Flip Video Ultra Series Camcorder
"Hardware" Review by Maria O. ArguelloThe new and improved Flip Video Ultra Series from Pure Digital Technologies comes in five beautiful colors -- white, black, pink, orange, and the green sold only at Wal-Mart (2G model only). The 1G model is available only in black or white.
This mighty little camcorder does not need small fingers to operate comfortably. When I reviewed the previous model in June 2007, I thought it was the sweetest camcorder; it did video superbly. It's gotten better and still captures video like the pros. The packaging is much easier to open, too.
The Flip Video Ultra has a 1.5-inch no-glare display. It simplifies video web sharing with AOL and YouTube. It uses next-generation video processing which produces the highest quality mobile-compatible video while using minimal memory. The Ultra has increased memory, up to 2 GB for the 60-minute model.
I tested it by recording both indoor and outdoor videos. The white balance is excellent. The 1G model records up to 30 minutes; the 2G records up to 60 minutes.
To connect the camcorder to your computer you use its built-in USB plug, which flips out from the body. Download your footage and immediately enjoy your video. Or edit it, create movies, or iMovies*, save footage to your drive, send clips via email, and more.
The box includes software for both Mac and Windows. I found the Mac software too Microsoft-like, although it was easy to edit video, name the clips, and compress them for email.
Mac users can view clips in QuickTime Player (Pro). Or import the clips into iDVD. Edit and burn DVDs with full iDVD functionality.
To send clips via email, the Flip Video software compresses them and places them in a folder on your desktop. From there you can send them using your favorite email application. Be mindful of size, though; some emailers allow a maximum size of only 5 MB.
The Flip Video Ultra uses standard AA batteries, which seem to last and last. I love the Ultra's built-in USB arm because it eliminates the need for cables. Plus, you don't have to carry tapes, since the Ultra uses flash memory. Once you install the software, it's ready to go. Also included are RCA jacks to view TV playback; a wrist strap; and a protective carrying pouch. I found the pouch useful for wiping the unprotected lens after accidentally depositing smudges and fingerprints.
You will make a splash giving the Flip Video Ultra as a holiday gift to your loved one or to yourself. You can shop for it at Amazon, Best Buy, Costco, Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, Target.com, CompUSA, and other popular stores.
* Note: To send the video clips to iMovie an extra step is necessary. The video clips are in .AVI format, which means that they have to be converted to MPEG to be imported into an iMovie format. One way to do that is to spend $29.99 for QuickTime Pro. There are other converters that can do it as well.
This affordable, powerful, and portable camcorder gives you the capability to easily shoot videos anywhere anytime. It's a winner.
Flip Video Ultra Series Camcorder
Company: Pure Digital Technologies
Price: $149.99 and $179.99 (60-Minute version: $165)
Minimum System Requirements: Macintosh with USB port and Mac OS X
Test System: MacBook Pro 2-GHz Intel Core Duo, OS: 10.4.10; iMovie 7.1 and iDVD 7.0.1.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Apples
Maria Arguello is the vendor liaison of the Main Line Macintosh Users Group (MLMUG). She's a frequent contributor to many user group newsletters in addition to being a member of NCMUG, PMUG, CCPMUG, MUGSNJ, PPUG, and SJAUG. She serves as the Apple User Group Regional Liaison for the Northeast United States (CT, DE, MA, MD, ME, NH, NJ, NY, RI, VT)
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