Steve's Conclusion

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Steve's SnapShot
Thumbnail image for flip_minohd-8GB_275.jpg
  • 720p HD Video @ 60fps
  • Fixed, Low-Light lens
  • 2-Inch LCD (320x240 resolution)
  • Simple design and controls
  • 8GB of internal memory
  • Stores 2 hours of HD video
  • Built-in USB arm
  • HDMI output
  • Built-in rechargeable Li-Ion battery

Pros
  • Captures clean 720p HD video
  • Performs well outdoors and in, thanks to fast f/2.4 lens
  • Easy to operate once you get use to touch-sensitive controls
  • Records up to 2 hours of HD video with no need for external memory
  • HDMI output
  • Handy Software bundle pre-loaded on the camera
  • Battery lasts for up to 1.5 hours of continuous recording
Cons
  • Mic picks up a good amount of background noise
  • No optical zoom
  • HDMI cable sold separately
  • Does not feature a card slot for memory expansion
  • No still image capture mode (only taking still frames from stored videos)
  • Battery life has dropped a bit since last model (1.5 hours compared to 2.5 hours)
  • Coating on rear of the body is very reflective and easy to scratch
  • Poor USB arm placement
Timing Test Results
  • Power up to first video captured = 3.4 seconds
Bottom Line
The MinoHD is a tiny little HD video camera that captures some nice clean 720p video. This unit is almost identical in features to the UltraHD model, just a bit smaller. That said, it performed equally well, however I wasn't real happy with the reflective coating on the back or the touch-sensitive controls.
Pick This Up If...
You want one of the smallest hand-held, dedicated HD video cameras available that allows you to customize the exterior to fit your own unique style.

Cisco has revamped their entire Flip Video line of digital camcorders, including their MinoHD offerings. Some of the most compact 720p HD digital camcorders you can probably find, Flip's MinoHD comes in two configurations; 4GB/1HR and 8GB/2HR. Each offers identical specifications, with the 4GB model only loosing some storage space. These specs include 1280x720 video recording at 60fps, a 2.0-inch LCD screen, fixed 1.5mm lens with wide viewing angle and fast f/2.4 aperture, 8GB of internal memory for up to 2 hours of video storage, a built-in Li-ion battery good for up to 1.5 hours of continuous recording, HDMI (mini) output, pre-loaded FlipShare software and a built-in USB arm. The MinoHD 8GB is almost identical internally to the UltraHD 8GB we also tested.

This is an ultra-compact video camera that is dedicated to recording 720p HD video only; no still image or lesser resolution options are available. All you have to do in order to instantly record nice 1280x720 is press the large red REC button on the back of the camera. Like other Flip models, there are no menus or settings to worry about.

Measuring just 3.94x1.97x0.63 inches, the Mino can fit into the smallest of pockets or handbags. The exterior has a nice smooth finish that feels very well built, however I did have one issue with the finish on the back of the camera. It consists of a very shinny coating that reflects all kinds of light, and is also very prone to finger prints and scratches. I kept the Mino in a soft pouch while out testing it in order to keep it as clean and scratch fee as possible. Even with this high level of care, I still found some small scratches on the coating right where the LCD was. While they didn't effect much, I can't image what a Mino would look like after a few months of use.

Like past Mino models, there are minimal controls, which helps keep things simple. With exception of the REC button, all of the other controls on the back are touch-sensitive. While unique and fun to use, they are also very sensitive to the touch, making it very easy to accidentally toggle the digital zoom, play and delete options, etc. On top of this, it seemed the 4-way pad markings were a bit off; I had to touch a little above or below the icon to get the camera to recognize my inputs. The location of the USB arm (on top of the camera) was a bad choice in my opinion. When I plugged the Mino into my PC to charge the unit and use the FlipShare software, I was very concerned that it was going to fall out. The position of the arm does not seem to support the weight of the camera well at all. I suggest you use a USB extension cable with the Mino to prevent a fall which could damage the unit; especially if you are using the USB ports on your monitor like I was.

Like we mentioned in our UltraHD review, the MinoHD's 2.0-inch LCD is used for framing and viewing your stored videos. The screen's resolution is lower than average at 320x240 (approx. 76,800 dots), in fact it's quite a bit less than previous models that offered a resolution of 960x240 (230,400 dots). Overall I still found the display was easy to use and see in most all lighting conditions, including marginal lighting indoors. Like mentioned above, the coating on the back is very reflective. While I didn't have any real issues with not being able to see outdoors, the back did collect a lot of fingerprints as well as scratched easily.

Video quality was similar to the UltraHD, which is not a surprise considering they use the same tiny image sensor and lens. The frame rate has jumped from 30 to 60fps (fixed), which produces a nice smooth movie. Whether recording in bright sunny conditions, or in marginal lighting indoors, the MinoHD captures good quality 720p HD video that is sharp and shows good exposure. I did see the exposure system had a few issues with extremely strong sunlight on subjects, where it overexposed surfaces that were reflecting this light. However, this is to be expected as even our own eyes can't resolve that light. The tiny built-in mic performed as expected, picking up the usual background noise that you might not have noticed while recording your movie. In our UltraHD review, we mentioned that the digital zoom worked rather well. For some odd reason, I wasn't quite as impressed with the 2x digital zoom feature on the Mino. Either way, an optical zoom option would be the best bet, however if you need to zoom in a bit it's nice to have the digital zoom rather than nothing at all.  

Flip's pre-loaded FlipShare software is simple to use and straight forward. This application is bundled with the camera and is stored right on the built-in memory. So there's no need to find a CD or DVD. Just plug the MinoHD into one of the USB ports on your PC or Mac, and you should have FlipShare installed and ready to use in minutes.  We had this software installed in about 20 minutes or less on a Windows 7 PC, and this included some extra time taken to snap screen shots for use in our Menu Screens and Software page. Like I mentioned above, this is a simple software suite that allows you to do some basic editing, such as saving single frames as a JPEG files from your videos (1280x720 resolution), editing the length of (trimming) a clip, creating your own Movies or DVD, making your own Flip channel, or Uploading your video clips directly to FaceBook, YouTube and other social media sites.

Bottom Line - the MinoHD is a decent ultra-compact HD digital camcorder. It offers all of the same features found on the larger (not by much) UltraHD, housed in a petite frame that is also quite stylish; especially with all the creative options offered on Flip's website. I personally liked the UltraHD model a bit more than the Mino, mainly due to the reflective coating on the back of the Mino that is also very easy to scratch, and I liked the dedicated buttons on the Ultra over the touch-sensitive option on this model. That said, you pay a bit extra for that compactness, with the MinoHD 8GB coming in at about $230 US. This is a bit expensive, and I highly recommend you either check out our UltraHD review, or any of our sub $250 digicam reviews.

Visitors of Steves can visit the stores below for real-time pricing and availability. You can also find hot, soon to expire online offers on a variety of cameras and accessories at our very own Camera Deals page.