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Memorex iFlip Portable Video System for iPod review: Memorex iFlip Portable Video System for iPod

Once video is rolling, you can adjust the iFlip's internal settings by pressing the menu button. Options such as brightness, contrast, sharpness, and hue can be adjusted using the volume buttons. You can also set screen mode for 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratios.

At default settings, the 480-by-234-pixel (native resolution) screen is nice and bright, and the speakers are loud and clear (though they lack bass and don't rank high as audio-only speakers (you can use the iFlip as music speakers with no onscreen graphics). Though still very viewable, video quality has definitely been undermined with a generally a darker hue all around and bluish whites and greys. Basically, you're losing some warmth. Screen pixels (and screen-door effect) are noticeable from about two feet away, and you'll usually notice some screen noise. However, the viewing angle is decent-- you're just not getting the best screen available. For the record, we used a couple of iTunes movies (outputting at 640 by 480), a TV show, and a home movie for testing against a PowerBook G4.

Photos can be viewed only in slideshow mode--no a la carte viewing here. Again, photo quality is darker and lacking richness, but it's not a bad way to show off photos on a trip.

As for the battery: It takes about 6.5 hours to fully charge the unit, and it has a video playback rating of five hours. We've tested the unit a bit and had an average of a little more than 5 hours per charge. While this isn't an ideal battery life, you will definitely be able to watch several videos without recharging. The iPod cannot power the iFlip, nor can it be charged by the iFlip unless it's plugged in. The iFlip ships with a special S-video cable, a mini-to-stereo RCA audio cable, a power adapter (unfortunately with two cables), plus two iPod holders. A remote control would have been a nice touch.

Overall, the iFlip is a good answer to those who want to extend the video capabilities of their iPods. Video quality is probably the determining factor for prospective buyers. We've seen similar players, such as the SonicImpact V55, though we can't vouch for their quality compared with the iFlip. Again, the yet-to-be "true video iPod" may be more portable, and an iTunes-enabled laptop can do the same (plus more) than the iFlip, but for a dedicated and seamless big-screen experience, the iFlip delivers.

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