So they sent me a Flip camcorder to play around with, no doubt hoping that I’d be bowled over by the thing like Mr Pogue of the New York Wotsits. Well blow me down and hornswaggle me feathers – the thing is actually pretty cool, hype or not. Shocker. And definitely proof that when it comes to product design, simple wins when done well.
What makes this puppy so good?
- Video quality. General video quality is excellent, and especially low light footage which comes out clear and watchable with none of that horrible noise you get with the cheap and nasty alternatives.
- Storage space. One hour of video before you have to download to a computer is equivalent to a mainstream tape camcorder. Another big win.
- Power. Genius idea to have it run on two AA batteries. No more worrying whether you’ll run out of juice at the party, just sling two more cells into your pocket.
- Simple. No brainer controls. Flip switch to power on, press big red button to record and stop. The end. Superb.
- Excellent software. Saving, sharing on YouTube et al, and making fun movies are all included with the no-install software. No hassles, it’s all there ready from the instant you open the box and start filming.
- Plug and Play. The in-built USB connector means you can upload your video within seconds of taking it, which is again so simple that a child could do it.
This has got to be one of the best designed products of its type on the market. Which is why I’m a little confused as to why they would release the Minos, a rechargeable battery model with no other improvements apart from the thinner size. Ah well, it must be marketing. The price of the Flip is also pretty appealing, although the conventional tape camcorders are starting to fight back with their lower prices and solid specifications.
I do have slight reservations over the long term though, if only because the cameraphone makers are making fast and significant strides in terms of video quality on handsets, and it’s only a matter of time before they match and exceed this product. Already the Nokia N82 gives it a run for its money (but more on that later) and you don’t have to carry around yet another device in your pocket. Nevertheless this is a very cool product right now, and that’s what counts. $149.99 (£99.99).
Check out this jolly Flip/Muvee movie automatically crafted from some bouncy bike ride footage around the neighbourhood the other day.
The world’s simplest camcorder. It lets you capture the everyday moments that happen anywhere and share them with friends and family everywhere. That’s the idea behind Flip Video Ultra. It’s simple, portable, and amazingly affordable.