Monday, January 11, 2010

Second-Gen Flip Video MinoHD: The Best Pocket Camcorder

THE SECOND-GENERATION Flip Video MinoHD doesn’t represent a huge jump in specs and features, although changes in the new model from the previous version include a doubling in storage capacity (from 4GB to 8GB), revamped video soft ware, an HDMI-out port, and the end of the line for the Pure Digital brand (Cisco purchased the company in March, and “Flip Video” is now the brand name). The stars of the show are the vastly improved build quality, the unit’s bestin-class low-light video, and the sheer aesthetics of the device. Unlike the plasticky, cheap feel of previous Flips, this one feels a whole lot sturdier and looks a whole lot better (the brushedmetal faceplate and redesigned USB connector even make the new MinoHD look like an Apple product). Video quality has improved, as well. Like the first-gen MinoHD, the new model shoots 720p high-definition MPEG-4 video at 30 frames per second; clips are smoother and sharper than those produced by its competitors. Flip cams have traditionally smoked the competition in taking low-light video, and the new MinoHD ups the ante even further: The footage it takes in low-light conditions is clearly at the head of the pocket-camcorder class, rivaling and even surpassing the low-light video of $1000-and-up HD camcorders. Similar to earlier models, the new MinoHD has a flip-out USB 2.0 connector which pops up, switchblade-style, from the top of the device. (It also sounds more like a switchblade in this version, since the redesigned connector is now entirely metal.) This one of two connectors on the device; the new MinoHD has a mini-HDMI port on the bottom of the unit for watching videos on an HDTV set, which is another addition over the previous MinoHD. (You get no HDMI cable in the package, however.) The revamped FlipShare soft ware, which installs and launches when you plug the camcorder into your PC, now supports direct-to-Facebook uploads and adds a feature called MagicMovie that lets you enhance your footage with transitions, music, and more. The sum of all these parts is arguably the best HD pocket camcorder you can buy now. Although Kodak’s 1080pshooting, digitally stabilized Zi8 is still a notch above the new Flip in brightlight video quality, frame-rate controls, and overall features, it has some nagging usability issues. The new Flip MinoHD beats it in low-light footage, usability, durability, and design.

Source of Information : PC World December 2009

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