The Flip SlideHD captures commendable 1280 x 720 HD video in a compact, easy-to-use design
by Marcus Bloom | 11 June 2010
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With Father’s Day less than a week away, your time to find the perfect gift for dad is quickly nearing an end. Between now and then, we’re going to be bringing you some fantastic products we know dad is going to love, starting with this, the Flip SlideHD. What is the Flip SlideHD, you ask? Simply put, it’s one of the sleekest, simplest HD video camcorders in existence, and it makes the perfect gift for both die-hard tech aficionados as well as dads that just dabble in the art of electronics.
There’s a saying in the world of photography: the best camera is the one you have with you. It doesn’t matter if you have a $10,000 camera sitting at home, when the decisive moment of a photograph hits and all you have with you is your cell phone camera, that’s the camera that’s going to capture the great shot. The same can be said about video. It doesn’t matter how much you spend on a camcorder, the best camcorder is the one you have with you at the precise moment you need one. And that’s the beauty of the Flip SlideHD. At a hair over four inches tall by two inches wide, the Flip SlideHD can go anywhere – vacations, auto shows, parties– you literally throw it in your pocket, briefcase, etc. and go. It’s that simple. And the best part? With the press of a button, it shoots fantastic 1280 x 720 video.
Delving into its technical aspects, the SlideHD is Flip’s most versatile digital camcorder to date. It builds on the MinoHD (another one of Flip’s fantastic pocket digital camcorders) by introducing a new slide design, playback options, and double the memory. To record, a single press of the SlideHD’s touch screen is all that’s necessary to start capturing video in all its HD glory. Focus is completely automatic and exposure is adjusted automatically thanks to the SlideHD’s automatic light detection system and automatic exposure control, while its f/2.4 aperture offers applaudable performance even in poor lighting conditions. There’s also a smooth 2x multi-step zoom, offering additional zoom capabilities for when the need arises. All of this adds up to a camcorder that’s virtually error-proof to use.
As for video quality, as noted previously, the Flip SlideHD offers 1280 x 720 resolution at 30 frames per second thanks to its 1/4.5 inch, 1.6 megapixel CMOS sensor – a size that’s perfect for capturing those video worthy moments while still being manageable if you decide to do a bit of video editing. It also boasts an average bitrate of 8.8 Megabits on average, H.264 video compression, AAC audio compression and MP4 files format. If you’re new to video and don’t know what any of that means, not to worry – you don’t need to know the technical terms to use the SlideHD. The most important thing to note is that it’s fully compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems, and both transferring videos to your computer and editing them is a breeze.
Design wise, the SlideHD utilizes… as the name implies… a sliding design. To shoot video, the SlideHD is held in traditional Flip format – vertically, with the top sliding portion closed. Playing back videos, however, is where the SlideHD comes into its own, as its upper portion slides to a roughly 45 degree angle, allowing use in a landscape orientation and offering significantly more screen real estate to watch your newly recorded movies. Compared to other Flip camcorders, it’s far easier to review a freshly shot movie with the SlideHD than any of its predecessors. Another beautiful aspect of the SlideHD’s design is its self-contained nature. Other than an HDMI-out cable to connect the SlideHD to your television, everything else is contained directly on the unit. There’s a built-in USB port for transferring and/or playing the SlideHD videos on your computer, there’s an internal lithium-ion rechargeable battery, and recharging is handled directly through the USB port when it’s connected to your computer (there’s a power adapter as well). It’s one of those rare gadgets you can buy and use without being forced to add an army of extra accessories to take advantage of its full range of functionality.
Ultimately, the Flip SlideHD is well worth its $279 price tag. I guarantee you’ll get more use out of it than any other camcorder you own, based simply on its sheer portability factor. Add in the fact it shoots great HD video and is virtually error-proof to use, and you’ve got a gift that dad (or anyone else for that matter) will love.