Flip UltraHD Camcorder Review

The Flip UltraHD is the true sequel to the cheap, crappy-but-good enough camcorder that's smuggled 13 percent of the market and was once our favorite cheap camcorder.

Short answer: Just like the Ultra, but um, HD. The Flip UltraHD is actually not the first HD Flip camcorder—the runt of the litter, the Mino went high def first, and we thought for a while the fattie Flip Ultra was going to rot and die.

But it hasn't. It's been reincarnated with HD—720P shot in H.264 at 30FPS. I mean that fairly literally—if you were to take an Ultra and an UltraHD side by side, the only giveaway besides the branding is the Mini HDMI port on the side of the UltraHD. It's got the same 2X digital zoom, the same fat ass. It's like the MinoHD's guts and soul inside of the Ultra's body. Which is actually what annoys me the most about it. Its bigger, brighter, better screen is the antidote to my biggest problem with the MinoHD, but it's so goddamn thick you can't comfortably shove it in your pocket like the Mino. Keep the the width and height, but it should be thinner, even considering the depth needed for the little zoom lens. This is also pretty much the last camera Pure Digital can make like this—it feels like they've exhausted everything this particular package of camera and features can do. Whatever comes next needs to be actually different.

These comparison videos were filmed holding the MinoHD and UltraHD side-by-side—outside in the afternoon, and then outside at night, with crappy lighting to test and compare how well they handle low-lighting. (Sorry, in GA, I had nothing more interesting to shoot than my dog.) To me, the footage virtually looks the same coming out both from a quality standpoint. Clear with good lighting, visible but noisy as balls in low-lighting. Though, the UltraHD's zoom lens does give you appreciated flexibility. (Update: It's just digital zoom, my bad.) Overall, compared to the rest of the cheap camcorder market, if you consider the UltraHD's quality equivalent to the MinoHD's it looks like it's still about tops, though not the best.

Our model's got 8GB of storage and promises 120 minute of video out of it. If you don't use the HDMI cable to plug it into your TV, you interface with it the same as always, via the pop-out USB jack. It comes with a rechargeable pair of batteries, but you can pop in some standard AA if you want.

At $200 retail it's not the cheapest cheapcam in the pack by any means—you can pick up the slightly older Kodak Zi6, another pocket HD camcorder that we like a bunch and shoots slightly cleaner video for $140 or its weatherproof cousin for $150, though you have to add in the cost of additional SDHC storage. That said, compared to the MinoHD, you get twice the recording capacity and bigger, brighter screen for about the same price, with the cost being the fatass. So it really depends what part of the triangle is most important to you: Size, storage and video quality. But you can't go too wrong with the UltraHD.

Flip UltraHD Camcorder Review

Flip UltraHD Camcorder Review

Flip UltraHD Camcorder Review

Flip UltraHD Camcorder Review

Flip UltraHD Camcorder Review

Flip UltraHD Camcorder Review

Flip UltraHD Camcorder Review

Flip UltraHD Camcorder Review

Flip UltraHD Camcorder Review

Flip UltraHD Camcorder Review

Flip UltraHD Camcorder Review

Flip UltraHD Camcorder Review

Flip UltraHD Camcorder Review

Flip UltraHD Camcorder Review

Flip UltraHD Camcorder Review

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