* Prices may differ from that shown
After I carelessly lost my rather expensive camera whilst going on holiday abroad (after moments of panic I gave up searching in my empty camera case and gave it up for a lost cause), I decided that I really needed something small and portable to take, that did not cost as much as a full, good digital camera, so as to not have a repeat of the incident. I am not, have never been and in all honesty will probably never be the most careful of people, and so I was looking for some kind of camera or camcorder that was good quality but not overly expensive. Obviously, I would still be pretty upset if I lost it, but not nearly as much as I would be if I lost a big bulky SLR.
I was looking for a small, pocket sized camcorder that:
a) Didn't cost a fortune.
b) Could take decent video clips.
and c) Was light and portable so that I could pretty much carry it in my pocket and film or take pictures of my everyday moments.
Of course, I wasn't expecting too much from a product I was only intending to use as something portable, something to take on holiday with, but the Flip Mino HD 2nd Generation did not disappoint. In fact, I found that instead of using it only on holidays etc., I was actually integrating the smart little device into my everyday life, almost considering every good moment not being captured by my camcorder a good moment wasted.
So first of all, why did I choose the Flip Mino HD Camcorder 2nd Generation, even though this may not have been the most advanced model of its range? To my understanding, more generations of this range are already out. Well, because it had received quite good reviews and I had a friend who lent me hers, which she had bought earlier. for a trial run and it seemed like a handy device to have- without the controls being to complicated to figure out.
Another important factor was, definitely, price. Luckily for me, a few months ago when I bought it, it was quite cheap considering its brand and product- dipping at around £80 on Amazon, which I thought was a complete and utter bargain, considering that we are talking about a product which has a £179.99 Recommended Retail Price. Right now, unfortunately, you cannot buy it at such a low price, on Amazon at least; right now it is on sale at £129.95 which is not a remarkably low price, but not a tremendously high one either. I would say that the Flip Mino range is in the middle of the pocket camcorder price range, and since they function quite well, I think that it is more than good value for money
It is very small and portable- it can be easily slipped into your pocket. Sure, it is not as thin as an iPod Touch, though it is thin enough to be thought of as a hi tech gadget, and it is thin enough to easily fit in your hand and in your pocket as well. Also, it would not actually be all too pleasing to receive such a thin product, because it would look less sturdy and hard wearing. It seems to be made of a sturdy material and I do not expect it to break down anytime soon. It has a sleek and smooth outer casing in the calm classic colour of silver (there are, of course, different colours, but I decided on the silver); this gives the pocket camcorder the effect of being sleek and sophisticated, however, just a little warning that dust and dirt show up better on it.
As for functionality, this works quite well- the picture quality is more than good enough for me. It has very simple controls which is good for when you are in a rush. The most important button- the big red record and stop button- is right in the middle and it is impossible not to be able to function that at least. You press it, it starts, press it again, it stops. The other buttons (which are touch screen, so you don't even need to press down that hard on them) are also very easy to figure out. A child could use it- in fact, I should take this opportunity to recommend this product to people of all age categories, especially for people who have trouble keeping up with technology, because it is just so simple to use.
120 minutes of recording (which is how much recording time came with my Flip Mino HD) is more than enough to record large snapshots of whatever you want. However, don't expect to be able to record documentaries for hours and hours without stopping. Of course, you can just load the videos onto your computer with your handy USB connector that comes with it, and then continue shooting. It is very practical for taking out and about, but if you are on holiday without a computer to load your videos on, you will not be able to capture that much video footage. However, for me, it is more than enough.
However, there are some things that could be improved about this product (maybe these have been improved in the later generations, I do not know), though these are not major, and anyway, as I said near the beginning of my review, I do not expect too much from a small, relatively cheap device such as this. Instead of saying that every cloud has a silver lining, I would say... every silver lining has a cloud (does that even make sense?!). Some of these disadvantages are:
* Even though the picture quality is HD and quite clear, it is not quite as good as using a high range digital camera or camcorder, but you get what you pay for. It works OK with fast sports, but you can get a few blurry moments.
* If you, like me, don't have such a steady hand, the video quality can turn out to be quite blurred. Also, it does not zoom far enough to capture far away scenes in good detail.
All in all, I think that this is a good pocket camcorder for general use, good value for money and so I would highly recommend it. It functions well, the picture quality is good. I would give it 5 stars overall. It may be a simple product relatively speaking, but that is what I was looking for, and therefore it works for me. If you want a complicated 0.0001mm thin gadget (OK, so that was an exaggeration) with a built in GPS then I would suggest for you to look elsewhere. So all in all I give this 5 out of 5 stars.
I chose this camera as I wanted small portable camera for taking quick and easy footage on the move for my Youtube cannel. This camera fitted my needs perfectly. It has a red button at the front which after being pressed records almost instantly. It takes only a few seconds from pressing the on button and you actually being able to film which means you never miss those moments which only happen once in a lifetime making for some really interesting films and clips. The flip has a large screen on the back for easy viewing and films in HD which makes everything look a lot clearer.
Aiming the camera can be tricking if you are filming yourself as there is no way of knowing if you are filming your face or just your forehead but it doesn't take long to learn. The battery life is ok lasts about an hour and a half.
Flip cameras come with built in editing software making it easy to stream clips together or upload a single clip straight to any social networking site. You can't edit you clips very well you can only cut bits off the end or beginning or middle if you do a lot of fiddling around with them so this really isn't the camera for heavy editing films that people like to make. The clips are also in HD so a lot of free editing software like windows movie maker do not play the clips but there is editing software out there that plays HD clips if you want to edit the clips a lot.
It's very easy to use and great value for money when I bough this it costs me £70 but you can get them slightly cheaper now so even better value for money.
When choosing a camcorder, it's a good idea to think about the purpose you wish it to serve. If you want to record family memories in the best quality possible, I'd recommend paying £500+ for a full sized camcorder. However, there are many situations where a handy pocket camera such as the Flip Mino HD is more appropriate. In this review I'll compare the Flip with more expensive camcorders and the recording capabilities on mobile phones.
This camera is a very simple device. It records directly into it's own inbuilt hard drive, which is 4 or 8GB and that will store 1 or 2 hours footage. The footage can then be transfered directly to any computer (PC/Mac) using it's own in built software. The USB port is also used to charge the device's inbuilt Lithium-ion battery which lasts about 90 minutes on standby. It really is so easy, no annoying charging / transfer cables and no need to buy extra batteries or memory cards like you would with a standard camcorder. It comes in a smart black box (similar to the iPhone's) and is supplied with a little drawstring pouch and a wrist strap.
FUNCTIONS & APPEARANCE
The camera has very limited functions. start and stop recording, view and delete clips. But really that's all you need. Anything else can be done in post production using the free software (more later). The camera measures W5cm x H10cm, is 1.73cm deep and weighs only 136 grams. It's held vertically,and the 2" anti-glare display screen is used as the viewfinder or to replay your clips, which is OK but mobile phone users will be used to a larger screen with perhaps horizontal touch functions to control recording. (I'd expect to see this kind of camera from Flip and other suppliers in the future.) The camera has a tough plastic coating with a chrome effect front and grey plastic rear, the USB connection flips out at the push of a button and there's a tripod connection underneath. It looks like it should survive a drop onto a hard surface, but the likelihood of this happening is slim if you always use the wrist strap.
The device records in 1280 x 720 resolution at 30 frames per second (widescreen 720P), in the H.264 high definition format. However whether the image appears to your eyes as high definition or not will depend on the lighting conditions you're filming in. When shooting outdoors, particularly on a summer's day, the quality is beautiful. Indoors it's just okay and in low light I'd go as far to say that it's poor. Unfortunately the processing power and lens on a cheaper camera will rarely give good results in low light, so it's important to be aware of it's limitations. The colours it reproduces are surprisingly true to life, and only sometimes undersaturated on occasions if I were to make any criticism. The biggest problem with this camera is the 'shake'. You have to hold it very steady if you don't want your family picnic to appear like it was shot during an earthquake. One option is to attach a tripod or rest it on a flat surface.
One thing I like about this camera is that I can take it anywhere and not worry. I went to Universal Studios last year and wanted to take some film, but my proper camcorder is too bulky and expensive to risk. This was perfect, it just slipped it in my pocket and could shoot quick clips when I wanted. It's also handy if you want to be inconspicuous, perhaps if you want to film in a non-touristy area without being spotted by the locals! The size also gives you options you wouldn't have with a full sized camcorder. For example you can get a mini 'grip' that allows you to attach it to a cycle helmet or handlebars allowing you to get some really interesting shots.
I often use Apple's Final Cut or iMovie to combine footage taken with different cameras, but the included in-built software provides all the tools you need to edit, organise and share your masterpieces. It's very simple and allows you to edit together sequences, add music as a soundtrack if you wish and upload to social networking sites like Facebook and YouTube. You can also take 'stills' as jpeg files. As it's inbuilt, you can do this on any computer, If you were a young person traveling it would be an excellent small device to capture your memories and edit and share your clips from an internet cafe with no fuss.
Many phones now allow you to record video in HD, and with the iPhone4 being a popular device I just thought i'd compare the recording functions. Both devices record at 720P, but the Flip Mino HD wins hands down on picture quality. It copes better in low light and the picture quality is fairly true to life. Footage on the iPhone4 I've found to be very over saturated. Of course the iPhone4 has a much bigger screen, but for filming, the Flip Mino feels more secure in the hand, especially with the wrist strap. Apart from this they offer similar functions. On the iPhone4, you can edit and upload the footage you take directly using 3G or Wifi, but overall the iPhones camera does not compare in terms of quality to the Flip, and certainly no way near a full sized camcorder.
I'd certainly recommend this camcorder on the basis that it reaches places a full camcorder can't and for a far lower price. If you have the ability and the luxury of having a full sized HD camcorder and can combine the footage you can edit more daring clips into your holiday video. Optional accessories such as the bike clip and underwater casing only increase the range of uses for this camera.
the 8GB version of the Flip Mino HD is available on Amazon (and other sites I'm sure!) for £120.40 currently (Dec '10)
I purchased the Flip MinoHD with high expectations, and they were met. The Flip MinoHD camcorder is great-- the perfect thing for any family hoping to videotape the kids, friends, events, etc. First of all, it's extremely easy to use: when you get the box, there is absolutely no assembly required. Your first guess about which buttons are the power switch, record button, and USB connector release will be correct; great intuitive design. The device looks and feels great and easily fits in your hand comfortably for long periods of time. It turns on and off quickly) so you don't have to wait long to start recording that precious, fleeting moment.
The screen is a bit large, but that's not a big deal. Image quality is amazing, and not too shaky/bouncy. The USB connector is good-- very convenient, easy to connect, and you don't have to go running to find any special USB connector cable. The audio is surprisingly good, picking up faint background sounds that I hadn't even noticed at the time of recording and picking up simultaneous music and voices, near and far, with great quality. The 2-hour battery life is more than I ever use, so it's great. Honestly I haven't made use of the HD resolution, but I'm sure that will be fantastic. In the meantime, the HD quality is better than anything I'll ever need. By the way, I know other reviewers have said they can make the camcorder freeze up by zooming in or out during recording, but mine works fine even when I do that.
I saved the best for last: the Flip Video software. That's what made it even more impressive! It is ridiculously easy to setup, automatically starts when I plug in the camcorder, and makes it completely obvious how to download the videos, play back, freeze frames to make photos, and share. And it's fast-- not much waiting for videos to load up (like other video players). It's all in an easy-to-use, well-organized (by video date) layout very similar to the iPod control panel (a common comparison, it seems). I wish all software was this easy to use. It has completely replaced my old camera.
This is a review for the Flip Mino HD 8 GB Camcorder. The average price is anything from £90 secondhand to £100-150 new.
It comes in a nifty little black cardboard box, and inside is an even niftier hard black box that flips open and reveals the camera! The camera itself is metal, and I noticed as well very cold to the touch for some reason! The back is silver, the front is black. The screen is smaller than I expected, takes up about a third of the front of the camera. There is a shiny red button right in the middle, which is the record button. On the side is a button to flip out the USB attachment- hence it being a 'flip' camera, I assume!
*Also In The Box*
...is a soft black drawstring protective pouch, a HDMI cable and a silver wrist strap.
*Using the camera*
It states on the website that start up time is less than 4 seconds, and they're right! After pressing the black 'on' button on the side, it makes a little cute bleep noise and on the screen comes!
Prepare to be shocked- for a tiny screen, the picture quality is amazing to look at! Initially it'll ask you to input date, time, etc, and then you're good to go.
The buttons are touch sensitive, so it's effortless to navigate around the camera. My test video came out with crystal clear audio, beautifully clear visual, and this was in dim light! It stores anything up to 120 mins of footage, depending on what you're recording. I have fitted a fair few videos of silly antics on here and never had a problem with space.
The HDMI cable is so you can hook your little gadget up to a HD TV and watch them in HD. Since I don't have a HD TV I don't know how well this works.
This has been dropped several times, as I am a very clumsy girl. Each and every time it has simply bounced. Now I'm not suggesting you go around flinging your camera about, but it's certainly a sturdy little fellow!
The battery lasts for ages, and is easily charged by connecting it via it's USB stick to my computer.
Talking of computers, plugging the little guy in installs the Flip software on your computer for ease of transferring your videos. I don't use the software much, but it's useful for editing my videos.
This is a fantastic gadget, and I keep it in my pocket/handbag at all times for capturing those moments where a photo just isn't enough. I love the sleek design, the box and protective pouch it comes with, I love the big red button and the sound quality. There really isn't anything bad I can say about the thing, apart from the size of the screen (could be a bit bigger!).
This little camcorder is an excellent, easy to use, pull-out and shoot video recorder. Its small design and ease of use make it very useful for all ages and technophobes alike. This product is ideal for those moments when you don't want to carry a slightly bulkier model around yet still capture the same quality of video, it can easily fit into a pocket and is light enough to be unobtrusive as well. The video quality is remarkably good and the screen bright and, it automatically adjusts to different light levels very quickly allowing seemless video in a number of different environments. The screen is very responsive during recording mode and there is no image lag visible at all. The size of it make it a good video device for adventure/extreme sports capturing and there is even a water-proof housing available if this is what you want it for. I guess the next step would be to make the model itself water-proof and shock proof to appeal to this market even more. This said, it is a very good camera for not a huge amount of money, I got mine through a deal amazon had so there are bargains to be had!