The headlining Flip camera gets HD and is better for the move. (June 5th, 2009)
Product Manufacturer: Pure Digital (Cisco)
- HD video at a still-affordable price.
- Good form factor; HDMI out is new.
- Very user-friendly hardware and software.
- Much more storage; longer recording than Mino HD.
- Replaceable battery.
- No optical zoom; same image quality as before.
- FlipShare is quick but still limited.
As with most recent Flips, the new camera comes with FlipShare cross-platform editing tools preloaded on the camera's own memory. The first time you plug the USB camera into your computer it either automatically installs or, in the case of Mac users, even lets you run the app from the camera itself.
The software has a simple design and basic feature set that almost anybody could use for editing and viewing. Beyond the basic controls, it's also designed to create and share; The share functions as always support YouTube uploading, e-mailing and creating greeting cards. Creation functions range from rudimentary editing to single-frame capturing (for photos) and basic DVD authoring.
In practice, this will never truly replace dedicated movie tools, particularly for Mac users with access to tools that can already perform many of the same functions. However, it's a great option in terms of sheer speed: as we've tested in the past, it's possible to get a rought cut of a movie from camera to the Internet in a matter of minutes. If your only trimming concerns are length, transitions and subtitles, FlipShare is more than up to the task.
If a budget-priced handheld HD camcorder is what you are looking for, the Flip Video UltraHD is certainly worth consideration. The video quality won't decimate that of much more expensive cameras, but it's still good for the category and very much workable.
More importantly, both the camera and its software are still as easy to use as ever. The Ultra HD is, effectively, the ultimate video blogging camera and can get away with other short-form movie making just as well. So long as you donít have high requirements for advanced features, the Ultra HD should definitely be on the short list and is arguably a better buy than the Mino HD. The latter may fit more easily in a pocket, but the Ultra HD isn't so large as to be unwieldy and has enough new features that it's clearly the winner.