Hardware &Reviews Wes Novack on 21 Apr 2009

Flip Mino HD review

Flip Mino HD review

Pure Digital Technologies Inc was kind enough to send us a review unit of The Flip Mino HD, “The world’s smallest HD camcorder”. To prepare for this review, we tested out the pocket-sized Flip Mino HD over the last few months.

Pure Digital has revolutionized the home video camcorder market by creating simple to operate, compact digital camcorders that anyone can use. Over 1 million Flip camcorders have been sold so far and the number grows monthly.

Before we dig into the review, let’s take a look at the product details found on the manufacturers website.

Flip Mino HD review: Product Features & Specifications

Recording Time: 60 min.
Internal Memory: 4GB
MSRP: $229.99
Designable: Yes
Colors: Black, Grey
LCD Size: 1.5″ (diagonal)
LCD Type: Transflectiv TFT (for bright daylight)
Video Resolution: 1280 x 720
Sensor: 1/4.5″ HD CMOS Sensor 2.2µm pixels
Light Sensitivity: Ultra low-light sensitivity (>1.4 V/lux-sec) with automatic low light detection
Video Compression: Pure Digital Video Engine 3.0
Frame Rate: 30 fps (constant frame rate, progressive scan)
Average Bitrate: 9.0Mbps (auto-adaptive algorithm)
Video Format: H.264 video compression, AAC audio compression, MP4 file format
White Balance & Exposure: Automatic white balance and black level calibration, Automatic exposure control with dynamic exposure compensation
Lens Type: Fixed Focus (1.5m to infinity)
Aperture: f/2.4 (fast lens for great results in low-light environments)
Zoom: Smooth multi-step 2x digital
Battery type: Internal Lithium-Ion Rechargeable
Battery life: Up to 2 hrs of use between charges
Charge time: Via computer USB port – approx 3 hrs, Via Power Adapter – approx 2 hrs
Interface: Touch-sensitive capacitive buttons
Power-up Time: Less than 4 seconds
Power Saver (Auto Shut-Down): Yes
Play All Function: Yes
Pause, FF/Rewind: Yes
Set Date/Time Function: Yes
Dimensions (H x W x D): 3.94″ x 1.97″ x 0.63″
Weight: 3.3oz
PC Connection: Built-in flip-out USB arm (up to USB 2.0 speed)
Speaker: Built-in speaker
Microphone: Built-in, wide-range, omni-directional
TV-Out: NTSC (cable included)
Tripod Mount: Yes
Software: Built-in Flip Video Program
Included Accessories: Soft Case, TV cable, wrist strap, quickstart guide

Flip Mino HD review: Inside the box

Next, we take a look at what’s inside the box. The Flip Mino HD comes delivered in a sleek box packaging that includes the Flip Mino HD itself, a lanyard strap, a carrying bag that doubles as a lens cloth, a quick start guide, a warranty insert and a set of standard yellow/red/white audio/video cables for connecting to a TV.

flip-mino-hd-review-inside-the-box

Below are two different photos of the Flip Mino itself, with its signature flip out USB plug protruding from the top right of the device in the image on the right.

flip-mino-hd-review-pics

The Flip camcorders get their name from this built in USB plug, which flips out after you hit a switch on the top left side of the device.

Flip Mino HD review: Video examples

For the videos embedded in this review, we used video recorded at two different locations. The first was outdoors, at the Matsuri Festival of Japan, at Heritage park in downtown Phoenix, AZ. The second was indoors, at the Twestival Phoenix, which took place at the Half Moon Sports Grill in Phoenix. These videos can help you get a glimpse into the audio and video quality of the Flip Mino HD camcorder. Please take note that the Vimeo web service compresses the video, so the source video files are actually an even higher quality.

Flip Mino HD review: Matsuri Festival of Japan

Flip Mino HD review: Twestival Phoenix

Drawing from our experience with the Flip Mino HD over the last few months, we would like to wrap this review up with our list of positives, negatives and some final thoughts.

Flip Mino HD review Positives

Low cost HD camcorder
720p widescreen HD recording
Ultra compact size
Simple to use
Good Audio & Video quality
Integrated USB plug removes the need for cables
Tripod compatible
Lens cloth carry bag included
Simple editing & upload software included
User customizable graphics

Flip Mino HD review Negatives

No optical zoom
No image stabilization
No card slot for expanded storage
No component cables included (for HD output to TV)
Cannot be used as a webcam
No DVD Video authoring or burning software included

Flip Mino HD review Final thoughts

The Flip Mino HD camcorder has quickly become one of our favorite gadgets. Due to the compact size, it is easy to take the Flip along with you just about anywhere you go. Just drop it in your pocket and pop it out when you’re ready to capture some video. The audio & video quality are very good, vastly superior to similar compact HD camcorders made by Aiptek (we also own an Aiptek A-HD).

The few negatives that we found with the Flip Mino HD are far outweighed by its positives and its low price. The Flip Mino HD is perfect for the casual video maker, the video blogger or anyone else looking for a compact, highly portable camcorder. We can easily give the Flip Mino HD our recommendation.

Flip Mino HD Availability

At the time of this review, the Flip Mino HD can be purchased for $209 at Amazon or straight from the manufacturer at TheFlip.com.

Videos were edited using Pinnacle Studio 12 software on Windows XP.

If you’re looking for more Flip action, we also recently reviewed the Flip Mino camcorder (non-HD version).

5 Responses to “Flip Mino HD review”

  1. on 20 Jun 2009 at 11:02 AM 1.Todd Charske said …

    I have the Flip HD and I’m having a hard time burning to a DVD. Does it require HD DVD’s or can any old blank DVD work?

  2. on 21 Jun 2009 at 1:10 PM 2.Wesley Novack said …

    You can burn Flip Mino HD video files to DVD’s as a DVD data disc.

    In order to make a DVD that is compliant with most standalone DVD players you have to have a program that converts the video into a DVD Video compliant format (.VOB files). The included FlipShare program can create DVD’s, but I haven’t tested it thus far.

    In the FlipShare program, click on the “Create” Drop Down menu and then choose DVD.

  3. on 23 Feb 2012 at 8:15 AM 3.Todd Charske said …

    Thanks. There cams out there that have these programs with the cam. Anyway just saying it’s an extra cost if you want this.

    – Todd Charske

  4. on 23 Feb 2012 at 8:21 AM 4.Todd Charske said …

    Is it better – costs and quality – to buy one that already has these capabilities? I like having the videos on dvd!

  5. on 23 Feb 2012 at 8:57 AM 5.Wesley Novack said …

    Wow! Continuing the conversation 3 years later! 🙂

    Looks like you’re right Todd, FlipShare does not support DVD authoring nor DVD burning according to their knowledge base articles:
    http://www6.nohold.net/CiscoFlip/ukp.aspx?pid=2&app=vw&vw=1&login=1&docid=ce5bc5965ec74f31b9c07db2c92dc655_KB20616_EN_v1.xml

    http://www6.nohold.net/CiscoFlip/ukp.aspx?pid=2&app=vw&vw=1&login=1&docid=95cf110d0f9b42fead37d7e09286a900_Getting_to_Know_FlipShare_Upgrades.xml

    That seems to be a huge negative! I’ll update the review with that in the negatives list.

    Due to this, you’d have to find a program that can author MP4 files into DVD video format. Most of these authoring programs have DVD burning built in.

    If you’re using Windows XP, you can try Windows Movie Maker. Windows Vista or Windows 7, try Windows Live Movie Maker. For Mac, try iMovie. If those don’t work, you’ll have to find a 3rd party app like the Nero suite that can author DVD’s from MP4 files.

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