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I flipped, for the Flip UltraHD

My friend was a little confused about what she should buy for her brother's birthday, which was just a day away. Since Noah is a gadget freak, Sarah walked into a nearby electronics shop and bought this little cute camcorder because it looked like a cool gadget; and it also claimed to be 'YouTube friendly'.

This new breed of mini camcorders are primarily aimed at users who would like to shoot simple videos for sharing via YouTube and the camcorders can take decent quality pictures as well. Ok, the image quality might not be all that great, but certainly better than the average phone-cam and the videos are somewhat better than those taken by most digital cameras. Where these camcorders score, is that they make uploading to YouTube as painless as possible.

Coming to the Flip UltraHD, the unit has a basic lens system, with no optical zoom. The CMOS sensor captures 720p resolution video in H.264 standard at 30 frames per second, encoded in the MPEG-4 format. Sound capture is through a stereo microphone system. It has a 1.5-inch display and integrated speakers. While there is also a HDMI output thrown in, no HDMI cable is included in the package.

The Flip UltraHD comes with 8 GB of integrated flash memory, which is a pity since there is no scope for expansion. No worries though, 8 Gigs should work fine for 90% of users; it allows you to record up to 2 hours of video. Just do some regular housekeeping and keep transferring all clips to your computer to make space available on the Flip.

The unique built in USB plug saves you from having to carry around a cable. It also means that you just have to plug into the nearest USB port to charge the AA size NiMH batteries that the unit runs on. Need more power, and no USB port in sight? Simple, just use standard Alkaline AA batteries to continue filming.

Using the Flip UltraHD is a breeze, first of all it has very minimalistic controls and there is a full auto mode to take care of everything for you. The video quality is quite appreciable, especially since there is no optical stabilization built in. Performance is quite decent in normal conditions, both under outdoor and in artificial lighting conditions. Low-light performance is also acceptable.

For the kind of user these devices are aimed at, they work just fine. Easy to slip into the pocket, take out and shoot a clip, connect and upload to YouTube. If you fit the description, the Flip UltraHD may fit your bill. And yes, Noah liked it a lot!

Sat, 29 Aug 2009 18:11:38 +0000

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