Shooting and transferring videos to your computer or uploading them to YouTube and other video-sharing sites remains a breeze. Flip Video definitely gets simplicity right. You hit the big red button to record and the play button to play back videos.
There is a 2x digital zoom onboard -- although you won't want to use it -- but nothing in the way of manual or advanced settings or even a still-capture mode. You can pull stills from your video using the software package that's built into the unit.
For the UltraHD's target audience, having fewer choices and menus to toggle through is good. It's also good that Flip Video's software supports both Windows and Mac. It offers basic editing features, but you can always import your video into another editing package, including Apple's iMovie.
The UltraHD has some of the best video we've seen recently from one of these budget, Web-friendly camcorders. Video is relatively sharp and saturated in outdoor shots and adequately bright without being overly noisy or blurry in low light. The audio is clear and loud. It still can't compare with the video produced by a top-of-the-line HD camcorder, which would make your wallet a few hundred quid lighter.
You also have to keep the device absolutely motionless while shooting for the best results, but the video's been incrementally improved over the MinoHD. Overall, video seemed sharper and smoother, the colours more accurate and the low-light performance improved with less noise in dimly-lit shots. These are very small improvements, but they're noticeable.
We should note that this model has the same optics and image sensor as the MinoHD, but Flip Video has refined the video processing to improve image quality. It's still not great -- and your video can appear jittery if you don't hold the camcorder very steady -- but comparatively speaking, it's decent, especially for a camcorder this small.
The UltraHD may not be the tiniest or sexiest camcorder out there, but where it lacks in style, it makes up in substance with good video quality and ease of use. It's your best bet unless you're after the smallest, most lightweight mini-camcorder, in which case the MinoHD and Creative's Vado HD remain better choices -- for now, anyway.