I have been looking for an easy way to record short videos on the fly without having to carry around a big camcorder, which I have and rarely use. I had hoped to be able to use my iPhone but applications like Qik are taking some time to make it to the iTunes Store.
I started to hear things about various mini all-digital cameras and began to look at them. The cameras from Flip seemed to be drawing a lot of attention and with the introduction of the high-definition version, it seemed like a good option. A side-by-side comparison by Andy Ihnatko of the Flip MinoHD vs. its closest competitor, the Kodak Zi6 really helped get an idea what to expect.
I figured I would give it a try, ordered from Amazon the new Flip MinoHD and had the new toy in a couple days.
Upon opening the box the first thing that made an impression on me was how small this thing is, about the size of my iPhone. It is thicker and a bit narrower than the iPhone which makes it a bit nicer in my hands. It arrived with a soft carry pouch and a cable to connect to your television. The box is very similar to the one my iPhone arrived in.
You can see these two great devices side-by-side and see how the MinoHD compares in size to the iPhone. The image was taken on a bit of an angle, so the Flip appears a bit bigger than it actually is.
The back of the MinoHD is pretty simplistic, much like an Apple product design. There are very few features here, just enough to get the job done. The <> and +/- that can be seen are not button but function more by touch with is a nice feature.
One real nice feature of the MinoHD is the USB adapter built in, so no cables to carry around and lose track of. The USB adapter simply folds down and is concealed when not in use. Yes, this is another really nice piece of design. Charging of the internal battery is done via the USB port as well, making the camera very self-sufficient.
There is a nice piece of software that also comes with the MinoHD. It takes care of downloading the videos, playing video as well as being able to create a snapshot, movie and a DVD from the video taken. The best part, the software comes on the camera so when plugging it into any Windows or Apple computer through a USB port the software can be installed and used right away.
I took this :45 second video from my front porch to get an idea of the quality I could expect from this tiny device. I am happy with the video quality but my shaking hand does not add to it. I uploaded it to Vimeo, which just worked.
The snapshot feature of the software lets the user capture a snapshot anywhere during video playing. The quality is better than any I have tried to get from my camcorder.
This was just a first look at this camera and I am very happy with so far. I don’t have an expensive high-definition camera to compare it to and I don’t have a lot of video experience. This purchase was to have some fun and upload some videos to Vimeo, YouTube or whatever.
I think the design is really nice and simple and can be compared to device designs like those of Apple. The minimalistic controls interface gives someone without much experience the ability to take decent videos right out of the box. This is also possible because the camera’s battery came changed.
I will report back as I use the camera over the coming weeks and post some more videos, hopefully with much more interesting content. In the meantime, if anyone has any particular questions about the camera, post them as a comment on the blog and I will do my best to reply.