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Software update adds simple video sharing feature
When I first reviewed the Pure Digital Flip camera back in 2007, I liked the camera for its ease of use, video quality, and portability. The video camera pretty much set the video camera world on its ears, with more than 2 million cameras sold since being introduced several years ago--so much so that Cisco Systems snatched up the company. The latest version of the camera, The Flip UltraHD coupled with the latest version of FlipShare, keeps the solution a compelling one.
The UltraHD Second generation
So what is new with the UltraHD? While the overall look and feel of the UltraHD retains the same body style of the Flip Ultra that is powered by a pair of AA batteries, the big difference with the UltraHD is the HD resolution video and the rubberized body in front and back. The UltraHD captures 720p video at 1280x720 video resolution at 30 frames per second progressive scan. It features a 2-inch LCD screen, the same flip out USB arm for connecting to your Mac or PC, and an HDMI mini port that enables you to watch your videos on your HDTV. The UltraHD comes in 4GB and 8GB (120 minutes of video) versions and are priced at $199 and $149 respectively.
The same buttons that have made the Flip line of camcorders fiendishly simple to use are retained, as is the big red record button. Another new feature is the rechargeable nickel metal Hydride battery pack that powers the unit. The UltraHD still can accept two AA batteries as well, which in my opinion is a lot more handy than the Flip mino, which features a built in battery that needs to be charged via the USB port on your computer.
The video is recorded in the H.264 video format, which can be played via such applications as QuickTime player, iTunes, and Windows Media Player. It features a 2X digital zoom lens that is adequate for most applications. There is also a child safe mode to prevent the accidental deletion of your videos, a tripod mount, and a silent mode, which enables you to turn the record light off for more discreet recording.
Recording time - 120 minutes
Internal memory - 8GB
Display - Transflective TFT 2-inch diagonal (960 x 240)
Video resolution - 1280 x 720, 30 frames per second progressive scan
Sensor - 1/4.5 │ HD CMOS Sensor 2.2┬Ám pixels
Lens - 2x digital zoom
Light sensitivity - Ultra low-light (>1.4 V/lux-sec)
Average bitrate - 9.0Mbps (auto-adaptive algorithm)
Video format - H.264 video compression, AAC audio compression, MP4 file format
Battery - Internal Flip Lithium-Ion Rechargeable with up to 2.5 hours of use between charges
Dimensions - 3.94 │ x 1.97 │ x 0.63 │
Weight - 6 oz
Flip's easy to use software, FlipShare has also been enhanced, with the latest feature being the addition of Flip Channels. You can receive your channels in a variety of ways, including via the Web, email, iPhone (soon to be released app), and TV set. While you can still easily share your videos via YouTube and other video sharing sites, via email, burned to DVD, and as a greeting card, Flip Channels is the latest enhancement to FlipShare. Flip Channels enables you to share your videos in a private setting to those who you email permissions to.
|Flip Channels enables you to send an email to those who you want to watch the videos. They receive the screen in their email that looks just like the one above. Just click the video icon and it takes you to Flipshare.com where you can watch the videos.|
|FlipShare with Flip Channels|
What I originally liked about the first Flip video cameras, as well as the Flip mino is the overall ease of use. The fact that the camcorder has simple buttons for capturing and playing the video, coupled with the easy to use software that ships with every Flip camcorder makes the user experience all the more positive. The Flip hands down is the easiest, most simple to use camcorder on the market, with a user experience that makes it a joy to use. Now onto the not so good stuff. Because of its size, The Flip takes some time to master, shooting wise. You can't really walk with the camera and shoot video because your video with get the jitters. For best results, you need to keep movement at a minimum, because there is no image stabilization that you'd find on a camcorder from one of the traditional camcorder manufacturers. If you move around a lot, you'll get the Blair Witch effect, which can make some viewers dizzy. With that said, what other video camera for $200 can you stick in your pocket and record video in High Definition? There really isn't a dedicated camcorder that can do such a thing as easily as the Flip UltraHD. For more information, visit www.theflip.com
You can watch a video in all its high definition glory by downloading video here. video 7.zip
John Virata is senior editor of Digital Media Online. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org