode; no tripod. For video casting and similar uses, that's a strange design flaw. I asked Flip customer support and they have no tripods that would allow access to the port. It's a real head scratcher and something to consider if the Flip Port is your reason for making the purchase.
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on October 2, 2010
I have had this particular flip for 1.5 years and I've decided to "junk" it and give it to my 2.5 year old son. I rarely use it, and the buttons are not intiutive. It's a shame, really. I expected more out of this device, but my iphone gets much more use (which I got about a year ago, about 6 months after I purchased the flip). Since my kid is constantly screaming for his "DVD" (the ipad or my iphone), hopefully this flip will sate his incessant desire for videos. It is small, easy for him to grasp, and my son will enjoy having his own "phone" although I will likely buy him an itouch as we can upload his favorite videos (disney stuff, wiggles) while we are on car rides and it would be more convenient. You cannot upload anything on this device, but then again it was not meant for uploading.

It was a great idea, but I do think the flip is now obselete, for all intents and purposes. Especially if you have a droid or iphone or something that takes videos easily and allows you to send it immediately to your contacts. In addition, you can download videos and other applications to your iphone or droid.

In addition, I absolutely HATE the buttons on the flip, and my son is constantly pushing the "trash" can button on the right. I have erased videos by mistake myself, and I just don't like how they have structured the navigation of the buttons. They should have made the trash can button somewhere else, or more difficult. At the end of the day, I do not like this device, and would not recommend it even though I have bought three flips and two generations worth (one of which broke, the second was a replacement, and this one is the newest generation). They have gotten a lot of money from me, and I believe it was money NOT very well spent. Such is life.

I can't help but notice that the most stellar reviews are not from steady Amazon reviewers and have only reviewed FLIP products (for the most part). I am hoping that these reviews are not a product of shameless internal promotion. That said, even if this is the case, the FLIP is definitely convenient. The website (flipshare) definitely takes the difficulty quotient out of the picture. I bought the 3G only b/c I gave my 2G to a family member, and inertia (already being a member of their site) rears its passive head so I went with what is familiar.

So I re-starred my review due to comments-- And since I just got the flip, I wasn't able to fully review it initially and had given it lower star rating. However, I can say I've used it now for all of a month or two and thus far it seems pretty much the same as the 2nd Generation flip. Sure, there is supposed to be an added feature for image stabilization, but it's really not noticeable (IMO). The 3rd generation is also a tad thinner than the 2nd generation, but, again, not noticeable-- at all. Thus, I would recommend the 2nd generation over the 3rd generation, in part because there is no noticeable difference, and in part because the 2nd generation is so much cheaper! I'd say this new generation is ok... not great, not bad, just fine/so so. I'm not wowed by the new 3G version.

Two things to note: 1) HDMI cables are NOT included (for the 2G or 3G versions).
2) The FLIP Ultra HD is Mac compatible.

Many other mini HD camcorders are not fully Mac compatible. This may be a reason to go with the Ultra HD Flip.
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on September 21, 2010
Really like the camera, and I'm not having short battery life like the other reviewer. Can't put an exact time on it but spent plenty of time recording, playback and just plain messing around on the battery right out of the box. still working on second charge after at least 30 minutes. Anyway, camera seems to work really well in low light situations. Overall I couldn't be happier, unless the camera came with an HDMI cable.
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