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Lunch » Tags » Electronics » Reviews » Flip MinoHD Camcorder 2nd Generation, 2 Hours » User review

Still an engineering marvel - and very handy

  • Jul 23, 2010
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Flip created the "instant camcorder" concept. Despite being acquired by Cisco, Flip has continued to innovate. From the viewpoint of someone who appreciates technology and good engineering, the Flip MinoHD is impressive. In a very small package, you can get not quite two hours of good 720p HD video with pretty good audio.

The key thing is to remember that the Flip MinoHD is not a replacement for a full sized camcorder. It has many limitations that its much bigger brothers don't have, which I'll discuss later on.

For convenience the Flip MinoHD is hard to beat. Press one easy to access by intent (but difficult by accident) button to turn the unit on and another button, this time a big red one, to start recording. When that action breaks in front of you, whether it's your kid doing something cute or a demonstrator getting beat up, you're ready to go in an instant. Getting the Flop into action is a lot faster than the process you have to go through with some point and shoot cameras, cell phones, smartphones and even many camcorders.

The 2" TFT LCD viewfinder is adequate for the purpose and the unit is wonderfully small: just about 2 x 4 inches and weighing 4 ounces. The f2.4 lens is protected by a what appears to be a glass cover and the unit could be carried in a pocket, though a small case would be better. The viewfinder, by the way, is very usable in bright daylight.

The field of view I would estimate to be about the equivalent of a 35mm or perhaps slightly longer lens on a 35mm camera. For me, that is too narrow. I would personally prefer a wider field of view. Most of my video is shot from nearby, across a table and such. But I have yet to find a camera in this class with a wider lens. Minimum focus is 0.8 meters, about 2 feet 7 inches, which is good. The 2x digital zoom substantially degrade the image, which is true of all digital zooms.

The 720p out is absolutely outstanding and blow-you-away good. I output it through a mini-HDMI cable (not supplied with unit) and it literally took my breath away. Footage of a person shot under indoor lighting was well balanced in terms of color and sharp as a tack.

The unit turns on with a side switch which, as I said, is difficult to trigger by accident. A large red mechanical button starts and stops recording, while six capacitive buttons handle playback, delete, zoom, navigation and volume functions. The capacitive buttons are about average in terms of sensitivity.

Recorded audio using the "built-in wide-range stereo microphone" is surprisingly good. The built-in speaker is adequate for reviewing playback on the camera.

Charging is handled by a flip-up USB connector which is actuated by a slide switch on the side. Recharging with USB takes about 3 hours. I personally prefer to use a standard USB extension cable, so the unit is not hanging in mid-air from the built-in connector. Such a cable also allows you to use a standard 5v AC adapter. The battery will hold a full charge for several weeks.

When you first connect the Flip MinoHD to your computer, you have the option to download the FlipShare software from the camera to your computer. This applicartion provides you simple download capabilities, basic editing functions and the ability to share the video on major social networks. Like most such software, it is somewhat primitive, though usable.

The internal Lithium battery is allegedly capable of powering the camera for two hours. I'd strongly suggest that you plan on something more on the order of 90 minutes to avoid disappointment. Collecting that much video of an event is unusual, so 90 minutes or somewhat more is probably going to be enough.

In a world of point and shoot cameras, smartphones and small camcorders capable of HD video, does the Flip still have a place? Yes. As a single purpose tool, it is much faster to deploy than any of the alternatives, is smaller than most and produces outstandingly good video.

Does it have failings? Of course. Low-light performance, as you might - and should - expect is not very good. The digital zoom is smooth, but like all digital zoom effects, degrades the image. Other than those two factors, which would be common to any device like this, the Flip MinoHD is simply outstanding.


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More Flip MinoHD Camcorder 2nd Gene... reviews
review by . July 10, 2010
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review by . July 15, 2010
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First, I am very impressed by the quality of the video and audio from the Mino HD. I have used it in a variety of situations, and the picture and sound were always clear. The performance in lower light is also good. I like how you can set whether or not "recording" LED, a red glow from behind the microphone grilles, illuminates and whether or not there is a sound when recording starts.    The FlipShare software I am somewhat less enamored of. It's easy to use, and you can assemble …
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review by . April 22, 2010
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review by . December 22, 2009
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About the reviewer
Jerry Saperstein ()
Ranked #194
I am an e-discovery strategist, computer forensics specialist and testifying expert witness - and an avid reader.      Aside from technology books, I love thrillers, suspense, mystery, … more
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From the Manufacturer MinoHD Overview Flip MinoHD Overview
  • All-new MinoHD is the world's sleekest HD camcorder
  • Slim, sleek design fits in any pocket or purse--perfect for shooting video on the go
  • Captures 120 minutes of stunning HD video on 8 GB of built-in memory; no additional memory needed
  • Simple user interface--power on and press record to start capturing HD video in moments
  • Convenient flip-out USB arm plugs directly into your PC or Mac to launch pre-loaded FlipShare software
  • FlipShare software makes it easy to email videos, edit individual clips, make custom movies, capture still-image snapshots, and upload video to Facebook, YouTube and other sharing sites
  • Large, 2-inch anti-glare color display to play back and delete videos
  • Internal Lithium-ion battery recharges through built-in USB; also recharges when connected to Flip Video Power Adapter (not included)
  • HDMI output (mini-HDMI connector) makes it easy to watch your videos on your HDTV
  • All-new design features a unique brushed-metal front and soft, rounded edges
  • Features a flat-back panel with touch-sensitive, backlit buttons
  • Video: 16:9 widescreen, HD 720p (1280 x 720) at 30 frames per seconds (fps) progressive scan; recorded as MP4 files
Flip MinoHD Highlights

The World's Sleekest HD Camcorder Is Now Even Better
With the all-new Flip MinoHD, it's now even easier to capture incredible HD video and share it with the world. MinoHD features 120 minutes of record time, so you'll never have to miss another ...
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