Pocket HD camcorders are evolving so fast we can barely keep up. Just as the Flip Mino HD caught up with the Kodak Zi6 and Creative Vado HD with 720p recording, Toshiba has raised the bar again by announcing its £130 1080p S10.
We’ll be looking at Tosh’s promising rival soon, but in the meantime the Flip HD has a lot going for it. It’s currently the word’s smallest HD camcorder, snaffling the record from the Vado by millimetres. And it now has a handy 4GB internal storage, enough for 60 minutes of movies at 1280x20 (30fps) resolution.
This means its sits right in the middle of its two closest rivals. While the chunky but cheap Kodak records solely to SD and SDHC cards with no internal storage, the Vado HD offers an impressive 8GB storage. It also has a 2in LCD that trumps the frankly too small 1.5in LCD of the Mino.
Where the Mino HD scores big is with its simplicity. It has no menu to navigate and no features to switch on or off. You just concentrate on pressing record rather than setting the cam up. Even the 2x digital zoom can’t be used until you start recording, though this is annoying when you actually want to zoom in at the start of a clip.
While unquestionably a little toy-like, the Mino HD is small and smart looking. It’s also incredibly light, which means you can carry it around without ruining your favourite jeans, and the illuminated touch-sensitive zoom and playback controls are a doddle to use.
Things get even more interesting with a built-in USB arm that flips out when you want to plug-in to a computer. It feels more rugged than the Vado HD’s, and the Mino HD gets extra brownie points for making its built-in software both PC and Mac compatible.
This software is a winner too. There’s no cheesy interface making it look like a five-year-old’s educational tool and you can post to sites like YouTube, AOL Video and MySpace in moments. You can edit clips and grab stills from your videos too.
Low light surprise
While Creative’s Vado HD remains the best for fast-action shooting and the Kodak Zi6 sneaks it as the best overall video performer, there’s still plenty to praise the Mino HD for.
It’s surprisingly strong in low-light conditions and happens to be the most effortless to use. If that’s your wishlist for a pocket camcorder, then it’s well worth shelling out the £170.
Available to buy from Firebox.com
Flip Mino HD
You won’t be dazzled by its video or LCD, but this pocket camcorder is child’s play to use and not bad in low light