Getting the Videos Out of Flip UltraHD
When you plug the Flip UltraHD into your computer using the integrated USB connector, it shows up as external storage, not unlike a USB flash drive. Preloaded in this memory is the FlipShare software that allows for the easy browsing, playing, and deleting of videos. The software also allows you to make custom movies with music, snap photos from your videos, and upload instantly to YouTube (among other video sharing sites).
Keep in mind, this software is very basic but it does make it possible for someone with little or no video editing software skill to at least get their videos uploaded and looking somewhat decent. It also works with Mac and PC. For people using standalone software like iMovie, Adobe Premiere Elements and others, you may need to install the software anyway just to make sure that you have access to the special video CODEC that allows you to open and edit the videos directly off the camcorder.
So, what can you expect in terms of video quality? Again, you have to realize the market that you are entering with such a device, so you will not be able to enjoy the same kind of video quality afforded by the more expensive "true" HD camcorders. The aperture and lens on the Flip UltraHD are pretty anemic, so you'll still have some trouble getting good clips under low light (indoor) situations. The focal length of the lens also makes it difficult to use it in close quarters just like the Flip MinoHD and there currently isn't any way to make the lens wider.
In order to give you an idea of what to expect in terms of video quality, we've prepared a short sequences of videos that show off the low light, macro, action and outdoor capabilities of this product:
I'm not entirely sure if it's a software or hardware issue (or maybe just the fact the lens looks bigger), but the low light performance appears to be improved on the Flip UltraHD compared to the Flip MinoHD. Hopefully we'll have a better idea when our Flip MinoHD review posts in the next couple weeks.
Since it was built from the beginning to handle video, I'd also say that the video produced by the Flip UltraHD is better than the VGA videos produced by most standalone digital cameras, but since I haven't had a chance to use a digital camera with HD video capabilities, I can't say whether the Flip UltraHD would outperform these alternatives at this time.
Final Thoughts and Conclusions
The first Flip Ultra pocket camcorder really changed the game when it came to casual video recording, because it was just so simple and easy to use. The video was better than cell phones, but I'd still say that regular digital cameras were able to record better quality video.
With the Flip UltraHD, Pure Digital has definitely upped the ante. The materials have been slightly improved, including the shiny chrome accents on the sides, and you gain the ability to record 720p video at 30fps. The 8GB of internal memory is enough for two hours of decent quality video. The HDMI output is notable as well, but it's unfortunate that no compatible cable was included.
With an American MSRP of $199.99 and a Canadian MSRP of $249.99, the Flip UltraHD isn't the cheapest option out there anymore and this takes away from its impulse buy appeal. That said, it's still cheaper than the Flip MinoHD and it has double the memory to boot. Are you willing to sacrifice size for space? That's up to you to decide.
- Increased storage capacity allows for 120 minutes of video
- Remarkably easy to use and understand
- HDMI output for instant sharing
- Improved low light performance compared to MinoHD
- No included mini-HDMI or USB extension cable
- Only 2x digital zoom, no optical zoom
- Significantly bulkier than the MinoHD
Overall Rating: 8.5 / 10.0