Flip minoHD camcorder review – I love it!

by Lee Hopkins on October 8, 2009 · 12 comments

in bcr pod/vidcast,reviews,tools,video

flip mino hd I’ve been given a Flip minoHD camcorder by the very kind folks at Cisco and so I’ve been road testing it for the last four days. Verdict? I love it!

I’ve included some test videos below that you can look at if you are bored, but the upshot is this:

  • If you are looking for a camcorder that you can whip out and instantly start filming your friends and family with, this is it.
  • This is the sort of camcorder you take to barbeques, to picnics, to weddings and birthdays, where you want to catch the spontaneous moments.
  • This is the sort of camcorder you want when the video camera on your mobile phone isn’t worth the menu-and-quality hassle.

Ok – a table of FORs and AGAINSTs…

FOR AGAINST
  1. Is incredibly light in your pocket
  2. Is ‘instant on and start filming’
  3. Has inbuilt ‘beeps’ and ‘bops’ to let you know if it’s turned on or not, and if it’s recording
  4. Has a VERY clear monitor screen so you can see what you are filming and clearly see your playbacks
  5. Has internal speakers so you can hear what was said when you playback your files
  6. Is less than $300 so you aren’t going to weep buckets and sell the Kingswood (“Not the Kingswood!”) if you lose it or drop it in the river/ocean
  7. The inbuilt editing suite is simple enough that even my mother could (eventually) get the hang of it
  8. The inbuilt editing suite is quick enough so that you can shoot and upload to YouTube within a few minutes via your laptop and a wireless or 3G connection
  9. You can plug your Flip into your standard tv (the standard red, white and yellow plugged cable is included in the box) and watch your cinematic genius in glorious sound and colour
  1. No socket for an external mic
  2. No ‘anti-shake’ software – you see every bump in the road
  3. The inbuilt editing suite is VERY basic
  4. The inbuilt editing suite is very slow when processing files
  5. The default files straight off the Flip are mp4 – make sure any more advanced editing software you might want to use can handle this format, otherwise you will have to convert the files to wmv with the Flip software, which is not a fast process
  6. You need to adjust some of your tv settings if you want to watch the videos direct from the Flip and your tv is a high-def one

As you can see, the ‘FOR’s outweigh the ‘AGAINST’s — and that’s just after four days. I’m sure if I played around with it for longer as part of the review process I could find even more things to love about it.

But each time I thought about one of the ‘AGAINST’s I kept coming back to the thought: “It’s a sub-$300 camera, Hopkins, get a grip!”

But even as it is, I LOVE IT and am definitely not sending this back to them at the end of the review period! I will become my default ‘car-cam’ recorder for my BetterComms vidcasts, because the sound quality is pretty darn good at 60km/hr around town — it’s only when I hit the freeway and start clocking 100km/hr that the background noise starts intruding. At 60km/hr I can record and not have to worry about adding another hour to my editing time by having to import and align a separate audio recording from my lapel mic.

Here’s my final summation of my views, quite naturally in video format:

 

Other videos:
A semi-review shot outside – it shows that if you get too far away from the camera the mic can’t really perform at its best

 

The 30 minute video I mentioned is right below – a collection of tests and trials, indoors and outside, just looking at some of the features. The movie is put together with the Flip’s editing software. You’ll notice that the zoom isn’t very strong, nor is the wide-angle particularly wide, nor is the Flip editing software a replica of high-end Adobe software. But what do you want for under $300 when you are getting HD quality and ‘instant on’???

Play

 

Just after the courier dropped it off, I opened the Flip box and took a peek at what’s inside.

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