The Flip brand is almost as synonymous with pocket Internet camcorders as Hoover is with vacuum cleaners. However, just as Hoover has been usurped by other manufacturers -particularly Dyson - the Flip has plenty of competition. In the UK, it was beaten to market by Creative, and now Flip's Mino HD arrives hot on the heals of the Creative Vado HD, although the Mino HD was released at the end of 2008 in the US.
The Mino HD looks virtually identical to its non-HD predecessor. However, where most previous Flips came in a choice of colours - and the original Mino could be either black or white - the Mino HD has only one option: black. But, as they say in the fashion world, at least black never goes out of style. The only indication of the increased capabilities of this version is the subtle Mino HD logo on the back.
Where the original shot VGA video at 640 x 480, the newcomer increases the resolution to 1,280 x 720, with the same progressively scanned 30 frames per second. The CMOS is actually slightly smaller, at 1/4.5in where the Mino has a 1/4in sensor, but this is still a fairly healthy size, with positive implications for low-light shooting, although Flip doesn't quote the CMOS resolution.
To cope with the higher-resolution video, the memory complement of the Mino HD has doubled over its predecessor, to 4GB. However, the video data rate has been more than doubled to 9Mbits/sec, so the capacity is still quoted at approximately an hour of footage. As with previous Flips, there's no card slot for upgrade, so an hour will be your limit, and there are no lower-quality shooting options, either. Creative's Vado HD comes with twice the memory, as well as offering lesser data rates and resolutions.
In fact, after initially setting time and date, there is almost nothing else to control on the Mino HD other than starting and stopping recording. There are plus and minus buttons to operate the 2x digital zoom, but annoyingly these only become active when you are already shooting. So you can't set up the zoom on a shot in advance. Not that we'd recommend using the digital zoom anyway, as it clearly degrades image quality.