A HD Pocket Camcorder
Now part of the Cisco family, the latest Flip device to enter the ever-growing pocket camcorder market is the Flip Mino HD. As its title suggests, this camcorder is capable of capturing content in 720p high definition mode. The new model, with its brush metal body and reflective black front plate, comes with 8GB of internal memory that will allow you to record up to 120 minutes of video content.
With a weight of 4.1 ounces and measuring a compact 100 x 50 x 19mm, the Flip Mino HD will definitely feel at home in your pocket and not cause an unsightly bulge. A wrist strap and a soft carry pouch are included in the box. The pouch can double as a cleaning cloth as the unit’s front plate does seem to collect finger smears as if they were going out of fashion.
Continuing the pattern set by some of the earlier Flip models, the designers of the Flip Mino HD have provided the user with a simple layout of touch sensitive controls arranged around a red button to start / stop recording. The touch sensitive controls, which I found took some adjustment on my part as my fingers found it hard to break the habit of pressing downwards, allow you to play and delete video clips plus zoom in and out of a scene during recording and volume adjustment when playing back a clip.
The sides of the Mino HD hold the power button on one side and the release catch for the flip-out USB connector on the other. The USB connector can be used to charge the unit’s internal Lithium-ion battery which should give you up to two hours of use (funnily enough matching the length of recording capacity time)..
Positioned above the control layout is the unit’s 5cm LCD screen. This is a transflective TFT screen with a resolution of 320 x 240. Although the screen resolution measures 5cm diagonally, the actual image display area is 4.5cm diagonally as bars along the top showing status, feedback, available time and battery level information, take up space.
Mounted on the brush metal face of the Mino HD is a fixed focus (0.8m to infinity) lens with an f/2.4 aperture and a 2x digital zoom feature. Video is captured at 30fps with a resolution of 1280 x 720. A built-in microphone will capture audio but don’t expect too much from this feature. I found that the audio playback tended to be rather tinny and not up to the quality of the video content captured in various lighting conditions, even including one test recording of some live television action.
While on the subject of television, it is possible to connect the Flip Mino HD to a television set for view playback. To enable you to carry out this task, the Mino HD has a HDMI socket located on the base of the unit. However, unlike some of the earlier Flip products which came with the necessary cables (admittedly the standard TV connection cable for linking to composite video), the 8GB Flip Mino HD offers no such facility. You will need to provide your own cable for linking the Flip to your television’s HDMI socket.
The Flip Mino HD comes with FlipShare software which is found on the device. Installed on your computer the software will allow you to share your video clips with others using methods such as email or posting to the Web with links being provided for MySpace and YouTube. However before sharing your video clips you might want to carry out some basic editing and then personalise clips in various ways. Editing is really limited to trimming clips by setting the start and end points. Personalisation options include embedding the video clips in special occasion cards and by letting the software take the strain by creating a movie with titles, credits and music from a selection of your captured clips. The supplied software requires Windows users to have a Pentium 4 processor with 512MB of RAM (1GB for Vista/Windows 7) while Mac users will need a 1.66GHz Intel Core Duo or faster system.
Although not instantly available from pressing the power button, the delay of between 3 and 4 seconds should not cause too much inconvenience. Charging the Flip Mino HD from a computer should take around 3 hours with this time being reduced to 2 hours by using a mains USB plug. For ease-of-your and quality of video, the Flip Mino HD is well worth considering. The product has a price tag of £179.99.
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