Link to Manufacturer: Flip
Flip has become famed for its compact, handheld camcorders with their unique USB flip-out design. At the time of review this camera will set you back around £110 or $172. Now, let’s take a detailed look at what could be set to be a very popular Christmas gift. The Ultra HD is the latest model in the Ultra range; the specifications are as follows:
Resolution: 1280 x 720
Frames per second: 50
H.264 video compression, AAC audio compression, MP4 files format
Fixed Focus Lens
Included Rechargeable battery (with 8gb model) 3xAAA batteries can be used
4.16” x 2.11“ x 0.88” 4.5 oz
The Ultra HD comes in a very slick, well presented box.
Included is the Flip itself, some user manuals and warranty information, soft carry pouch, Lithium-ion rechargeable battery and a carry strap.
This is a decent bundle. An excellent inclusion is the soft carry pouch meaning you don’t have to go and spend extra. Another good inclusion is the rechargeable battery (note: the rechargeable battery isn’t included with the 4gb model). Unfortunately, a mini-HDMI cable is not included so if you want to hook the Flip up to your TV you will have to buy that cable separately.
The video where I unbox the Flip to show you its contents can be found here:
As you can see from the pictures the camera has the flip out USB stick using the slider. It features a speaker. On the bottom we have a tripod mount, mini HDMI port, a ‘Flip Port’ (for adding accessories) and a latch to lock the back on.
The camera has a soft, matte feeling which is excellent for gripping onto the camera while feeling really nice to hold. This coating doesn’t smudge and will make the camera comfortable when filming longer clips.
The absence of a SD card slot will probably tell you that the Flip Ultra HD line has built in memory. The benefit of this is it can work out of the box without having to purchase a memory card. However, on the flip side (no pun intended), this means you are stuck with the set amount of memory. This shouldn’t be an issue for most as you can just transfer your clips off the camera onto your PC or Mac.
The small LCD screen is great for quickly checking you captured what you wanted and is surprisingly crisp. Being so small you will want to transfer your videos to your computer or TV to see them properly.
Another feature of the Flip is how easy it is to use. There are 7 buttons on the front each which is blatantly obvious to its function. To record, playback and delete is fantastically simple. This simple design makes video-taking quick and easy. A slight problem with this is that you cannot tinker with the settings, but seeing as this is just point and shoot advanced settings were not expected. Overall, the simplicity of the user-interface means even a 5 year old could work this camera.
The software included on the Flip which you can use to upload your pictures from your camera is also really simple and easy to use.
Now on to the main feature, the quality that this camera produces. The Ultra HD shoots in a resolution of 1280x 720 – a resolution of 720p. It also shoots 50 frames-per-second (fps). This means it should take very high quality video capable of capturing fast action without blurring.
I set to test out a number of features: how good the quality looked, image-stabilisation, how it handled action shots, low light footage, audio quality and some detailed up close video.
The video quality looks fantastic and is ideal for uploading high-quality YouTube videos and home-movies. The video is very crisp and defined with good colouration.
Image stabilisation is a new addition to the Ultra HD and is very welcome as footage taken on handheld camcorders. It does help smooth out some wobbles, but won’t be able to cope with huge wobbles. It also helps iron out the bumps while walking around.
The action shots with the 50fps are really good. The Ultra HD managed to capture all the detail without blurring at all. This is great for filming your kids running around or sports events.
Low-light footage isn’t fantastic on this camera; occasionally looking slightly grainy, but it is definitely acceptable. But, what do you expect from a £100, handheld camera?
The Ultra HD uses a built in microphone so obviously the audio won’t be studio quality. I found the audio to be very good for an integrated microphone even capturing sounds such as footsteps in the frost. Voices sound clear but perhaps slightly altered from true life. The Ultra HD cannot accept a normal stereo microphone although it is possible to attach a special microphone through the Flip Port. (The Blue Microphones ‘Mikey’ is set to launch in early 2011.
As detailed, up-close shots are my most frequent I was very impressed by the Flip. It has exceptional quality close-ups showing great detail and no loss in quality.
My quality tests can be found here:
In conclusion, the Flip Ultra HD offers fantastic image quality at a fantastic price. Flip has really built upon their innovative design by adding the new features. The Flip is a fantastic handheld camcorder that delivers quality you would expect of a more expensive device. It is everything you want from a handheld camcorder and therefore is a fantastic gift for Christmas. Because of this, I am awarding the Flip Ultra HD my Silver Award!