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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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on October 26, 2009
In May, 2009, I wrote a review comparing the Flip Ultra HD with the 1st generation Mino HD, and although at the time I thought the Ultra HD was a step forward, I missed the more diminutive size of the Flip Mino HD. Since then, I've been waiting patiently for Cisco to release a pocket camcorder that combined the same new features found in the Flip Ultra HD in the smaller and more compact form factor of the Mino HD. Well, they've finally done it!

The Flip Mino HD (2nd generation) is now the 3rd Flip series camcorder I've owned, and in my opinion this is clearly the best one yet! Basically, the Flip Mino HD (2nd generation) has all of the same convenient features found in the Ultra HD such as a larger 2" display, HDMI out, Stereo mic, and 2 hour HD recording capacity, in a in a sleek and newly designed Mino HD form factor. I've read many complaints about the Flip's lack of integrated image stabilizer, and I'm sure they will add that functionality in future products. However, whatever the Flip Mino HD camcorder lacks in features, it more than makes up for it in a simple, user-friendly, and ultra sleek design. There are a lot of choices available in the pocket sized video camcorder space, so if you're looking for something with perhaps a little more functionality (e.g. 1080p, replaceable battery, larger zoom, etc.) than you will need to look elsewhere.

Although the Flip Ultra HD is arguably a better value, if you're looking for a top notch pocket sized camcorder that you can take with you anywhere, I highly recommend this product. When it comes to ease-of-use, and convenience, the Flip Mino HD is a clear leader.
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on June 27, 2014
I bought this camera and used it once for about 2 hours, downloaded the videos and was incredibly happy with my purchase. I since then had gotten a new phone and started to use that for all pictures and videos, thus leaving this FlipCam in a drawer for about a year.

I wanted to film the birth of my daughter and was packing our hospital bag when i went to put in the camera something just told me to check it out first. I did and to my surprise it no longer worked. The screen wouldnt even turn on... I did some research and tried to reset the camera several times, nothing worked.

I was really disappointing that i only used this once and now have to toss it away, not even being able to film my daughters birth.
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on February 16, 2015
i ordered this product last week on monday i received it on wednesday, the lense was already broke when i opened it, plus it was blinking red and was not power on at all. even if i charged the battery after i opened it. i decided to return and ordered a new one. i received my 2nd one this saturday, lense was ok, BUT AGAIN SAME ISSUE WITH THE POWER that DID NOT turn on, even after have being charged. WTHeck??? no one give me apologies or anything! no customer services at all… I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS PRODUCT AT ALL - IM VERY UPSET! Filming for me its part of my job and i was thinking it was a good deal! im regret this choice! i sent it back and already talk to my friend about to do not buy this!!!!
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VINE VOICEon November 28, 2011
It used to be that if you wanted to take high quality video you needed to tote around a large camera and tapes, thankfully this is no longer necessary with the Flip. I'm an amateur shooter and use the camera mostly for capturing research for work and footage of myself cooking for my blog. It has worked perfectly for both purposes. Even without using an external microphone the sound is good in most situations (obviously less so if you are shooting outside on a busy street corner or in a place where there is a lot of background noise) as is the quality of the video. Even better, I love that this is user friendly and that the usb connection is built in so there is no extra cord for me to lose or misplace. The size is also helpful because it means that you can tote it almost anywhere as it fits comfortably in most pant pockets.

Overall, I would highly recommend this. I find it much more convenient than larger sized cameras and more user friendly than cameras of comparable size (like the Kodak PlayTouch Video Camera (Black)).
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on December 8, 2012
This little Video camera takes great movies, but takes up a lot of space. Just be prepared. You can save it in a number of ways...as video, take a part stills, and it lasts forever before needing re-charging. If you want something that is small and you can whip out of your backpack, purse or pocket, this is a good video camera. If you want to control quality a bit better, get a good new SLR with HD on it. I have taken quite a few short videos with this camera however and they are good. Good quality, good microphone.
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on October 25, 2013
I bought two of these in the course of a week. Both were stated as capable of holding a 2-hour charge. One held a charge for about 5 minutes and one for 25 minutes - an improvement from "inconceivable" to merely "horrible." I watched nearly every video and reviewed nearly every website about how to fix the Flip so it would fully charge - never did. It didn't hit me until later - if there are countless videos on how to fix something that breaks so readily, it's probably a piece of junk in the first place. Do not buy a Flip Mino HD. If you want to record a video longer than 5 minutes, do not buy a Flip Mino HD. If you want a camera that charges, do not buy a Flip Mino HD. If you want something that is easy to use, do not buy a Flip Mino HD. If you do not have hours to do research at night, do not have tiny screwdrivers and do not have a layperson's understanding of fixing electronics, do not buy a Flip Mino HD. However, if you want to tackle an almost insurmountable challenge, love troubleshooting and web research, never take no for an answer and don't want to receive an amazing product for a low price, I highly recommend the Flip Mino HD!
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VINE VOICEon November 3, 2009
This review shares the comparison between this new Flip mino HD camera vs the older generation Flip and the new Creative Lab's Vado HD

In short, this is by far the best pocket video camera I have owned. There were a number of improvements over the older Flip model. The most obvious one is the picture quality. The video is super-sharp and is comparable to some other full-sized camcorders on the market. It also produces very natural color balances even under indoor lightnings. The images are relatively stable although I would not be expecting much since it does not come with the stabilizer feature. The sound quality is OK. I would consider this as adequate for general purpose recordings. The Flip Share software is much improved from the earlier version. It has faster upload times and more user friendly. What I like is the email feature which you could easily select and email the videos to your friends and family members. This is conveniently done all within the Flip Share software without having to save your video and send it via your own email accounts. The unit has a nice solid "feel" as compared to the other plastic casting models. One area which I did not like much is that the control "buttons" are actually touch sensitive (except for the recording button) instead of the typical raised buttons. It took me quite some time to get use to it.

Now, some quick comparison against the latest Creative Lab's Vado HD (newest model). Both models have the same capacity (8 GB of storage) which lasts for a good 120 minutes of recording. However, the Vado unfortunately is more inferior in terms of video quality and color balances. The recording I did under the indoor lighting turned out "yellowish" while the Flip produces a much better natural color. The video also turned out to be more shakier as compared to the Flip. The sound quality is pretty poor and did not produce enough volume. The recharging time for the Flip is also faster (3 hours for Flip vs about 5 hours for the Vado). The Vado's video software is easier to use as it allows direct uploading to AVI format (Flip uses the WMA format).

The Vado currently is about $100 cheaper than the Flip. But I would rather pay the price for the quality that the Flip comes with.
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on December 20, 2011
I received my camera today and while the booklet says it is shipped partially charged so you can set it up, It wouldn't come on for me. I put it on the computer for a couple hours and still, wouldn't come on. At some point, something I did caused a red light (it appears to be the recording light) and it still wouldn't respond to anything. I googled the problem and came up with the following webpage discussing LOTS of issues with this particular camera and company. [...]

I'm currently letting it charge overnight to see if this works, and if it doesn't i'll try the battery replacement option, dealing with their customer service and paying the shipping back and forth would be more than the actual camera cost me!

I sincerely hope it works because all the reports about the quality when it's working are positive, but if you can't get it to work that's all for nothing. I'll update when I have further experience with it. They did ship quickly, I ordered it on Friday morning and it was in my mailbox Monday afternoon so at least that's a plus.

Update as of January 1st;
Well, it took an entire night and half the following day to get a full charge and finally respond to anything. It hasn't given me any problems since, with the exception of some audio being out of sync on a couple videos. I use Sony Vegas for my video editing so that was easy enough to fix. It seems to occur when I have five or more short videos stored on the camera.

It's a little difficult to keep the image steady but when used with the tripod the sharpness and clarity are great, as is the volume and ability to pick up sound. All in all I'm pretty happy with it and would likely recommend it.
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on December 25, 2009
I received a model with a very tight fitting USB port to my computer and had expressed disappointment in my review. I then received the following promising email from Amazon:

"Hello from Amazon.com.

We're writing because you've written a product review about your experience connecting the Flip MinoHD 2nd Generation Camcorder USB arm to the USB port on your computer.

The manufacturer, Flip Video, recognizes that some users experienced a "tight fit" between the MinoHD's USB arm and the USB ports in certain computers and worked to correct the issue.

We are happy to report USB arms on new MinoHD camcorders should not experience this problem. To illustrate their commitment to your satisfaction, Flip Video is sending you a new Flip MinoHD 2nd Generation Camcorder free of charge.

We hope that this helps resolve your initial unsatisfactory experience.

Sincerely,

Customer Service Department
Amazon.com"

Of course, there was no follow up, and my inquiries to both Amazon and Flip Video were fruitless, each denying responsibility or knowledge of this promise. I feel like i was "set up" for disappointment and inevitable waste of my time trying to follow up on this. This is very poor customer service.
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