updated 12:00 am EDT, Mon September 20, 2010
Flip Mino, Ultra upgraded as we review Ultra HD
Cisco tonight unveiled a new slate of Flip cameras that promise a major lift in video quality. The Flip Ultra HD 2 hour and both 1 hour (4GB) and 2 hour (8GB) versions of the Flip Mino HD now shoot 720p video at 60 frames per second, improving their ability to handle motion and the perceived clarity. A gyroscopic image stabilization system is also new and prevents many of the more sudden jitters common to a pocket camcorder.
A new expansion port also comes on just the 2 hour Ultra HD. Although it still has a mini HDMI output, a proprietary new FlipPort connector gives it expansion that hasn't been an option before. Among the options coming are external microphones, such as a new Mikey from Blue Microphones and a wireless model from Scosche; iGo is planning battery extenders and chargers, and the Seagate Offloader will give users a way of backing up video without turning to a computer.
The same flagship is smaller at about 0.88 inches thick and an overall smaller footprint. The 1 hour Ultra HD harkens back to the older model with its size as well as its 30FPS video and lack of stabilization; Cisco bills it as a new low-cost option for those who don't need extras. Both of the Mino HD models are the same compact size through their use of a non-removable battery.
All four cameras should be available today; the Flip Ultra 1 hour is priced at a new low of $150 to help reduce competition with the new iPod touch and pocket camcorders. The 2 hour version sits at the same $200 as before, while the Mino HD models come in at $180 and $230 for their different capacity levels. Accessories should start with the Blue Microphones and iGo add-ons next month, with the Scosche and Seagate options following in November and December.
We've already had an opportunity to review the new Flip Ultra HD and can weigh in on how it stacks up, not just against earlier models but against its increasingly tough competition.