Every six months or so, Flip Video releases another version of its YouTube-friendly, point-and-shoot mini-camcorders. Most recently, it was the MinoHD, which offered a convenient and simple option for shooting HD video.
Slated for release in late June, the company brings us two updated versions of the Flip Video Ultra: a higher-end model, the UltraHD, which shoots 720p high-definition video, and a less expensive Ultra, which shoots 640x480-pixel VGA video.
According to Amazon, the UltraHD will have a price tag around £160, while the revamped Ultra will cost around £130. We've reviewed the UltraHD model.
On the outside at least, not much has changed from Flip Video's first-generation Ultra. Still, there are a couple of notable differences. For starters, the transflective LCD on the back is bigger, measuring 51mm (2 inches), compared with 38mm (1.5 inches). The buttons are also bigger and the UltraHD, which will come in black or white, has a rubberised, matte finish that allows you to grip the device more easily.
The UltraHD comes with an AA-size NiMH rechargeable battery pack, which can be charged via the camcorder's trademark flip-out USB. The battery pack is a nice convenience, but there's a drawback: it's bulkier and heavier than the slim lithium-ion type built into the MinoHD. You'll get a bigger, heavier camcorder now -- the UltraHD weighs 172g versus 94g for the MinoHD. That said, the UltraHD is still pocket-friendly, just not as much as the MinoHD.
One thing we don't like about the new design is the chrome plastic trim on the sides of the unit. It looks good, but you'll spend too much time wiping off fingerprint smudges with the camcorder's soft, velvety pouch. We would have preferred brushed metal.
Another minor ding: there's an HDMI output on the side for HDTV connections, but no bundled cable.
Like the MinoHD, the UltraHD shoots 1,280x720-pixel video at 30fps, with H.264 compression and MPEG-4 encoding. The unit lacks a memory card slot, which is too bad, but its 8GB of internal memory allows you to record 2 hours of video. That should be ample recording capacity for most shooters, but if you're on holiday and want to film all the sights, it would help to stick a laptop in your rucksack to offload your video.