I’m clearly not the target market for this device. I love twiddling with video cameras and their settings. I never go on a shoot without taking a bunch of pink and blue tinted cards for creative white balancing. One of my favorite software packages is Apple’s Color (sic), where users can tweak footage sessions and create wonderful bleach bypass effects or stark, emotive black and white footage. So when I pulled the Flip MinoHD out of its little black box, my immediate reaction was “is this it?”
To call the device simple would be an understatement. It is pretty much a big red button. To operate you just point the camera at something and press the big red button. It’s really that simple (ok there are a few other buttons to playback that footage). You can master the device in about 3-5 minutes without ever looking at the manual. Although I was itching for more controls at first, a quick play with the device in the part reminded me how much fun a simple device could be.
The onboard hardware and software automatically define the best shot for the occasion – you literally just point and shoot. This actually works great for casual footage – the sort of thing that people pull mobile phones out to record. The Flip Mino HD has a very small form factor and feels just like a mobile phone – a much lesser conspicuous HD recording tool than a full sized cameras and just as good for uncomplicated shots – I would happily take it out to a concert, a skatepark or even out freerunning. And as it is the size and shape of an old candy bar phone, I could easily see myself carrying it with me at all times.
The microphone was a little sensitive and some of the audio was lost due to a windy day. However the footage take was very smooth. The onboard software was clear and simple and it was child’s play to add simple titles, music, trim sections from footage and upload to YouTube. Nothing more complex is provided, but you can access the file and attack it with a more serious editing package if that is what you are after. The USB connector flicks out, which is fun but a bit annoying to connect to a PC – the flip is clearly geared for laptops, but people assure me a USB extender exists somewhere. If you are after simple, reliable 720p footage you would be wise to take a long hard look at Flip’s offering. The Flip MinoHD is available at leading retailers from 8th April at MSRP £179.99.