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Flip SlideHD Pocket Camcorder -- Shoot and Show and Share

The new Flip Video SlideHD pocket camcorder extends Flips's focus on shooting (simple operation) and sharing (with software for easy editing and uploading) to showing -- with a bigger slide-out 3-inch widescreen display.

Flip Video (now part of Cisco) has always focused on simple-to-use pocket camcorders -- just power on, wait a couple seconds, and press the big red Record button to start shooting. There's no modes and no confusing options, so you're always ready to shoot, and never caught fumbling to set up the right format.

The trade off for this aggressive simplicity, of course, is that these are not multi-purpose devices. Flip camcorders don't shoot still photos, or provide a choice of video resolutions or quality levels. (And the HD models are 720p, 1280 x 720, not full HD 1920x1080). They come with a fixed amount of built-in storage, and don't support removable memory cards. Instead, Flip offers several models with fixed specific combination of features -- the Flip Ultra for standard res, UltraHD with removable batteries, and MinoHD models with 1 and 2 hour recording times (see earlier post).

These compare to pocket camcorder models from other companies including Creative, DXG, JVC, Kodak, RCA, and Sony, with aggressive pricing and arrays of features, also including Web video resolution, normal / macro focus, image stabilization, face tracking, slow motion playback, and flip-out displays.

So the SlideHD goes in a different direction, not adding new shooting features, but instead focusing on sharing your fun by showing the video on the 3-inch display (compared to 2 inch on other Flip models). When closed on the back of the unit, the display is split in half, with the top showing live video when shooting (or playback of stored clips), and the bottom displaying the standard Flip recording and playback controls, now implemented on the touch screen instead of with physical buttons.

Then slide the display open, to pop up at a 45 degree angle for viewing your clips. Now the video fills the display, in full widescreen. There's a touch strip below to quickly flip through the stored clips, plus a menu button on the slide for settings, or (not too obviously) you can press and hold on the display to bring up play and volume controls.

The Flip SlideHD stores 720p video in MPEG-4 format (MP4) for easy viewing with Windows Media Player, QuickTime Player, iTunes, and the like. It records 4 hours of video in the 16 GB internal memory (the other Flip models provide 1 and 2 hours), and you can also download your own photos and videos for viewing. However, the non-removable battery provides 2 hours of use before it needs to be recharged. You can charge from a computer USB port, or using the Flip power adapter (sold separately), but not from typical USB wall or car adapters.

The SlideHD includes an HDMI mini connector to play on directly on an HDTV (cable sold separately). Or use the built-in FlipShare software to browse, download, organize, edit, and share your videos -- run directly from the Flip camcorder's memory (when mounted over USB) or download from the Flip site. FlipShare version 5.0 adds support for displaying on television though the new FlipShare TV set-top box, and sharing to mobile phones using the free FlipShare Mobile app for iPhone, Blackberry, and Android devices.

Check the Flip site to compare the different models

See my Digital Camcorders Gallery for more on the Flip line and other digital camcoders.

    Find the Flip SlideHD on Amazon.com

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