Prizefight (week of June 01)
Flip MinoHD vs. Kodak Zi8
Flip MinoHD vs. Kodak Zi8
Flip's MinoHD offers up simple controls, interface, and sharing software, making it a prime example of everything that's great about this device category. Kodak's Zi8, on the other hand, gives consumers more than basics, proving that pocket video cameras can be more than just point-and-shoots.
It takes more than specs to be a top-notch gadget, though, so we put these two minicamcorders head to head, with a trio of CNET editors judging the five-round contest. Let's head to the ring to see which product comes out on top.
Editors' note: The Prizefight scoring system is as follows: Each judge rates on a zero-to-five-point scale. At the end of each round, we will take an average of the three judges' scores. The final score for each will be an average of all five rounds.
Round 1: Design: Hot or not?In Round 1, we examine the physical design and ergonomics of each product. How does the slimmed-down second-generation MinoHD measure up to the Zi8?
|Flip Video MinoHD (second generation, silver)||4The MinoHD's compact body is an improvement from previous models, and the metal version classes it up even more.||4Still the sleekest-looking design for any pocket camcorder, there are basically two physical buttons. It's also the most pocketable.||5I've always given the MinoHD props for its compact size (it's truly a pocket camcorder). The metal version is definitely slicker and has a nicer feel.||4.3|
|Kodak Zi8 Pocket Video Camera (black)||3The look of the Zi8 is nice enough, but the creaky plastic body gives it a cheap feel.||3This is a lot chunkier, and there has got to be a way to trim it down some. Its plastic body feels cheaper, but its 2.5-inch LCD on the back is great for viewing.||4Kodak made a big design jump when it got to the Zi8. It's not as compact as the Mino, but it's attractively styled and I like the color choices.||3.3|
Round 2: Audio and video qualityFlip's HD minicamcorders record at a resolution of only 720p, whereas Kodak's Zi8 goes up to 1080p. Is the Zi8's quality good enough to give Kodak the advantage?
|Flip Video MinoHD (second generation, silver)||4Though it might be only 720p, the video is still a benchmark for the category. Outdoors or in, the video quality is very good.||4Its 720p video is touted as the best for handhelds. It has warmer colors, but they sometimes appeared a little oversatured to me. When I moved out of extremely different light settings, it handled the adjustment well and has better low-light performance.||4Flip has always managed to stay slightly ahead of the competition for video quality. Whereas Kodak has caught up in many respects--and offers 1080p capture--the Mino still delivers solid 720p video and good low-light performance.||4|
|Kodak Zi8 Pocket Video Camera (black)||5The Zi8 goes up to 1080p, but its capability to capture 720p clips at 60 frames per second makes a big difference if you're trying to capture action. It's what gives it the edge here.||4I love the options for 1080p and the720p/60 frames per second mode. Colors were subtly darker overall, and adjustment to light changes wasn't as good as the Flip, but the video quality is still solid. The higher-quality options make this a tie for me.||4The 1080p is a nice option, though chances are you'll mostly shoot in 720p (it's hard to edit and play back 1080p video). The Kodak has some advantages over the MinoHD, but it's pretty much a toss up.||4.3|
Round 3: FeaturesThe Zi8 is loaded with features compared with the MinoHD. There's something to be said for simplicity, though, and that's Flip's bread and butter.
|Flip Video MinoHD (second generation, silver)||3Flip's cameras have never been feature-packed, and the MinoHD is no different.||3Clean design, simple to use, but slim on features. Really slim. For most consumers that's good enough, but the geeks need a little more.||3Flips are all about simplicity. You're looking at point-and-shoot with minimal settings. That's a good thing for a lot of people.||3|
|Kodak Zi8 Pocket Video Camera (black)||5The Zi8 is nicely equipped with a great price-to-feature ratio.||5The expandable-memory slot, extensive video options, a macro focus, and an external mic option give it the edge here.||4I'm a big fan of the Kodak's Macro mode and external mic option, both of which are important extras. But I give it a deduction for not charging via its flip-out USB connector.||4.7|
Round 4: SoftwareSharing is nearly as important as shooting when it comes to pocket video cams. Which package offers the most flexibility and features?
|Flip Video MinoHD (second generation, silver)||5The FlipShare software continues to be the best available, making it incredibly easy to shoot and share.||5It's Mac and PC compatible. You get more publishing options for greeting cards, creating your own Flip Channel, and Facebook and YouTube integration. Editing is easy, and it's the best built-in software for pocket camcorders.||5I would like to see more-robust automatic-editing features (movie mix), but FlipShare is very user-friendly and I like the iPhone app tie-in.||5|
|Kodak Zi8 Pocket Video Camera (black)||4Kodak's EasyShare is nice and gets the job done, but it's not as intuitive as Flip's utility.||4Its software is compatible only with PCs, and features basic editing and Facebook and YouTube sharing. But you can easily copy the files over onto your Mac.||4Kodak's software is pretty solid, though not quite as solid as Flip's.||4|
Round 5: ValueThe MinoHD is more expensive, but you don't have to lay out more money for a memory card. Then again, the Zi8's card slot means storage is expandable. Do features win out over simplicity? Which packs more punch for the price?
|Flip Video MinoHD (second generation, silver)||4The MinoHD is a good investment, but it's missing key ingredients in terms of both capabilities and features.||4The 2 hours of recording space on its 8GB storage and its internal charging are nice, but the lack of cable accessories and its higher price point hurt it.||4The only thing I ding Flip for is not including an HDMI cable at this price. All in all, though, a decent value--and a product people really use once they buy it.||4|
|Kodak Zi8 Pocket Video Camera (black)||5Despite not having built-in memory, the Zi8 is definitely the better value and is a more complete package.||5No built-in memory, but it's more exandable, has 1080p video as an option, and Kodak includes an HDMI cable, composite video cable, and an external mic jack at a lower price.||4For some people, based on the feature set they're looking for, the Zi8 will be the better deal. But in my book, the pluses and minuses of the two products cancel each other out, and I really think it's a tie when it comes to value.||4.7|
The winner is...
Kodak Zi8 Pocket Video Camera (black) (4.2 pts)
Flip Video MinoHD (second generation, silver) (4.1 pts)
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