Product Type: Pure digital camcorders
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Pure Digital Flip UltraHD
Member Name: freediveheaven
Pure Digital Flip UltraHD
Advantages: Small and portable
Disadvantages: Zoom is very limited
I bought this Flip Ultra HD for a couple of very specific purposes and the best thing is that it did not cost me a penny as it came out of my departmental budget. I actually paid £109.99 on Amazon for it and never having owned one before I was not very sure what to expect with regards to picture quality and options. So far I have used it to record students delivering presentations as part of the Young Enterprise programme and also a training weekend at Buxton for World Challenge, the idea is to take it away with us this summer to record some footage of the expedition.
The size of this little device is one of its main attractions, it is the size of a mobile phone, all be it a chubby mobile phone that has binged on the mince pies and it weighs a mere 170g so it is ideal for travelling as it takes up little space, the dimensions are 10.8:5.6:3 cm, and can be carried easily in your trouser pockets or attached to a belt thanks to a separate case that I also purchased which is designed to keep it free from dust and sand. This makes it easy to conceal and thus reduce the risk of being a target for bag snatchers and the weight is just enough that you would notice if it was being lifted from your pocket. Plus because of the size it will fit in the zipped pockets of the travel trousers like Craghoppers Kiwi's. The other big attraction is that there are no cables needed to download your films as it has an usb arm that flips up at the press of a button and is located on the side of the video camera.
The video camera itself is black in colour, on the back is a small viewing screen which is 2" in size and has a very clear picture quality, there are then a minimum of buttons, the power on button is one the side of the camera and on the back there is a large red button which acts as the record and stop start button and at the four points on the compass there are smaller icons to operate the rather limited zoom options and also to skip forward and back when in playback mode. There is a separate play button and also a delete button to remove and footage you do not want with the rubbish bin symbol to warn you as to what this button does.
Setting up the camera to start is easy, it comes with a AA NiMH rechargeable battery pack however it will also work off two AA batteries as well, the battery pack comes partially charged however the first thing to do is to charge it fully which takes about six hours. Again just plug it into your laptop using the flip usb and you are away. Now I said that no cables are needed and technically this is true however if like me at work you have an upright PC which means the usb points are located at the top of the machine this means that while plugged in using the flip usb all of the devices weight is on the usb which I figured may not be that good so for work I have invested in a cable. While it is charging you can complete the set up by switching the power on and then setting up the language, time, date and various other settings. Apart from the charge time it takes only a couple of minutes and is easy to do.
So now to the important bits, recording and picture quality, well the first thing to say is that the device does have its limitations, mainly in the fact that the x2 zoom is pretty limited and not very responsive. This is very much a point and press operation and if the objects get too close to you then you have to step back to get them in, similarly it has its limitations on distant objects as well. On the plus side the picture quality is very good, I have been impressed with the quality of the images on my PC, there are pretty crisp and clear with the colour being sharp and well defined. For sure an expert will not be bowled over but it is not designed for that end of the market. The HD picture quality is good and it has an 8GB memory which allows you to shoot plenty of material. Fully charged the battery pack will give you about two hours of shooting time as well however start playing back material and that diminishes fast. I have not yet tried it with separate batteries but no doubt will while in China.
The sound quality is pretty good and the inbuilt mike picks up quite a lot including my out of breath efforts to film and climb at the same time but again it has its limitations but due to the size of the whole thing it is perfect to provide a running commentary of what you are filming or recording a message home to family.
There is built in Flip software to make it easy to transfer your footage to either your PC or directly onto file sharing sites like YouTube and I have found this easy to use and quite quick as well. You can also edit your films using the software something I have only just started to experiment with but it is fairly intuitive and has not presented any great challenges to a complete novice like myself.
Would I recommend this product, well for certain purposes it is ideal, if you are looking to record epic masterpieces of the family holiday to Skegness then maybe not, however if you want something that is very portable and easy to conceal, something that is easy to operate and is in the point and press mode of video filming then this little baby does produce a very acceptable picture quality. It is a hand held device so if you have a shaky hand then you will get a shaky film but for me it was money well spent and has been very useful so far both as a teaching aid and preparing students for interviews.
Thanks for reading and rating my review.
Summary: Good travel gadget
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