Flip UltraHD series (2010 review:

Flip UltraHD series (2010

Features Flip UltraHD 1 Hour
Inputs/Outputs None/Mini-HDMI, USB
White balance Auto
Scene modes None
Focus Auto
Color effects None
Lens cover (auto or manual) None

Again, one of the main reasons to buy a Flip is the easy operation. The control panel is the same one you'd find on all Flip video cameras; there are buttons for Play, Delete, Record, and four-way directional pad, but that's it. When recording, pressing up and down on the pad controls the 2x digital zoom; during playback, it controls volume. Left and right navigate through your recordings regardless of mode. There is no menu system with the exception of some setup options: language, time, date, and turning on and off button sounds and the record light. This means that basically you can hand this device to anyone and they'll be able to shoot a video. Sharing your movies takes more effort, of course, but the embedded FlipShare software continues to be one of the best packages for doing it directly from the device.

Flip out the USB connector and plug it into your Windows (Windows XP SP2 or later) or OS X (10.5 or later) computer and up pops FlipShare. Once launched you can browse, watch, organize, and save videos; edit and create movies with your clips adding music and titles if you want; easily grab a still image from video; and upload to Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, and now Twitter. Videos can be sent by e-mail (at a reduced resolution) or stuck into a greeting card. You can also upload to a personal Flip Channel and create a list of people you want to share your videos with. When you upload a video, people on your list will be alerted by e-mail that a new video has been posted. Flip also has an iPhone app that allows you or your friends and family to access those videos remotely from an iPhone or iPod Touch.

Once you've externally saved movies you've shot, you can then use the FlipShare software to reformat them to a smaller size and put them back on the device--all with a couple clicks. You can also use your storage for videos that others have shared with you through their Flip Channels.

As for video quality, it's subpar with what we've come to expect from Flip, and you certainly won't mistake it for video from a full-fledged HD camcorder. Compared with the UltraHD 2H, well, there is no comparison: the 2H is markedly better. Colors seem muted and scenes are generally underexposed. Though the 2H's video may be a little oversharpened, subjects appear fuzzy and soft with the 1H. And if you're shooting any action or panning the camera, there's enough judder to make the video unwatchable. Low-light video is noisy, but that's to be expected. In the end, the movies are suitable for Web sharing, but viewing on a large HDTV is less than thrilling.

The Flip UltraHD 1 Hour is only worth considering if you need a foolproof way to record video clips and share them with friends and family online. For $50 more, the UltraHD 2 Hour is a far better product with more features and storage and nicer-looking video. If you don't have the extra money to spend and don't need AA batteries for power, you're better off going with the Kodak Playsport.

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