Flip Mino HDManufacturer: Flip
UK Price (as reviewed): £169.95 (inc. VAT)
US Price (as reviewed): $209.00 (ex. Tax)
Video websites like YouTube
have taken the world by storm. A good video can see it gain millions of hits from people around the world and are linked to on millions more websites. For many, creating videos for sites like these is a daily routine and for others a spur of the moment thing but in both situations, the quality of the video often makes all the difference.
It also helps if you actually have some kind of camcorder with you, which, in the case of a UFO suddenly appearing overhead, probably isn’t as likely as if you were at the zoo.
Luckily, there’s a whole host of new small video recorders aimed straight at making it easier not only to capture high quality video but also to carry them around in your pocket. The Flip Mino HD
is one such video recorder and as the latter two letters in its name suggest it’s can record high definition video, specifically 720p
(1,280 x 720) H.264 at 9.0Mbps with AAC audio compression.
Perhaps more importantly though, the Flip Mino HD weighs just 94 grams, is 10cm long, 5cm wide and 1.9cm thick where the lens protrudes from the case (for the most part it’s 1.6cm thick). This makes it smaller than most mobile phones – the iPhone 3G for example is 1.5cm longer, 1.2cm wider and 39g heavier although it’s slightly thinner at 1.2cm. In fact, Flip claims that it's the world's smallest HD capable camcorder. It's certainly the smallest we've seen and it should go unnoticed in most pockets.
So it’s smaller and lighter than most mobile phones and it can capture 720p video. Its price of £169.95 meant that we were expecting a lot from this mini camcorder, especially as many mobile phones and digital compact cameras can now record HD quality video and dedicated HD camcorders don't cost a lot more. However, the Flip Mino HD has a few other tricks up its sleeve too which should really appeal to those looking for a quick and hassle free way of capturing HD video, transferring it to your PC or Mac and uploading it to your favourite video hosting website.
There's no flip out screen like most traditional camcorders; instead, the Flip Mino HD has a small fixed 1.5in 525 x 132 screen. Despite its size, it actually works quite well and features a transflective TFT which meant the display was clearly visible, even in direct sunlight. The image itself was very bright and the only issue we had was getting an accurate frame on the subject which, due to the screen's small size, proved to be quite difficult.
Playback was therefore also, pretty unfruitful and it was nearly impossible to check the quality of a video after it had been captured. If you're not in the habit of carrying a magnifying glass around with you, then it's pretty safe to say you'll have to rely on the various automatic adjustments the Flip Mino HD has to offer.
The standard model supplied to us from Firebox
comes in black only, however one of the coolest features of the Flip Mino HD is that you can customise the case prior to ordering if you get it directly from Flip
. You can either upload your own image, create one using Flip's pattern generator, or choose from hundreds of interesting designs on the website.