Editors' note: You may have heard that Cisco will no longer be producing the Flip camcorder products. However, as long as they're still available on the market, you may want to consider buying one anyway. If so, here are some issues you should consider, and if not, here are some alternatives.
Cisco's Flip Video is facing more competition than ever from camera and camcorder manufacturers as well as from multifunction devices like the iPod Touch and a bevy of smartphones. With that in mind, you might expect the latest version of its UltraHD mini camcorder to be oozing with innovative features. That's not the case, yet it's still one of the best pocket video cameras you'll find.
The UltraHD now comes in 1-hour and 2-hour versions, though there's more than just recording time that separates the models. The $149.99 1-hour version is basically the same as 2009's UltraHD, but with a smaller storage capacity. The UltraHD 2 Hour (2H) gets all the new features including improvements to video quality and a proprietary port for adding third-party accessories made specifically for Flip's cams. In the end, you get your money's worth for the $50 extra you'll pay for the 2-hour version.
However, if you aren't interested in accessories and would like things such as a mic or headphone jack, expandable memory, more than one shooting resolution, or the capability to shoot still photos or play with creative video filters, this and the rest of Flip's lineup are not for you. The camera's beauty lies in its simplicity: turn it on and press the big red button. That, combined with great embedded sharing software, good battery life, and excellent video, are why Flip probably isn't going away anytime soon.
|Key specs||Flip UltraHD 2 Hour|
|Dimensions (HWD)||4.2 x 2.1 x 0.9 inches|
|Weight (with battery and media)||4.5 ounces|
|Storage capacity, type||8GB, internal flash|
|Resolution, sensor size, type||1.6 megapixels, 1/4.5-inch CMOS|
|LCD size, resolution||2-inch LCD, 76K dots|
|Lens||Fixed focus, f2.4|
|File format (video, audio)||H.264 video, AAC audio (.MP4)|
|Resolution||1,280x720 at 60fps (progressive)|
|Recording time at highest quality||2 hours|
|Image stabilization type||Electronic|
|Battery type, rated life||Lithium ion rechargeable, 2 hours; AAA (3)|
With the exception of a small Cisco logo on its back at the bottom, the UltraHD 2H's body follows the same look as the previous model, but is smaller; in size (and attractiveness) it falls between the bulky, entry-level UltraHD 1 Hour (1H) and the upscale MinoHD. It's available in matte black and white versions, or can be personalized when purchased on Flip's Web site. On the black version, the front, top, and bottom have a suede texture to them, which gives you a better grip than shiny plastic would, and the sides are a matte silver plastic so you don't end up with fingerprints all over when you hold it.
On front is the lens flanked by a mic and a red recording indicator light. On the right side is a small power button, and on the left is a switch for flipping out the USB connector. On the bottom are a threaded tripod mount and a lock for securing the battery compartment cover. Between them is a Micro-HDMI port butted up against another proprietary port, which together forms the new FlipPort.