Gadget Guy: Flip Mino HD

Flip Mino HD
Rating: 4.5 out of 5Price: $229.99

Now that you have that new high definition TV from Black Friday your home movies are probably looking a bit dull. Wish you could sharpen them up? You can’t go back and re-tape them, but you could make sure those future moments are crystal clear for years to come.

You can do so with a new device called the Flip Mino HD. What it lacks in size it more than makes up for in beautiful picture. It’s no bigger, and in many cases smaller, than a cell phone and crams in an amazing set of powerful features.

The best part for those non-techies out there is it’s really easy to use. Simply power it on, press the red button and you are off and running. Press it one more time and recording stops. If you’d like to review the video, simply press the touch sensitive play/pause button.

It comes fully loaded with 4 gigabytes of on board memory, which is enough to record one hour of 720p high definition video.

Once done shooting, pop out the hidden USB port and plug it into your computer. This is also the way the device is charged. Leave it plugged into your computer and after one charge you can record about two hours of video.

In addition to charging, the device comes preloaded with software that’s automatically installed on your computer the first time you plug it in. With this software you can edit your video, add music and then save it, or compress it into a smaller file and send it to family and friends.

If the amazing video quality isn’t good enough for you, purchase this device from its Web site and the company will let you customize how it looks on the outside for free. So you could add a picture of your children, create an artsy design or have it come in any color of the rainbow — there’ll be no mistaking this one for someone else’s.

The Upsides: I really like the fact that Flip has managed to pack an amazingly beautiful camera into such a small size, all while keeping it easy to use. It easily slips into a pocket and therefore it’s more likely you’ll actually take it with you. The software is also straightforward and allows simple editing and emailing or posting to the Web.

The Downsides: It would be nice to have a little more sophisticated editing capability. A removable Micro SD card would also be a nice addition, allowing users to add extra memory where needed. But right now, if you run out of space, just plug the device into your computer, transfer the video and you’re ready to record another hour.

The Bottom Line: All in all you really aren’t going to find a smaller or easier high definition camcorder to use. And its size means there’s a greater chance you’ll bring it with you and not miss a moment. Plus, buy one for yourself and customize it with a picture of your choosing and there’s no way this camcorder is going to walk away without being spotted.