Flip Video UltraHD---awesome little HD camcorder
HD quality, small, easy-to-use, price, HDMI out
No optical zoom, fixed memory, can't change resolution
The Bottom Line:
Awesome little HD camcorder, good value and fun product!
Okay--I bought this to take videos of my new kitten. I admit it. I was just going to use the video mode on my camera, but was disappointed in the quality. I'd seen the Flip camcorders around online, and read all the reviews I could. This is one of the newest models released. I didn't want to spend $500 on a "real" camcorder, and thought this might be a good purchase.
I was right! It's not as small as the Flip Mino, but it's still a small camcorder. It fits well in my hand, and is relatively easy to hold still--something you'll need to do to keep the picture steady (no image stabilization feature). I bought the white (only because it was a bit cheaper) and it looks pretty classy, considering it's a cheap web camcorder. The "chrome" on the sides picks up every fingerprint, but that doesn't bother me. I don't know that I'd be able to fit it comfortably in my jeans pocket, but it will fit fine in my purse.
I've never purchased a video recorder or camera that has been so easy to use. Turn it on, press the big red button to record, hit it again when you're done. The review screen is large and has nice resolution, and the microphone/speaker are impressive for such a small unit. The software is pre-loaded on the camera itself and will install automatically when you plug it in to your computer.
The Flip's integrated USB plug is a great selling feature--no more cords to remember or memory cards! Just plug it into your computer! The software is just as easy to use as the camcorder itself--it's never been so easy to email photos or upload them to YouTube or MySpace. I can't imagine anyone having trouble understanding the interface. My only complaint might be that it's a bit too simplistic. There is also an editing suite so you can trim your clips or turn them into "movies."
But how does the video look? Great! Of course, it's not Bluray home movies by any stretch. One of the main reasons I bought this device was the promise of 720p definition video. Considering it's a $200 or so camera, it performs admirably. If I wanted super high-quality, I would have spent more money. There is no optical zoom, just 2x digital (don't even bother trying to use it). There is also no light to assist in low-light situations. The video does suffer in low-light and becomes a bit noisy, but that is to be expected. Be sure to get a tripod, though--it can get pretty shaky if you don't keep it still.
I had considered getting the Flip MinoHD, because it's a lot more sleek, and smaller, but...it's more expensive, only has memory for 1 hour of recording, has a smaller screen, a proprietary battery and does not have an HDMI out. The UltraHD has a larger screen, can hold 2 hours of recording, has a removable, rechargeable battery pack and can run off of AAs, and has a mini HDMI out port (cable sold separately, of course) so you can watch your HD movies straight from the camera to the TV.
Things I don't love: no optical zoom, rather simplistic software, all video is recorded in HD (cannot set to record at a lower resolution), no ability to expand memory with additional cards, no way of judging how much battery life is left.
Overall, I'm very pleased with this camcorder. The video quality is great--better than I expected at this price point, and it couldn't get any easier to use. I highly recommend this product!