Flip Mino – Hands on Review

8 10 2008

By Adam at 4:49 AM

The web is a great place for all kinds of content. If your anything like me I am sure your web surfing time is chock full of interesting web sites, great articles, amazing photos, and the most powerful medium of them all… video!

Video has never been more wide spread and far reaching than now. That is mainly in part due the continued advances in video devices such as a device I recently purchased called the Flip Video Mino.

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Feature Overview

The Flip Video Mino is the latest in the line of 3 small, portable flash memory cameras from Pure Digital Technologies. The Mino is extremely small, is ready for show time in 7 seconds, and provides the perfect tool to capture any action you might encounter while out and about. The design of the entire line of Flip Video cameras is well thought out and looks great side by side among your personal bag of tech toys. The Mino is sleeker and smaller than any other Flip Video camera and fits perfectly into your pocket. The packaging and unboxing of the device feels very “Applesque” considering the black outside box and the “less is more” design. One layer deeper the Mino lay in a very attractive box that feels more like your opening a new designer watch or piece of jewelry than unveiling a camera. The box contains the camera, a video out cable for your TV, a 90 warranty, manual, and soft pouch to keep the camera from getting scratched. Oh, and lets not forget the small wrist strap.

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Flip Video Mino & Accessories (click for full size)

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Flip Video Mino Unboxing (click for full size)

As with all the older model, it shoots 640 x 480 video at 30 frames per second (progressive scan). It has a straight forward, touch sensitive interface on the back of the unit which includes a big red button to start and stop recording. The additional controls used to review your videos and delete them are brightly backlit so using the Mino at a dim club, concert, or outside at night is a breeze. Speaking on low light situations, I recorded a video in a dimly lit room and found the video quality only contained a slight bit more noise than did a naturally lit video due to the f/2.4 lens. Overall, the video quality is excellent for a device of its size and convenience. Only a little blur in the video can be seen when panning the Mino too quickly from side to side (see a video sample at the end of post). The internal 2GB flash hard drive hold up to 60 minutes of video before having to be downloaded for the next round.  Other features of the Flip Video Mino include a 2x digital zoom and video out jack.

Downloading & Managing Videos

How easy is it to download your video? Well, on my iMac all you have to do is flip (get it…”flip”?) a small switch on the side of the camera and it becomes something akin to a USB drive. Plug it directly into any USB port and you have instant access to the Mac and PC version of the video management software or you can dive right into the drive and drag your videos to your computer just as you would if you used an external hard drive. All videos are recorded as AVI files. When connected to the computer the camera also recharges using the USB port.

The Flip Video software definitely does not match the visual appeal of the device, especially considering how great software usually looks on a Mac. I anticipate that they simply ported over the look and feel of the PC version for Mac users. The software essentially helps you do 4 main things: save videos, share videos, delete videos, and create a movie (basic editing). For the most part, I skipped exploring the software in depth in favor of grabbing the video straight off the drive.

Flip Video Software

Flip Video Software (click for full size)

The Mino has a few noteworthy improvements in comparison to its predecessors.

  • Improved video codec
  • Rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery for up to 4 hours of use (previous Flip cameras require AA batteries)
  • Share your videos directly through the software to MySpace in addition to AOL and Youtube
  • Upgraded omni-directional microphone

What is the Flip Video Mino lacking?

  • Small USB dongle for computers with hard to reach USB ports
  • Wall charger (coming soon as an accessory)
  • Additional jack for a lapel or wireless mic

Who should buy this?

  • Citizen Journalists
  • Video Podcasters
  • Anyone wanting to quickly and easily capture great quality video for the web or even DVD’s

Overall, the Mino is a great buy which can be found even cheaper on sites like Amazon. I recommend purchasing the Flip brand tripod along with the unit which I will cover in a quick review in the near future. Do you have a favorite device for capturing video? What is it? Share in the comments.

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Mino Size Versus iPhone (click for full size)

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Mino Start Up Screen (click for full size)

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Screen & Backlit Controls (click for full size)

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2 responses

8 10 2008
Ray Stendall

Adam, great review. I ordered mine a few days ago and based on your review am happy I did. Keep up the good work!

Ray

9 10 2008
Matt Musgrave

Great review! Your post has convinced me to pick one up for myself. Thanks!

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