Best Value in Flip Camcorders – A Comparative Review

Flash camcorders are an excellent choice for most consumers, as discussed in the comparative review of the best values in flash camcorders. Cisco Systems, through its strategic acquisition of Pure Digital the maker of Flip Video camcorders, clawed its way into this very competitive market earlier this year. Pure Digital deserves laurels in carving a niche in the extremely competitive camcorder market where giants like Canon, Sony, and Panasonic welded power. Flip Video camcorders hold their own with these distinct features:
  • Unique design that reinvented few fundamentals: 1) The simplified hand grip design blew away the concept of requiring some sort of an operating handle, and 2) An integrated approach replaced the snap-out LCD design.
  • Flip-out USB design allows connectivity to a computer without entailing a USB chord,
  • Functions on just two AA batteries (Ultra models).
A few intelligent design compromises in reducing form-factor were necessary for this feature-set:
  • Fixed-focus lens: This is the single-biggest design compromise that helped shape the end-product with its enviable form-factor. The decision was fairly risky as at that time as web-cams were the only products employing fixed-focus lens with success,
  • Internal Flash Memory: This risky design compromise panned out only because the integrated USB design simplified connectivity. The capacity of this flash memory can do with tremendous improvement as otherwise it mandates having a computer handy to transfer videos whenever capacity limit is reached.
Below is a spread-sheet that compares the most popular Flip Video Camcorder third generation models:


ProductFlip UltraHD (60 minutes)Flip UltraHD (120 minutes)Flip MinoHD (120 minutes)Flip SlideHD (240 minutes)
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List Price$149.99$199.99$229.99$229.99

Best Price$129$179$199$199.99
Date of Release09/201009/201009/201004/2010
Storage Media4GB Internal Flash Memory – 60 minutes8GB Internal Flash Memory – 120 minutes8GB Internal Flash Memory – 120 minutes16GB Internal Flash Memory – 240 minutes
Video Recording FormatMPEG-4MPEG-4MPEG-4MPEG-4
Lens & FocusF/2.4 Fixed FocusF/2.4 Fixed FocusF/2.4 Fixed FocusF/2.4 Fixed Focus
Optical ZoomNoneNoneNoneNone
Digital Zoom2 x – smooth2 x – smooth2 x – smooth2 x - smooth
Image StabilizerNoYesYesNo
Resolution1280 x 720, 30fps1280 x 720, 60fps1280 x 720, 60fps1280 x 720, 30fps
Battery TypeRechargeable AA battery pack (NOT included) or regular 2 AA (included)Rechargeable AAA battery pack (included) or Lithium 3 AAALi-ion recharged through USBLi-ion recharged through USB
Size & Weight4.25” x 2.19“ x 1.17”, 5.7 ounces4.16” x 2.11“ x 0.88”  inches, 4.5 ounces3.94” x 1.97“ x 0.63”, 4.1 ounces4.13" x 2.17" x 0.98" , 5.9 ounces
Screen Size2.0”2.0”2.0”3.0”
OthersEasy Press Buttons, HDMI MiniEasy Press Buttons, HDMI MicroTouch Sensitive, HDMI MiniTouch Sensitive, HDMI Mini


The following three key attributes make it consumer friendly:
  1. Diminutive form-factor. Flip Camcorders fits easily in one’s pocket. The integrated LCD and grip design causes very little delay from retrieval to the commencing of video capture.
  2. Ease of use: Flip has just three main buttons for Record, Play, and Delete. Around the central bright red record button are the +/- zoom button and a Forward/Backward button. The slide-switch for on/off is on the side. This design is not intuitive at first when switching over from a conventional camcorder interface and then it becomes second nature.
  3. Excellent low-light performance: The low-light performance for this low-end camcorder, achieved through a combination of a larger CCD (Charge Coupled Device, a chip that determines the quality of pictures) and a larger pixel size, is exceptional. The larger pixel works well with videos on the web.
The buying decision boils down to whether the price difference justifies the incremental value obtained for the additional feature-set. Flip UltraHD (60 minutes) is priced $50 below the 120 minute model but lacks the following key features: Frame Rate is 30 vs 60 and does not have image stabilization. With MinoHD, the key advantage is form factor, but otherwise the feature set is similar but UltraHD has the advantage of lithuim AAA batteries as opposed to internal battery pack. SlideHD introduces the concept of 'Shoot & Show' by have a 3.0" screen that can be tilted at a good viewing angle. It earns points for the cool factor and has double the capacity compared to other models. All this additional feature set can be had for the same price as MinoHD - the catch is that the new Image Stabilization and higher frame rate (60fps) are missing in this product. Even so, the pricing makes this an outstanding deal.




Last Updated: 07/2016.

Related Posts:

1. Best Values in Shoot & Share HD Camcorders - A Comparative Review.
2. Best Values in Flip Camcorders - Comparative Review.
3. Best Values in Flash Camcorders - Comparative Review.

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