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Flip Mino HD Camcorder
This is the third Flip I have reviewed the first was a little garish the second quite smart aimed at the younger market but the Flip Mino HD is their first HD offering. It is the same size as the Flip Mino at 10x5x2cm and that is perhaps major problem. The screen was always small at 3x2.2cm and with HD recording you have bands top and bottom and the playback/capture image is 3x1.6cm and while you are hardly likely to show images for any length on the screen you do need it as the way to frame what you are capturing and it seems very small after the Kodak (read the kodak Zx1 review here).
The left side has the TV connector (only Composite not HDMI) and the slider to release the USB connector that springs up on the top of the unit. The right side has the on/off button and wrist strap anchor point while the base has screw for a tripod. The front has the lens while the back has the screen six touch buttons and a push button for starting and stopping recording.
Like its earlier siblings it will capture an hour of video and only has internal memory but of course that amount of memory has to increase to 4GB to capture an hour of 1280x720.
The software provided on the unit (it is transferred the first time you connect to a PC) is now excellent and underwent an upgrade while I was reviewing the Flip Mino. This appears the same. Files are of course larger and clips – even short ones – take time to process if you email them to a holding site.
The process reduces their size by about 6/7 and to compile a 7 minute 30 second clip take around 17 minutes on a reasonably fast PC however then it takes 48 minutes to send it to the site. You can then send the URL to any of your friends and family so they can view it.
My main concern – not answered although I asked – is why the upload is only at 30mbps when the PC I used is capable of sending at more than ten times this rate. However as much as I find this annoying it is still nearly twice as fast as the transfer of similar sized files on the Kodak.
Both units can view images on a TV by simply connecting the supplied cables they are shown full screen and the quality is such that providing you have a steady hand (or tripod) when capturing the clips you will not be able to tell the content from that broadcast by normal channels. Yes the HDMI cable will give the Kodak a slight edge but the quality produced by the Flip is still quite acceptable.
The Flip produces MP4 files (supported by several packages including Real Player) while the Kodak has .MOV files (supported by Apple Quick Time). Both give excellent images and the sound is acceptable providing it is from quite near when shown on a TV or a computer. However when compressed a lot of the quality is compressed out when sent as an e-mail (download).
I mentioned that I send clips to musician friends and they all say the musical (sound) quality could be better but as musicians they have ‘ears’ tuned to sound and anything less than perfection will always not be good enough for them. They all liked the image quality even those taken in less than perfect light from both the units. I found that on average one minute of video took around 77MB of space on the unit.
Doing my Internet searches found the Flip Mino HD Camcorder at a best price of £168.27 including free delivery from the first link below. This also includes a video demonstration of the unit on the link. $199 including free delivery from the first link below. This also includes a video demonstration of the unit on the link. €211,26 including delivery from the first link below.
No doubt you expect me to try to say which unit is best out of the two well I am sorry I have told you the strengths and weaknesses of both and I am going to leave you to decide. However I will say I would be happy with either. Remember that the Flip recharges from USB while the rechargeable batteries in the Kodak need to be extracted to recharge. The Flip Mino HD has internal storage while with the Kodak you need to buy SDHC cards and this of course adds to the price. I could go on, read both reviews and you decide.
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