Flip UltraHD series (2010) review:

Flip UltraHD series

The FlipPort gives third-party manufacturers the capability to create accessories specifically for Flip devices. These accessories would then be stamped with a "Designed for Flip" emblem. So though this UltraHD doesn't have an external mic jack, you'll be able to buy a Designed for Flip add-on microphone that will connect through the FlipPort (for example, this one from Blue Microphones). The port can also be used for things such as battery extenders or chargers or a portable pico projector. Cases, covers, and attachable lenses will be available under the Designed for Flip program, too. We generally like the idea because it allows you to build out the product to your needs. But it does add to the cost of ownership and if you know you're going to need an external mic, for example, you may be better off going with a model from another manufacturer.

Speaking of accessories, all that's in the box with the device is a rechargeable battery, a wrist strap, and a microfiber pouch for storing the device. If you want to take advantage of the Micro-HDMI output or need to connect to a hard-to-reach USB port, you'll have to pony up for the cables.

Features Flip UltraHD 2 Hour
Inputs/Outputs None/Micro-HDMI/FlipPort, 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 a four-way directional pad, but that's it. When recording, pressing up and down on the pad controls the 2x digital zoom, while in 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 you can hand this device to anyone and he or she should 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.

Though you won't mistake the video for that of a full-fledged HD camcorder, we were once again impressed with the clip quality produced by this little cam; it was reasonably sharp with accurate and vibrant colors. The UltraHD 2H has electronic image stabilization, which does seem to help without degrading video quality. This model also records video at 60 frames per second, making for much smoother-looking video with less judder. If you intend to shoot moving subjects and do a lot of fast panning, you'll want to get this over the UltraHD 1H. Low-light video is noisy, but that's to be expected and all in all, it's not bad for its size. Generally speaking, the movies are great for Web sharing and very good for viewing on a large HDTV, but again, it won't compete with a regular HD camcorder costing hundreds more.

What you'll pay

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