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Flip Video Ultra review



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Flip Video Ultra
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  • Ultra Black 2GB Flash Memory HD Camcorder


Our Score:


A new camcorder format is upon us. Traditionally, the focus has been on video quality and features. But the mobile phone has opened up a new culture of grabbing the moment and rapidly sharing the results, with less concern for what the footage actually looks like. So camcorders are adapting to meet the challenge, which is leaving opportunities open to manufacturers not normally associated with the video business.

Creative was the first to get a product for this new era over to TrustedReviews in the shape of the Vado. But Pure Digital Technologies is making much more of a song and dance about its Flip. The original Flip Video wasn't launched in the UK, so our first taste is the Flip Video Ultra, which is slightly smaller and of sleeker design, with double the storage capacity. The Ultra is about as tall and wide as the Vado, but around twice as fat, although there's also a Flip Mino available in the US with similar dimensions to the Vado.

Realising the impromptu videomaker is more style conscious than the camcorder enthusiast, Pure Digital makes the Flip Video Ultra in four main colours - white, black, orange and pink (with a green one also cropping up online). So you should be able to buy one which matches your outfit. The device itself uses a 1/4in CMOS sensor, which is reasonably large for a low-end camcorder. Pure Digital doesn't state how many pixels this CMOS sensor has, but each pixel is apparently 5.6μm across.

Like the Vado, the Flip shoots at 640 x 480 and 30 frames/sec, which is great for YouTube compatibility but not so good if you want to burn a PAL DVD of your footage, as that will be running at 25 frames/sec and quality-reducing frame interpolation will be required. There is only one data rate available - 4.5Mbits/sec, which means the 2GB of on-board memory will be enough for an hour of footage, and there is no slot for adding any more. Instead of using a rechargeable battery, the Flip works on two AA batteries, which last a couple of hours. So, unlike the Vado, you're not tied to a PC for power, although this is one of the reasons the Ultra is more portly.


October 20, 2008, 2:50 pm

if it is designed for YouTube why not have a Trusted Reviews YouTube channel and upload some test videos taken with it. The review would be far more accurate then. If it is designed for youtube then does a 6 for image quality mean it isn't good for youtube?

Andy Vandervell

October 20, 2008, 2:58 pm

If you want to see footage then take a look at the video review: http://www.trustedreviews.c...


October 21, 2008, 6:27 pm

Image quality straight from the device is relatively good but once you put it up on youtube more lossy compression kicks in and quite often wracks the footage. It is the same for both the Flip and the Vado - I compared both (only it was Mino not Ultra) - and it prompted me to do a search for alternatives to Youtube that would better preserve video quality. And actually there are quite a few, see here: www.blogtechguy.com/video_e...


It is a nice review but it is not clear to me why the Flip scored 7 on features while the Vado scored only 6 when you say that the Flip has even less features from the Vado? You said: "You can play videos back and delete them. But that's it - even less than Creative's Vado"

Two months after I bought the Vado I can tell 80 Euros for the Vado were well spent, the cam is fun and it is also very sturdy (one of few objects my baby boy did not manage to break, not yet) Note: there was new firmware put up on creative.com site and that improved video quality on the Vado big time.

James Morris

October 24, 2008, 3:33 pm

Vij, the Flip got more for features entirely because its software has much more abilities than the Vado's.

I agree the Vado is fun, and the firmware update was a big improvement too. It has been a problem reviewing these devices in a camcorder section which generally covers camcorder models from the big names. Neither the Vado nor the Flip can hold a candle to these for features or image quality. But they are a different market, and both tackle that market really quite well.

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