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Flip MinoHD review

Seth Barton
22 Apr 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
170
£170

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Specifications

1/4.5in CMOS sensor, 1,280x720, 0.0x zoom, 93g

We reviewed Flip's original Mino camcorder in What's New, Shopper 254.

It's designed for making videos for uploading to YouTube and other video-sharing sites. At first glance the MinoHD looks identical, with the same tiny dimensions and tough but stylish casing, and it's just as easy to use. The big difference - in fact, pretty much the only difference - is that the new model shoots HD video.

The original Mino shot web-friendly 640x480 video at a bit rate of 4Mbit/s, making it ideal for quick YouTube uploads. The MinoHD shoots 720p video, 1,280x720 pixels, at a far higher bit rate of 9Mbit/s. Surprisingly, there are no video quality options; the MinoHD shoots only in HD. Its 4GB of built-in flash memory allows for around an hour of shooting.

Uploading video from the MinoHD is simple. The new FlipShare software is stored in the flash memory. You simply plug in the MinoHD via its pop-out USB connector, run a quick installer, and then you can trim your videos, stitch scenes together and add music. As well as uploading your movie, you can send a video greetings card or burn it to DVD. There's far more detail in the video than before, but the switch to HD does raise other issues.

At present, HD support from video-sharing sites is rather patchy. YouTube does allow HD uploads, but this is under trial. It can't guarantee that uploaded videos will always be available in this format, though we didn't have any problems during testing. Other websites, such as www.vimeo.com, guarantee HD uploads. The MinoHD isn't ideal for watching videos at home, as it can't directly output HD video to a TV. Its composite AV output provides only a low-quality standard definition signal.

The MinoHD is in direct competition with Kodak's HD-capable Zi6. Its palette is far more realistic, leaving the Zi6 looking oversaturated and a little garish. Slightly more fine detail is apparent, too. In low light, the MinoHD has less picture noise and fewer compression artefacts.

The MinoHD may shoot slightly better video, but the Zi6 has other advantages. It has a macro mode for shooting close-up subjects, while the MinoHD focuses at a minimum of around one metre. The Zi6 has a larger display for framing your shots, although the whole device is bigger as a result. The Zi6 has no built-in memory, but can take SDHC cards up to 16GB in size. There's an option to switch to 640x480, too, to conserve storage space. Best of all, the Zi6 has a component video output for HD-playback on your TV.

There's a lot to like about the MinoHD, particularly its compact dimensions, good-quality video and great software. It's expensive, though, being £65 more than the Zi6 yet lacking many of that camcorder's features. It's still a good buy if you're looking for something slick and stylish, but most people will be better off with Kodak's cheaper alternative.

Basic Specifications

Rating****

Recording

Optical zoom0.0x
Digital zoom2x
Sensor1/4.5in CMOS
Sensor pixels2,200,000
Widescreen modenative
LCD screen size1.5in
Viewfinder typenone
Video lampNo
Video recording formatH.264
Video recording mediaflash memory
SoundAAC 44KHz mono
Video resolutions1,280x720
Maximum image resolutionN/A
Memory slotnone
Mermory supplied4GB internal
Flashno

Physical

Digital inputs/outputsUSB
Analogue inputs/outputsA/V out
Other connectionsnone
Battery typeN/A
Battery life1h 33m
Battery charging positionN/A
Size100x50x16mm
Weight93g

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB
Price£170
Supplierhttp://www.firebox.com
Detailswww.theflip.com

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