The software then lets you easily trim your footage and upload it to YouTube, MySpace or AOL video, or to other sites via an uploader assistant. The software isn't the glossiest design, but again, it does its simple job with the minimum of fuss.
Video is recorded by a 1/4-inch VGA CMOS sensor. This is a decent size compared to compact cameras, which could be seen as the Ultra's closest competitors.
We weren't expecting great things from the Ultra, but we must admit we were pleasantly surprised. Video is somewhat rough and colours are a little bland, but the autofocus is capable and the results aren't bad at all. There's very little in the way of image artefacts, motion isn't too blurry and diagonal lines aren't too jagged.
The zoom is superfluous, but for hand-held shooting, the Ultra's lightweight is extremely portable. Low light shooting was possibly the biggest surprise. We tested the Flip at a live concert, where it coped well with the combination of bright lights and a darkened room.
The big stumbling block is the sound quality. It packs a mono microphone that suffers badly from wind noise and is muddy at high volumes. While this is fine for recording people socialising, detail is hard to pick out and it can't really be used for recording dialogue.
We're in two minds about the Flip Video Ultra. On the one hand, it's unbeatable for ad hoc, down-and-dirty, quick and easy shooting and uploading. But on the other it's fairly limited as to what you can do with your footage -- essentially, Internet-sharing only.
If you have any plans beyond YouTube or MySpace, similar money will get you high definition with most of today's compact cameras: the compacts in Casio Exilim range also have YouTube modes, as well as a greater range of video options and the option to take decent stills. We appreciate the Flip Ultra's simplicity and affordability, but unless you're a YouTube addict or a dedicated video microblogger, the possibilities are just too limited to justify even this low price.
Edited by Shannon Doubleday