The Wild Bunch
Super portable and spontaneous HD video in your pocket.
The Brady Bunch
Needs stabilization and HDMI port.
We’re big fans of Flip Video’s incredibly easy-to-use pocket-size video cameras, but it’s been difficult to wholeheartedly recommend them given the superior video capabilities of today’s point-and-shoot digicams.
Flip’s new MinoHD changes that. This svelte camera is the same size as the standard-def Mino (4”x2”x.06”) but can record an hour of H.264-encoded 1280x720 720p video. The quality of the video ranges from fair to good, with noticeable video compression occurring on occasion. The MinoHD puts digicams and other SD-resolution microcams to shame; however, it’s not the right choice for enthusiasts who put a premium on image quality. Footage shot with an HDV 1080i or even 720p cam will easily outclass the MinoHD.
But that’s not what the MinoHD is about. This camera is all about spontaneity—the ability to whip out a camera at a moment’s notice in order to capture HD video and share it. While larger-format cameras certainly produce better-quality video, they won’t satiate the needs of your inner voyeur. Want to grab video of your buddy falling down a flight of stairs and get it on the Internet ASAP? The MinoHD will record the event in all its HD glory, and you can upload and edit your mini masterpiece from any computer with an Internet connection.
Once you’ve shot your video, flip out the built-in USB port, plug it into a PC, and you can upload the video as fast as your Internet connection will allow. The built-in app even has rudimentary titling and trimming capabilities. There are a few downsides, however: The camera is in bad need of a stabilizer and the composite-out video is a disappointment, but these issues don’t outweigh the fun you’ll have with this camera.