Pure Digital Flip Ultra
Flip! Its so tiny that it would be easy to mistake this mini camcorder
for a slimline digital camera.
The shrink sized, stripped-down video recorder has already taken
13 percent of the camcorder market, according to its maker, Pure
Digital. It sells on size, shape, ruggedness, low price and one-button
Digital Flip Ultra
entered the market around the end of Q3 2007, with improved features
than previous versions:
- Better looking form factor
- Slightly improved video quality
- Greater capacity
- Tripod mount
- Range of colors - white, black, orange, pink and green.
Since the very first day it launched, it has rocketed to being
the best-selling camcorder on Amazon.com .
Flip form and feature range has been has been reduced to the absolute
point and film essentials. Turn it on, and its ready to start filming
after about a 2 second warm up.
Simply, press the red button once to record and once to stop.
Press Play to review the video, and Trash to delete a clip.
Form & Function
Screen Size - 1.5 inches
Resolution - TV resolution (640 by 480 pixels,
30 frames per second). Offers softer images than you get with a
standard sized camcorder.
Video and audio quality is surprisingly good --
not as sharp as a tape camcorder or digital still cameras, but far
better than cellphone video.
Low-light abilities - exceeds even $1,000 camcorders.
The video is grain-free, and recorded dim scenes actually look brighter
than they looked to your naked eye.
USB Jack - when you are ready to offload your
footage, a one button click and the USB jack pops out at 90 degrees
to the camera body. No cable needed - just slip the FLip USB jack
directly into your computer! When you do, Flip icons appear on the
screen. Just open the folder and play your video clips, copy them
to your hard-drive and edit in most standard editing programs.
Note: Requires a one-time installation of a special codec to translate
the video format.
Power Supply - runs on a pair of AA batteries
(Alkalines last 2 hours; rechargeable AA's manage about 5.)
- Still photos
- Zoom - no optical zoom, instead comes with 2X digital zoom
- Memory - onboard memory, no tapes, disks or memory card, so
you need to offload after 30 - 60 minutes of footage depending
upon the model.
- No menus
- No Settings
- No Video Light
- No optical Viewfinder
- No special Effects
- No headphone jack
- No high definition
- No lens cap
Video Editing Program
The Flip comes with a very basic video-editing program for both
Mac or Windows. It lets you:
- Shorten scenes
- Rearrange scenes
- Delete frames
- Upload reduced-quality versions to YouTube or AOL Video
- Email scaled-down versions
- Add cross fades and music, to produce a fast-cutting MTV like
Export is limited to Windows version
The Mac version of this program lets you rearrange your clips for
playback, but you can't export the result, so you are better off
using iMovie right on your computer. Flip video works well with
iMovie 6, although not iMovie '08.
Attach the Flip directly to your TV using an included cable -
the video is not DVD quality, but it's fine standard-TV quality.
Take your camera to a vendor that will convert footage into a
DVD for around $13.
$150 or $180 models
So why is this basic filming device so popular - its easy and its
fun. Any video camcorder owner will tell you there is a learning
curve to go through to get the best out of the video recorder. Instead,
the Flip offers no learning curve, and no complex settings. Its
the video equivalent to the basic point and click digital camera.
And the uptake backs up claims by many that the electronics market
is getting over complicated. No longer can you:
- Quickly get to an address book or write a text message on a
cellphone without going through a complex menu.
- Setting up a stereo or DVD player is beyond most people over
- Digital camera menus offer too much choice.
Not all of the population wants a big choice range - they want
easy to find and easy to operate. And don't forget that running
all those extra features drains more memory and power.
The Flip goes where you go, to capture those special moments. And
since most people only share their videos via YouTube, picture quality
is not such a big issue.
The end story - the Flip definately has limitations, but it purity
in ease of use and surprising quality of both picture and sound
betray its incredibly affordable price.
Check here for the latest prices of the Pure
Digital Flip Ultra
If you want to judge the success of any electronics device, just
look at how fast the imitators copy it. Flip imitators include:
- Thomson licensed version of the FLip, called the RCA Small Wonder
EZ201 sells for $100. Its an enhanced version with a flip-out
screen, 30 minutes of storage and a memory-card expansion slot.
- Sony's Net Sharing Cam NSC-GC1 is similarly shaped, but has
a larger flip-out screen, card slot and rechargeable battery but
no built in storage. Sells for around $150.
Just remember however, when you start adding enhancements, you
start adding complications and more moving parts to go wrong.