Flip Accessorizes the MinoHD and UltraHD with Mics, Docks, and a Wide Angle Lens

Flip UltraHD

Flip Video pioneered the market for ultra-simple digital video cameras. Instead of complex buttons and myriad settings, Flip cams deliver excellent image quality from a pocket-sized device that can be used without an instruction manual. Yet the same qualities that make the Flip UltraHD and MinoHD best-sellers present a challenge for its makers: The need to evolve the product while avoiding the complexity and clutter of feature creep.

The latest Flip UltraHD 2 Hour and MinoHD 2 Hour video cameras solve that problem in a couple of ways. The first is by simply upgrading the picture quality by adding image stabilization and 60 frames per second (fps) progressive scan resolution (double that of the previous model). The second, and more ingenious solution, is that Flip too the clutter and feature creep requests customers have been asking for and turned them into accessories.

The range of over a dozen add-ons include a Scosche wireless microphone, a magnetically attachable Bower wide angle lens, a tiny iGo pico projector and a TV dock. Many of these accessories were designed specifically for Flip and utilize a new "FlipPort" connector, which will become a standard feature of Flip cams going forward. But for now, the FlipPort is only available on the UltraHD 2 hour model--there is no FlipPort on the UltraHD 1 hour, or either of the new MinoHD pocket camcorders. The accessories are expected to sell for between $15 and $30, well within reach of most Flip cam buyers, and go on sale along with the new camera starting in mid-October.

A few of these accessories veer surprisingly close to prosumer (professional-consumer hybrid) territory. It's hard to imagine that a Flip cam-wielding mom has been clamoring for a wireless mic so that she can improve the sound of her interviews during 5-year-old Ethan's birthday party. And even the iGo pico projector, which is a tiny candy bar of a device that beams the video onto a wall for public viewing, seems more suited to a conference room than a family room. Yet Cisco (which acquired Flip Video almost two years ago now) says that these choices have been based on requests from consumers.

I'm excited to get my hands on these new extension for the camera, but it's unfortunate that most of the best ones require using the proprietary FlipPort plug. It's unclear why Flip chose to use a proprietary connector instead of using the existing mini-jack a/v port that would interchangeable with other devices. This could limit the number of accessories that are available for Flip Video products, and it means more gadget clutter--especially when it comes to battery extenders and chargers.

The MinoHD line of Flip cams is also being upgraded in October to include image stabilization and 60 fps progressive resolution--this time in the both the 1 hour and 2 hour models. These are slimmer and shinier than the UltraHD--which itself has become 25% skinnier than the original. Despite having a slightly higher price tag ($180 for the 1-hour and $230 for the 2-hour model) Flip is hoping that these will catch on with a younger audience.

One thing that ought to help achieve that goal: The latest Flipshare software includes direct-to-Twitter uploads, in addition to the existing Facebook and YouTube options. The software comes pre-installed on the camera, and is transferred easily to your computer when you plug it in. You're not required to use the Flipshare software, but it is among the easier programs for archiving, editing and sharing your videos.

None of these changes to the Flip Video lineup are particularly breakthrough--and that's a good thing. While the RCA Small Wonder is a worthy competitor, the UltraHD and MinoHD are still, at root, the same easy-to-use and affordable digital video recorders they have always been--and now you can buy gadget jewelry for them.

Flip UltraHD 2 Hour

  • $200 for 8GB
  • 720p and 60 fps
  • Image stabilization
  • Rechargeable battery
  • White/silver/black
  • 25% slimmer than original
  • FlipPort for new accessories line

Flip MinoHD 2 Hour

  • $230 for 8GB
  • 720p and 60fps
  • Image stabilization
  • Rechargeable battery
  • Black (can be personalized)
  • No FlipPort for new accessories

Flip MindHD 1 Hour

  • $180 for 4GB
  • 720p and 60fps
  • Image stabilization
  • Rechargeable battery
  • Silver (can be personalized)
  • No FlipPort for new accessories line

Flip UltraHD 1 Hour

  • $150 for 4GB
  • 720p and only 30fps
  • No image stabilization
  • 2 AA batteries
  • No FlipPort for accessories

 

Previously: Flip UltraHD Is Pure Digital's Best Pocket Camcorder Yet

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