12/15/2008

Gadget of the year: The Flip minoHD

theFlip MINOfrom freep.com

Introducing MinoHD™: The World's Smallest HD Camcorder. Get Started Personalizing Your New Flip MinoHD™. Click here!
Miniature camcorders have become a hot new tech trend these days. But in my book, there’s only one to get if you’re looking for maximum quality and convenience.

It’s the new Flip minoHD, the world’s smallest high-definition camcorder that takes video that can only be described as breathtaking, considering it’s coming from a camera so small it fits in a shirt pocket.

I’ve been testing and using Flip cameras since they first hit the market in 2005, and this latest beauty has so impressed me that it’s my top pick as the tech gift of the year.

It costs $229 and truly, for many consumers who don’t want to be bogged down with larger and more complicated cameras, the minoHD is the only camcorder they will need.

An added bonus: It also takes very nice still pictures. Look up on the top right of this page. There are a couple of still images made from the sample videos I have pasted in further down in this post.

The reason to get this camera is for the quality. It produces a razor-sharp 720p-resolution image. That works out to about 1280 x 720 pixels in a 16:9 cinematic widescreen. When you play your images back on the 1.5-inch no-glare screen on the back of the camera, you can’t notice much of a difference.

But flip the side switch (hence the name, the Flip) and up pops a USB connector. Plug that into your PC or Mac and the camera automatically installs its own software. Then play the video back on your computer screen.

Whoa. That was the first word that came out of my mouth. You will be wowed by the quality, too.

The new minoHD is, like previous models, a beauty in simplicity. There are minimal controls, all flat and recessed. A big red record button, a play/stop button to watch your videos, touch-sensitive forward and backward arrows for rewind or fast forward, a delete button, and plus and minus buttons for operating the 2X digital zoom.

There is no tape. All is recorded on flash memory. You can record up to an hour of HD video and audio on the minoHD. Make it as one very long movie or break it up into as many clips as you want.

When you’re done with it or have transferred the video to your computer or burned to a DVD or e-mailed it to friends, hit the touch-sensitive trash icon and it deletes the clip.

I’m also very impressed with the FlipShare software that comes with the Flip and installs when you plug the camera into the computer’s USB port.

You can do some basic in and out editing of the videos, trimming unwanted beginnings or endings. You can insert a title and add captions and slates to the videos, too.

But the neatest thing is taking a bunch of separate shots and then making them into a movie. You highlight the clips you want, drag and drop them into the order you want and the Flip stitches them together, using dissolves to separate the clips and create a very well done long-playing movie.

The FlipShare software even lets you put in background music, using loops that are included with the software or even music you have stored on your PC.
And with a single click of the button, you can send clips or movies to friends via e-mail or have the software automatically post it on YouTube and other video sharing sites.
theFlip MINO
The Flip minoHD runs off built-in lithium-ion batteries that recharge by plugging the camera into the computer’s USB port. On the one hand, that means there’s no charger that you have to keep track of. On the other hand, that means you can’t just swap out some AA’s when you run out of power.

You have to stop recording and find a computer to recharge. That’s my biggest criticism of the Flip. You get about two hours of taping time between charges.

I’ve been using the Flip minoHD a bunch over the past week. Here’s a sample video I shot on a bicycle ride over the weekend. Don’t let the YouTube pixilating video distortion concern you.

On the computer and not streamed online, it’s crystal clear. Same when you burn to a DVD.



Here’s another video, this one shot indoors and outdoors.



Check out the details at The Flip (link)
Flip MinoHD™ now only $229.99 with FREE SHIPPING! Order Here!

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