New Flip MinoHD Back in Top Form for Video

Click here to see the slideshowBy introducing the concept of a low cost and easy to use digital camcorder, the Flip essentially started a revolution in video recording by anyone at anytime. But recently there's been a disconnect in the line of Flip digital camcorders. That's because, while the Flip MinoHD is their highest priced (at $229.99) and ostensibly highest quality camcorder, in recent months it has been eclipsed by the lower priced (at $199.99) Flip UltraHD, which had higher quality HD video and two hours of recording time versus the MinoHD's one hour. But with the recent release of the latest Flip MinoHD, all is right in the Flip universe and the MinoHD once again gains its place at the top of the Flip line. In fact, this is easily the best Flip camcorder I've ever used.

Click here to see the slide show
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By introducing the concept of a low-cost and easy-to-use digital camcorder, the Flip essentially started a revolution in video recording by anyone at anytime. But recently there's been a disconnect in the line of Flip digital camcorders.

That's because, while the Flip MinoHD is their highest priced (at $229.99) and ostensibly highest quality camcorder, in recent months it has been eclipsed by the lower priced (at $199.99) Flip UltraHD, which had higher quality HD video and two hours of recording time versus the MinoHD's one hour.

But with the recent release of the latest Flip MinoHD, all is right in the Flip universe and the MinoHD once again gains its place at the top of the Flip line. In fact, this is easily the best Flip camcorder I've ever used.

Which is good news, as there was some concern that the Flip's might change after Cisco acquired Flip maker Pure Digital Technologies earlier this year. But the new MinoHD is a Flip device through and through and has addressed some of the concerns and issues of past Flip camcorders.

When I first took out the new Flip MinoHD I was immediately impressed by the build quality of the device. It's not like past Flips felt like toys but this latest MinoHD has a very sleek and solid build to it that just feels like a high-quality gadget.

The MinoHD I received came in a nice gunmetal finish but it is also possible to custom order MinoHDs at www.theflip.com to have various designs or even images that you upload.

The classic pop-out jackknife USB jack in the MinoHD has been updated in this version. It now is a single metal USB jack that flips out of the top. Also, like the Flip UltraHD, the new MinoHD also comes with an HDMI connector on the bottom for hooking the device up to HD-quality televisions and displays.

The controls and preview display on the back of the MinoHD are unchanged from previous versions, with the big red button still there for recording. However, the new Flip MinoHD has made some under-the-cover changes that will remove some recording headaches from the Flip.

As someone who on my older Flip is always in danger of accidentally deleting video files while browsing through them on my Flip, I really liked the new option to lock the delete button. This removed the risk of accidentally losing a video file and the lock is easily removed by holding down the delete button for a few seconds.

It is also now possible within the settings of the new Flip MinoHD to not have the red light on the front turn on when recording. While this may seem like a feature for surreptitious recording, such as pirating a movie in a theater, it also has legitimate uses. For example, there have been times when doing close up recording of reflective surfaces where I had to cover up the light to keep it from showing up in the video.

Other new features mainly bring the new MinoHD up to the level of the Flip UltraHD. The HD video is of the same quality at 720p and 30 fps and overall I found the quality to be good. The MinoHD also can now record up to two hours of video. Unlike the UltraHD, the MinoHD can't use regular batteries and only works with its internal sealed rechargeable battery.

The MinoHD also includes the newest version of the video sharing and management software FlipShare. FlipShare 5.0 has made it easier to send videos to online services such as Facebook, MySpace and YouTube but the biggest new feature is a Flip-provided hosted video service called My Channel.

The MyChannel is integrated directly into the FlipShare software, and once a user has set up an account on the FlipShare Website, they can simply drag a video to My Channel and it will automatically upload to the service.

On the My Channel Website users can easily view videos and share them with other users or send them to external Websites. This is a nice feature but I'd still like to see FlipShare do a better job for video editing. I've found that even doing simple cuts and trims in FlipShare to be needlessly difficult and would like to see a more fine-grained approach to these kinds of edits.

But all in all the new Flip MinoHD is an excellent digital camcorder that is once again the top of the Flip heap and one of the best low-cost, easy-to-use digital camcorders available today.

For more information go to www.theflip.com.

Click here to see a slideshow of images of the new Flip MinoHD.