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Flip Video UltraHD - Flip Video UltraHD

By James Morris



Our Score:


As is par for the course with camcorders in this class, there are no manual settings available. The plus and minus buttons above and below the record button operate the meagre 2x zoom, which is digital so reduces quality when the image is magnified. Other than that, there's nothing for the user to configure at all. The phrase 'point and shoot' has been taken quite literally here. The lens is also fixed focus, with a fairly sizeable minimum range of 1.5m, so macro close-ups won't be possible. However, the lens isn't as wide angled as that of Creative's Vado HD.

With previous Flips, we have been mildly surprised by the image quality on offer. Thanks to the use of larger sensors than you might expect for a pocket device, Flips generally far outperform camera phones, or even most compact digital cameras, although few 'proper' camcorders would feel under threat. Since there is no backlight compensation option, the UltraHD will be fooled by darker objects against bright backgrounds - such as shooting people with the sky behind them. But where the lighting is more even the results are more than adequate.

More significantly, the UltraHD does a competent job in low light. Here, it actually beats low-end big-brand HD camcorders for brightness and noise, although without any manual settings you can't compensate with iris, shutter, or gain adjustment. This is particularly important considering the probable uses for a camcorder in this class. With its considerable pocket friendliness, the Flip UltraHD is even more likely to be whipped out in locations with poor illumination. In our gruelling 100W ceiling-lit living room test, it still managed to pick up plenty of colour and detail, where lots of more expensive HD camcorders fail dismally. We even noticed a slight improvement over the MinoHD, implying that the UltraHD's newer Flip Video Engine contains tweaks in this area.

dave doubledecks

July 13, 2009, 12:13 pm

Why not just spend £15 more and buy something like the Canon Ixus 100? (with 720p video, 3X optical zoom with IS, and it does 12mp still images!)


July 13, 2009, 3:19 pm

I disagree that the flips will be squeezed out of the market with video capture functionality of mobiles.

Having seen my 9 year old nephew been given one of the original flips for christmas, it fostered a creative streak previously unseen in him, and now he's making some pretty cool stuff.

I might be wrong, but I don't think having video on your mobile would inspire the same passion and results? And therefore probably different market.

James Morris

July 13, 2009, 5:30 pm

@dave_doubledecks Does the Canon Ixus 100 upload straight to YouTube using built-in software and an integrated USB 2 port? Also, how good is the Canon in low light? I've not come across a single consumer camera which is anything short of pants at shooting video in low light.

@Dan I take your point about kids. There is definitely a market there which is distinct from mobile phones. However, having just got an iPhone 3GS myself, the joys of taking embarrassing video of family members and sticking it up on YouTube there and then has considerable attraction. Having to plug the Flip into a computer to do the same seems rather fussy in comparison.

Wayne Harris

July 13, 2009, 7:19 pm

Hi James - how is the audio when recording a live band at a rock concert?

i have a Nokia N95 8GB which still today does a pretty good job at recording video and audio, i want to get something with better picture quality and audio to record my bands gigs to use to make interesting promo videos for our website




July 13, 2009, 9:33 pm

the iphone 3gs is not a camera phone by any means after comparing my friends 3gs to my N97

James Morris

July 13, 2009, 10:55 pm

@Wayne Harris The audio is okay, but a very loud concert will not be reproduced very well. The auto level adjustment will not be able to compensate for the volume properly.

@Andrew Violet Sure, the iPhone 3GS is not a particularly great camera phone. However, its video quality is on par with the original Flip Ultra, and reasonably decent in low light. With the N97, can you record some video, then simply hit a button, enter your login, and send it straight up to YouTube?


July 13, 2009, 11:40 pm

iPhone is no where near the video capabilities of most Nokia N-series.

Tony Walker

July 13, 2009, 11:58 pm

@wayne Harris

The Panasonic TZ7 camera is excellent at recording in those environments. There's some fine examples in the forums over at Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com) and I have confirmed it with clips of my own.

James Morris

July 14, 2009, 2:24 am

@farki80 Don't want to get into phone wars here, as it's a matter of taste. But a lot of people reckon the iPhone is miles easier to use than any Nokia N series!


September 27, 2009, 5:06 pm


While talking of pocket camcorders I wonder why every site, every review speaks only of the Flips & Kodaks, while safely avoiding the Toshiba Camileos. I guess the Flips are damn good, but being not available (generally) outside the US, we mortals need to do with the other models.

I bought my Camileo S10 few days back, did some heavy duty shooting around and let me assert here that this is a preety good camcorder, as well.

I took a whole day, visiting various retailers, testing the Sony Webbie, Kodak Zx1, Aiptek z700, Xacti CG10 and the Camileo P30 & S10, besides the Samsung ST550 {TL225 elsewhere} (a Digital Camera doing 720p HD). These were the compact camcorders available here (Flip Ultra HD, Samsung U10 & Kodak Zi8 are not yet marketed here) and settled down for the Camileo S10 due to:

1. Great form factor.

2. Lightest among all.

3. *Best HD clips (2nd was Aiptek z700).

4. *2nd best Still shots (best was Aiptek z700), but very-very good.

5. **Li-ion Battery (keeps the device slimmer).

6. ***Upto 32 Gb SD Card compatible.

7. Got an 8 Gb SD card free from the store.

8. Similar priced; under USD 160/- {the CG10 is a bit costlier (and the P30 is no better, but bigger)}.

9. HDMI port (a must, so that we enjoy Full HD footage on an FHD TV).

10. ****Deal breaker: Slips easily into my shirt pocket, with ZERO bulge.

*Both clips & shots analyzed by playing on a 42" FHD LCD TV. {remember, it shoots just one step lower than 1080p, which is as good as 1080p, an ordinary guy like me would'nt notice the difference at all}.

**Bought another Li-ion battery for Stand-by (these are the same as used in most of the cameras & camcorders; thus, readily available - not proprietary; costed only USD 8/-).

***Note: standard SD card, NOT Micro SD; thus, cheaper.

****The S10 is a Flat device, half the thickness of my cigarette pack (B&H 20's) and only half inch taller than it.


I edited the clips & burnt a (regular) DVD - and wow! the movie was stunning. To note here, the supplied ArcSoft Suite is "just OK", but I had no problem making my DVD thru the Cyberlink PowerDirector Express, which is a good movie software and came with my JVC HD7.


Friends, don't have any 2nd thoughts. If the 10 pointers I mentioned above are also your considering factors, go for the Camileo S10.

It is better than the rest. AND be assured, the vids are VERY SIMILAR to that of a Hi-End HD Camcorder (I have one), if you can overcome the top-notch movies you get from them due to their manual controls. But then, we are talking about a "Pocket Camcorder", whose basic purpose is to carry everywhere and shoot at the spur of the moment and under 1/10th of the price the Camileo S10 is a steal.

I am deeply satisfied with my Camileo; and so would be you!!!


{Ps.: The Samsung ST 550 (TL225) is a too good digital camera though, but is double the price. It's Stills are mind blowing, but the Video is lagging behind Camileo S10. I was about to purchase it until I fully tested the Camileo S10}.

alex mackay

December 19, 2009, 5:11 am

although other cameras might out perform the flip ultra hd,its the instant share function thats just so on the button,and im quite sure as im no steven spielberg itll do enough for what id want a camera such as this to do.seems like a no brainer to me,ill probably buy this very soon.

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