Flip Video Ultra HD Conclusion
By Mike Flacy
The new Flip Ultra HD is a dedicated video only camera that has been created for anyone to use. There are no cables, menus or settings to worry about. It records at a resolution of 720p, has a fixed lens and a built in 8GB hard drive, so there is no need for external memory cards.
Keeping the camera light-weight is the plastic frame, which also makes it very durable. Unlike other video and still cameras, the Ultra HD is held vertically like you would hold a cell phone when taking a picture. With the large buttons on the back, one handed operation is not only easy; it is about the only way to hold it. Inside the 4-way controller is the record button, which really stands out as a big red circle, like you would see on a VCR or DVR remote control. Framing your videos is easy on the 2-inch LCD screen, which can be a little tricky to see on a bright sunny day.
From such a small camera with such a small lens, the image quality of the 720p videos is surprisingly good. In bright to moderate light, the images appear crisp and clear with very vivid colors. Our video samples show that images in motion, especially fast motion is choppy on playback, while slow moving objects stay smooth. The on-board mic is very similar to those found on digicams and is very sensitive. It picks up all sound around the camera, including background noises that you might not even notice at the time. These include wind, air conditioners, furnaces and anything else that hums or vibrates will show up in your audio. To help avoid this, be careful where you position the camera.
Since there are no options at all available while using the camera, Flip has included their video software bundle directly on the camera. All you have to do is plug the Flip into your computer to install and start using it in just minutes. FlipShare allows you to do several things with your videos like organize, save to your computer, email, upload to the internet or your own personal Flip Channel. You can also do some basic movie editing, allowing you to edit together your own movies, add sound to them and export them to a DVD. Finally you can also capture a snapshot (1280x720 pixels) from any of your videos. The program breaks down the video by frame, letting you save a single still image.
Bottom Line - The Flip Ultra HD is an incredibly compact and easy to use HD video camera. With no settings or adjustments to make, all you do is point and shoot. The built-in software allows you plug the camera into any Mac or PC and instantly watch the HD movies. It can also be hooked up to any HDTV via the HDMI port on the side (optional cable required). With an MSRP of US$199.99, this is a great deal for anyone looking for a simple to use, basic HD camcorder.
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