Review: Pure Digital Flip Mino HD

Posted by:
Date: Monday, February 23rd, 2009, 20:32
Category: Review

By David Klein

For many of us, purchasing a digital video camera is similar to purchasing a digital camera: a stressful experience. Am I buying the best one in my price range? What about the competitor’s? Is that enough megapixels? Is that enough storage? Endless questions and confusion. Most settle for average quality in the US$100 to US$200 range, and they are surprised by the above-average results. They get something compact and light with an LCD screen, a decent lens, and clear pictures.

front.jpg

Fortunately, we now have a comparable experience with digital video: the Flip Mino HD. It’s compact, stylish, sleek, and light. It has a 1.5″ screen, and it records in 1280 x 720 (720p) resolution. Yes, that’s high definition and it’s shocking for such a small package. However, the other surprising part is the audio. Even with lots of ambient noise and jarring interruptions, the Mino HD manages to pick up close-range audio. For example, it clearly records the holder of the camera who may or may not be narrating (something I enjoy doing with my Flip).

back.jpg

Charging the Flip and downloading videos is easy using the built-in USB connection that pops out of the top after flipping a switch. You have two options for accessing your videos. You can either copy them from the Flip, which mounts as an external hard drive on your desktop, or you can use the free software which is ready to install when you connect. My recommendation is to avoid this software. Although it allows you to organize, edit, and upload your videos, the interface is questionable. I prefer to use iMovie on my Mac when editing is actually necessary.

Click the jump for the full review…


By David Klein

For many of us, purchasing a digital video camera is similar to purchasing a digital camera: a stressful experience. Am I buying the best one in my price range? What about the competitor’s? Is that enough megapixels? Is that enough storage? Endless questions and confusion. Most settle for average quality in the US$100 to US$200 range, and they are surprised by the above-average results. They get something compact and light with an LCD screen, a decent lens, and clear pictures.

front.jpg

Fortunately, we now have a comparable experience with digital video: the Flip Mino HD. It’s compact, stylish, sleek, and light. It has a 1.5″ screen, and it records in 1280 x 720 (720p) resolution. Yes, that’s high definition and it’s shocking for such a small package. However, the other surprising part is the audio. Even with lots of ambient noise and jarring interruptions, the Mino HD manages to pick up close-range audio. For example, it clearly records the holder of the camera who may or may not be narrating (something I enjoy doing with my Flip).

back.jpg

Charging the Flip and downloading videos is easy using the built-in USB connection that pops out of the top after flipping a switch. You have two options for accessing your videos. You can either copy them from the Flip, which mounts as an external hard drive on your desktop, or you can use the free software which is ready to install when you connect. My recommendation is to avoid this software. Although it allows you to organize, edit, and upload your videos, the interface is questionable. I prefer to use iMovie on my Mac when editing is actually necessary.

The Flip is extremely easy to use. Pressing the On/Off button turns the screen on and you immediately see a live picture. On the screen you see “Ready”, a battery indicator that manages to stay full after several days without use, and the remaining available time to record on the two gigabytes of internal storage. By pressing the large, red button you can immediately begin recording. The left/right buttons cycle through old videos, and the plus/minus buttons zoom in and out using a basic digital zoom. The trash can allows you to delete old videos, and the play button plays the last recorded video. Each button is backlit to indicate if it is available to press. Lastly, watching videos is easy on the Flip with the high-volume, built-in speaker.

I attempted to record the advertised full hour of video for a friend’s piano recital. Unfortunately, the Flip reached its capacity around 54 minutes with plenty of battery life still available. I also learned that the built-in microphone is not ideal for live music.

I recommend the Flip Mino HD for anyone interested in on-the-go, basic video recording.

The Flip Mino HD is available on Amazon for US$208 in black. If you buy it on the Flip website for US$229 you can customize it with patterns, your own images, or images from a gallery on the website.

There are already several cool accessories made for the Flip in addition to the soft case that comes in the box.

Tripod:

http://www.theflip.com/store/Product.aspx?SKU=ATR1B

Underwater case:

http://www.theflip.com/store/Product.aspx?SKU=AWC1T

Soft pouches in various colors:

http://www.theflip.com/store/Product.aspx?FID=ASP

Skins:

http://www.theflip.com/store/Product.aspx?SKU=ASK1CP1

Here’s a sample video:

Make sure to play it in full screen so you can really see the quality that comes from this tiny product.

If you’ve tried the Flip Mino HD or have a favorite digital video camera of choice, let us know in the comments or forums.

Recent Posts