PureDigital Flip MinoHD Video Camera

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Product: Flip MinoHD Video Camera
Provided By: Flip / PureDigital

Price: Find Lowest Price Online Here


Introduction:

Box We are following up our review of the Flip Ultra camera from a little over a year ago with the latest and greatest from Flip - the MinoHD.  The MinoHD has gone through several revisions, and this latest 8GB model has a larger screen and some extra features that make it a worthy consideration if you're considering a compact flash-based video camera.  Its small size doesn't allow for "AA" batteries to be used and it incorporates an internal lithium-ion battery that can be a blessing and a curse.  The beauty of "AA" batteries is that you can have an extra set handy - with the MinoHD, if you're battery dies on a camping trip, you'll have to wait until you can get power before you're up and recording again.  With that in mind, let's see what this 720p mini camera looks like and how it performs.

 

First Look:

The Flip MinoHD comes is a small box that holds the camera, wrist strap, soft pouch and some documentation for the little unit.  There is no software CD as it comes pre-loaded on the MinoHD camera itself.  As I mentioned last year regarding the Flip Ultra; this is a great idea and one that every company should follow.  Other than that, there is nothing all that impressive in the box - it would be awesome if they included a mini-HDMI cable to go with the camera but alas, it is not included.

Bundle

 

The Flip MinoHD is wonderfully small and compact.  It is about the size of a smaller smartphone and is very thin for a camcorder. It has a beautiful (albeit small) screen with a capacitive touch interface on the back.  The screen itself is not driven by touch, but the buttons on the back are and they work very well.


Flip Side
Front View Flip
Power Button

 

The MinoHD comes in several "Designable" models as well as some that you can pretty much design yourself.  PureDigital sent us this fancy design and while it looks a little childish, it still has a fun feeling to it.  I wouldn't necessarily bring it out at a board meeting, but everywhere else, it's a good time.  The left side has the USB eject button while the right side hold the power button.

As previously mentioned the back contains the controls for zoom, volume, playback, recording, navigation and deleting videos.  Other than the red physical "record" button, all buttons are capacitive touch.  You get an idea of how small the Flip MinoHD is when you see the mini-HDMI port on the bottom next to the 1/4" tripod screw-hole and the USB ejected.  It's not a large unit at all. 

Flip Mino HD Back
Mini HDMI Out
 USB Ejected

 

Flip Ultra vs. Flip MinoHD Comparison Images:

Before we head on over and take a look at some features and specifications, I thought I'd show a few comparison images between the Flip Ultra and the Flip MinoHD.

Flip vs Flip Mino HD
Side Comparison
Front View

 

 

Features:

The following information has been pulled from the Flip Video Product page and reposted here for your convenience.  If you want all the details, please head on over here for the complete info. 

  • The MinoHD is the world's sleekest HD camcorder; this design features a unique brushed-metal front and soft, rounded edges
  • Slim, sleek design fits in any pocket or purse--perfect for shooting video on the go
  • Start recording within 3 seconds of power-up; simple user interface features one-touch recording, making HD video easier and more fun than ever
  • Captures 2 hours of stunning HD video on 8 GB of built-in memory; no additional memory needed
  • Internal lithium ion battery recharges through built-in USB arm; also recharges when connected to Flip Video Power Adapter sold separately (buy now)

  • Large 2.0" anti-glare display to play back and delete videos
  • Fast lens - great low or bright light results; 2x digital zoom
  • Convenient flip-out USB arm plugs directly into your PC or Mac to launch pre-loaded FlipShare™ software
  • FlipShare software makes it easy to email videos, edit individual clips, make custom movies, capture still-image snapshots, and upload video to Facebook™, MySpace™, YouTube™ and other sharing sites
  • HDMI™ output (mini-HDMI connector) makes it easy to watch video on your HDTV; Standard HDMI™ cables sold separately (buy now)
  • Records high-quality H.264 videos that are compatible with most video-playing applications, including Windows Media Player, QuickTime Player, and iTunes
  • Video: 16:9 widescreen, HD 720p (1280 x 720) at 30 frames per seconds (fps) progressive scan; recorded as MP4 files
  • "Child Safe" mode to prevent accidental deletions of clips
  • Backlit buttons for low-light recording and playback
  • Silent mode for recording in sensitive situations
  • Tripod mount fits any standard tripod
  • NOTE: when selected, designs, images and patterns will be printed on a white camcorder

Simple to Share

Pre-loaded FlipShare™ software for instant viewing, editing, one-click emailing, and online sharing:
  • Browse, playback, organize and archive your videos
  • Create movies with video clips, music and titles
  • Edit clips and create still-image snapshots from video
  • Instantly upload to Facebook™, MySpace™, YouTube™ and other video sharing sites
  • Share your videos privately using attachment-free emails or greetings cards (free and unlimited video sharing)
  • Create private Flip Channels to share your videos with groups of family and friends

 


Specifications:

Internal Memory: 8GB (2 hours)
Screen Size: 2.0" (transflective TFT)
Screen Resolution: 320 x 240 pixels
Video Resolution: 1280 x 720
Frame Rate: 30 frames per second (constant frame rate, progressive scan)
Video Bitrate: 9.0Mbps (average - auto adaptive algorithm)
Video Format: H.264 video compression, AAC audio compression, saves as MP4 file
Lens Type: Fixed Focus (0.8m to infinity)
Aperture: f/2.4 (fast lens for great results in low-light environments)
Zoom: Smooth multi-step 2x digital
Interface: 8 Touch-Sensitive Capacitive Buttons (Power, Play, Delete, Record and 4 way navigation)
Dimensions: 3.94" x 1.97" x 0.66" (H x W x D)
PC Connection: Built-in flip-out USB arm (up to 2.0 USB speed)
TV Out: HDMI™ Mini Connector. Standard HDMI™ cables sold separately (buy now)
Battery Life: Rechargeable lithium ion battery, charges on both USB and Flip Video power adapter (buy now).
Tripod Mount: Yes
Operating Systems: Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7
Mac OSX
Min. Requirements:

(PC) 3.0 GHz Intel Pentium 4 or faster processor, Windows XP SP2 with 512 MB of RAM, Vista or Windows 7 with 1 GB of RAM, and USB 2.0 port

(Mac) 1.66 GHz Intel Core Duo or faster processor, 1 GB of RAM, OS X Leopard 10.5 or Snow Leopard 10.6, and USB 2.0 port

Software:

Pre-loaded FlipShare™ software for instant viewing, editing, one-click emailing, and online sharing:

Browse, playback, organize and archive your videos

Create movies with video clips, music and titles

Edit clips and create still-image snapshots from video

Instantly upload to Facebook™, MySpace™, YouTube™ and other video sharing sites

Share your videos privately using attachment-free emails or greetings cards (free and unlimited video sharing)

Create private Flip Channels to share your videos with groups of family and friends

 

On the next page we'll cover some of the FlipShare software.  Nothing has changed much since the version we used a year ago however.


FlipShare Software:

I believe that one of the big features of the Flip MinoHD camera is the FlipShare software.  We live in a connected world but often it's not simple to share video clips and images with your friends.  Traditional cameras require that you offload the video onto your computer, use some third-party software in order to compress the video then you can upload it to YouTube, Facebook or just email it.  The FlipShare software takes care of pretty much everything and even gives you basic video editing all within four clicks or less.

 FlipShare Main
FlipShare Main

 

FlipShare is sort of like the Picasa for your Flip videos.  It organizes and indexes all of your videos and you can display them with details or just as thumbnails.  I prefer the view shown above as it give me more info on the length, size and date taken more easily.  The Flip MinoHD doesn't take pictures all by itself, but the software allows you to snag a video still from your footage.  This is easier than performing a print-screen from your favorite media player for sure, but the picture quality isn't impressive at a mere 640x480.

 Image Capture
Image Capture
 Online Uploads
Online Uploads

 

As mentioned previously, the ability to take a clip of video, or compile a video from several clips and upload them to YouTube or other sites is very simple with the FlipShare software.  Once you set up your account it is a two-click process and your video will be uploaded.

 

 

Creating a Movie or a DVD is also very simple - a four step process.  First, you'll want to grab the video clips you want in the final product.  Next, you can add titles, credits and even pimp out Flip by including them.  I'm glad to see that this box is unchecked by default.  Step 3 involves background music and you have a few choices - including your own MP3s.  Finally, you put a name on it and press "Create Movie".  If you are burning a DVD you'll have to use other software in order to encode it to play in a regular DVD player.  The FlipShare software just outputs a video file.  VSO-Software's ConvertXDVD does an excellent job of finishing the project by a simple drag-and-drop.  It's nice to see that one of the save options of your created masterpiece is in fact the Flip MinoHD camera.  One major drawback is that it wasn't able to create a DVD all by itself.

 Create Movie - Step 1
Create Movie - Step 1
Create Movie - Step 2
Create Movie - Step 2
   
 Create Movie - Step 3
Create Movie - Step 3
 Create Movie - Step 4
Create Movie - Step 4

 

On the last page we'll cover a bit of setup as well as usage and final video quality of the Flip MinoHD.

 

Setup & General Usage:

The setup process for the Flip MinoHD is very simple and will have to be done initially - and again if you decide to pick up a second language.  It basically involves setting the correct time and date as well as indicator sounds on button presses and a record light.  There is nothing else.  This makes it very easy for everyone to get started.  Flip video cameras are meant to be super simple and they nail it.  There are no manual exposure controls, white balance or night-vision modes.  Everything is automatic and while this meets the goals of simplicity it can be somewhat limiting in certain situations.

Screen & Buttons
Screen & Buttons
Language
Language Option
Date
Date
     
Tones
Buttons Tones
Recording Light
Recording Light
Delete Options
Delete Confirmaton

 

I like several things about the Flip MinoHD.  Its size and weight very minimal and this it makes it easy to take just about anywhere.  Also, with the built-in USB connection, you don't need to take extra cables with you. The built-in software is very handy as you can easily setup and use this on your laptop or desktop computer without downloading software or bringing the CD.   As we saw on the previous page, the software is easy to understand and use - even for those that have no experience with digital video.  The video quality is very good in good lighting conditions and the battery life is excellent.  You can fill up the camera easily on a single charge.

 

 

Just as with the Flip Ultra we looked at last July, the MinoHD has a couple of shortcomings.  There is still no optical zoom on the MinoHD, but the higher resolution video looks better when zoomed that the original SD version.  Although there isn't any image stabilization listed, reviewing the video of my wife walking while holding this little unit shows that she's either a lot better than she was a year ago or there is some form of image stabilization at work.

It's been a year since my wife has uploading anything to Youtube for me, and she managed to do so easily with the FlipShare software.  It works very well and preserves decent video quality even though it is very compressed.  For instance, the clip below was 139MB before we uploaded it.  On Youtube it is now a mere 31.9MB.

 

The video shows low light performance, overcast results and even some footage over 500 feet below ground at the Lewis & Clark Caverns.  We included clips that show microphone performance as well.  Overall, it should give you a good sample of how the MinoHD performs in different situations.

Sample "Still" Images:

Hiking Image
Fire Image
Face Paint Image

 

 

Final Thoughts:

The Flip MinoHD is a nice little upgrade from the Flip Ultra.  The addition of 720p 30fps video recording is very nice as is the mini-HDMI output on this camera.  The MinoHD 8GB version may be a bit smaller than the Flip Ultra, but it comes with better video quality, nice capacitive touch controls, smoother zoom, and the simplicity that goes with all Flip Video cameras.  I personally like the built-in battery, but if you are going on a video shooting marathon, a dead battery will leave you bound to a USB-port to charge the device to get back up and recording.  This could be an issue for some people.

 

Pros:

  • Super simple to use
  • Excellent video quality in good lighting conditions
  • Very good battery life
  • FlipShare software is very handy and simple

 

Cons:

  • No optical zoom
  • Artifacts in low light

 

Overall, we rate the Flip MinoHD 8GB unit pretty well and it is a worthy choice for anyone wanting to throw a video camera in their bag for a hiking trip, or to the kid's soccer game.  For $239, it's not a bad value.

BCCRating 

Silver

 

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to post them at the Comments link below.  We'd also like to thank PureDigital for sending the Flip MinoHD our way for the review.