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Flip UltraHD review

Seth Barton
13 Aug 2009
Expert Reviews Best Buy Logo
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
148
inc VAT

With great-looking video and an HDMI output, this is our new favourite mini camcorder.

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Specifications

1/4.5in CMOS sensor, 1,280x720, 0.0x zoom, 170g

Flip was largely responsible for kick-starting the popularity of easy-to-use mini camcorders.

Being both pocket-sized and cheap, these can be taken almost anywhere, including environments where you wouldn't want to risk a more expensive model, such as the beach, for example. This UltraHD is the latest flip model, and is essentially an HD update of the original Ultra. It's the first Flip with an HDMI output, so you can watch your HD movies on your HD TV.

Size is a major consideration for these take-anywhere camcorders, and the UltraHD is chunkier and heavier than some we've seen, although it's still small enough to slip into a trouser pocket. The controls are incredibly simple, and it has the usual built-in editing software with easy YouTube uploads. It comes with a rechargeable battery pack, which charges via the flip-out USB connector and keeps things nice and simple. Better still, you can fit a pair of standard AA batteries in an emergency.

The battery lasted for well over two hours in our tests. This is more than enough, as the built-in 8GB of flash memory will store only around two hours of HD video. Video is shot at a resolution of 1,280x720 and compressed using H.264 at 9Mbit/s. There's no option to shoot SD video instead.

We compared the results directly with Kodak's aggressively priced Zi6. In bright light, there's very little difference in picture quality between the two. The Flip appeared a touch sharper, with slightly finer details. We found the UltraHD dealt with very bright conditions better, as the video looked a little washed out on the Zi6. Even bigger differences showed up under poor lighting conditions; the UltraHD's video had less picture noise and colours looked brighter, despite both camcorders using the same sized 1/4.5in CMOS sensor.

There are more significant differences in design. The Zi6 is slimmer and wider, with a slightly larger display. Despite this, we prefer the UltraHD's much brighter and crisper screen. The Zi6 also comes with rechargeable batteries, but these must be placed in the supplied charger, rather than simply charging via the USB port. The Zi6 has no built-in memory, but can use big 16 or 32GB SDHC memory cards, but you'll need spare batteries to make full use of all that extra storage, as the supplied rechargables will only last for two hours. For most HD TV owners, the UltraHD's HDMI output is far more convenient than the five phono plugs required to hook-up the Zi6.

The UltraHD is undoubtedly the better of the two, though for around £50 more you'd expect it to be. We think it's worth spending the extra money, as you'll definitely appreciate its USB charging, HDMI output and superior video quality. Flip's MinoHD shoots identical-looking video, but is smaller still. However, it's more expensive, can store only one hour of footage and has no video output, making the UltraHD a better choice for most people.

Basic Specifications

Rating*****

Recording

Optical zoom0.0x
Digital zoom2x
Sensor1/4.5in CMOS
Sensor pixels2,200,000
Widescreen modenative
LCD screen size2.0in
Viewfinder typenone
Video lampNo
Video recording formatH.264
Video recording mediaflash memory
SoundAAC 48KHz mono
Video resolutions1,280x720
Maximum image resolutionN/A
Memory slotnone
Mermory supplied8GB internal
Flashno

Physical

Digital inputs/outputsUSB
Analogue inputs/outputsHDMI
Other connectionsnone
Battery type2.4V 2,100mAh
Battery life2h 17m
Battery charging positioncamcorder
Size106x52x23mm
Weight170g

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB
Price£148
Supplierhttp://www.dabs.com
Detailswww.theflip.com

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