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Pure Digital Flip UltraHD

>> Thursday, August 20, 2009

Pure Digital Flip UltraHD looks like the first Flip Ultra. The original's white casing has been replaced with a slicker matte black, and its gray sides have been swapped out for reflective silver. The retractable USB arm mechanism on the camera's right side is the same, but below it, a mini HDMI jack has supplanted the TV out port (although, unlike the Creative's $230 Vado Pocket Video Cam HD, there's no mini HDMI cable included). On the left side, the sliding power switch has been replaced by a button.

The rear controls remain in roughly the same configuration Record in the middle of a navigation wheel with buttons for Play and Trash on either side but have been enlarged so they're easier to press. The most significant aesthetic change here is the larger screen 2 inches up from the original's 1.5. The display is also much sharper than that of any previous Flip. The built in speaker, which runs along the top of the screen, has also been improved for noticeably clearer playback sound.

Another improvement can be found by sliding the front of the device Pure Digital has replaced Pure Digital Flip UltraHD's formerly disposable batteries with a pair of rechargeable AAs, which charge when the camera is plugged into a USB port. With the batteries in place, Pure Digital Flip UltraHD weighs slightly more than its predecessor (5.9 ounces instead of 5). The batteries take a lengthy seven hours to fully charge. The 8GB storage capacity of Pure Digital Flip UltraHD is twice that of the Mino HD, and thus yields roughly 120 minutes of HD recording.

This will likely be more than enough to get you by until the next time you're in front of a computer (especially given YouTube's 10 minute video length maximum). If not, you're out of luck Pure Digital Flip UltraHD doesn't include an SD slot for expansion. Unlike other most other HD pocket camcorders, such as the Kodak Zi6, for example, Pure Digital Flip UltraHD shoots only in high definition. (Similarly, Pure Digital Flip UltraHD only records in SD.) At 720p (1280 by 720 pixels, 30fps, H.264 compressed, MPEG encoded) the quality of video files is quite good for a pocket camcorder roughly on par with the Vado HD and the Mino HD.

But not all situations require HD, and it's nice to have the option of shooting in a lower resolution, particularly if upload times are a concern. The microphone is better than the one on the original Ultra, although it still has trouble picking up sounds more than a few feet away from the camera. Like the MinoHD, Pure Digital Flip UltraHD packs Pure Digital's basic FlipShare software, which works with Macs and PCs and offers very basic editing and direct uploading to sites like YouTube. Pure Digital Flip UltraHD doesn't offer much in the way of a built in menu system beyond its "Get Started" setting, which lets you adjust basic items like the date and camera tones.

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