Scott Hanselman

Pure Digital Flip Video Ultra Review

May 30, '08 Comments [17] Posted in Reviews
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31t9tfsQuXL._SS400_Turns out you can get the Pure Digital Flip Video Camera for only $119 for a while at Amazon. I paid $144 just yesterday. Shoot.

I bought this for The Wife's birthday because the babies are always doing something awesome and we have no easy way to capture it. We had a Casio Exilim that did video, but it had too many knobs and buttons for her taste and getting the uncompressed video off the camera with a docking station, USB, more button pushing, not to mention getting it online was non-trivial and not something she was willing to put up with.

Hence, the PureDigital Flip Video Ultra. Cheap, with one major button, minimal moving parts, built in software (the software lives on the camera and autoruns when you plug it in), 60 minutes of recording time and it's purse-sized.

Is there anything wrong with it? Not that I can see. My ONLY beef, and I mean ONLY, is that I can't just plug it into my Xbox, but that's actually a beef with the Xbox!

The Flip does 30fps MP4 video at 640x480 (4:3) and looks great on DVDs. It's a ~4000kbps video bitrate and a 177kbps audio rate. It's best feature? Fantastic exposure control. Low light, bright light, it just looks great.

It has ZERO frills. That means no microphone jack, NO settings (just one setting - awesome) and she immediately knew how to use it. But enough typing, this is a review about a portable video camera, here's a video review!

You'll enjoy using the Flip, it's a STEAL for the price/functionality ratio. The WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor) is very high on this product.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Friday, May 30, 2008 5:55:08 AM UTC
Did you pay $144 at Amazon? If so, you can just call and ask for a refund of the difference.
Friday, May 30, 2008 5:59:22 AM UTC
OK, duh, if you bought it yesterday and have it already, that means you didn't buy it at Amazon. Never mind.
Friday, May 30, 2008 6:07:01 AM UTC
Nope, sadly I bought it, like a schmuck, at Best Buy.
Friday, May 30, 2008 6:19:48 AM UTC
What is the difference between the new Ultra and the 60 minute version of the original?
Friday, May 30, 2008 6:29:04 AM UTC
Wow.. Thanks for the review Scott. I've put off getting a "real" camcorder for a couple of years just due to the fact that I'm so picky about quality, etc. But when you talk "quality" with camcorders, you usually are talking price also. I'm not sure really why I need a high end camcorder just to shoot videos of the kids and family... and the longer I delay, the more precious moments I'm missing (my kids are already 3 and 5, so I've missed some good stuff). I'm going to take advantage of the Amazon discount. (I wonder if the discount means there is a new pureDigital flip device in the wings).

Friday, May 30, 2008 6:29:38 AM UTC
Scott,

Cool device. You mention it has a 2GB internal card. Can you put an additional larger card (SD, mini-SD, etc) in it. I guess I could read the specs, huh?
Friday, May 30, 2008 9:43:52 AM UTC
This is genius - just what I need for the kids, but I can't get one for less than $200 in the UK! <:(

Anyone know of a store that will ship from the US to the UK? I've tried Newegg, Sears, Staples - all the usual suspects - but they won't ship it.
Andrew
Friday, May 30, 2008 11:34:03 AM UTC
@Andrew Amazon.co.uk have it on Preorder for later this month for £100. It's supposed to be out on 9th of June.
NekoJoe
Friday, May 30, 2008 11:39:45 AM UTC
Infinite Scotts = "Awesome"
Friday, May 30, 2008 12:47:51 PM UTC
Scott:

We bought one of these about 3 months ago and it is the fashizzle. My favorite thing about it is how easy it is to get the video off the thing and share it with other people. No conversion or capture stuff, just freakin download & send.

This is the TiVo of cameras.
Friday, May 30, 2008 12:47:55 PM UTC
The flip video has no true optical zoom, which is a deal breaker even for just casual kid footage. I can't tell you how many times I've used the zoom on my camcorder to catch a priceless expression on the kids' face or whatever, and those things would have been lost without zoom.
El Guapo
Friday, May 30, 2008 3:33:01 PM UTC
Excellent job, Scott. You've just set new standards for reviewing process of video capturing devices :)

P.S. Excellent idea with mirrors!
Friday, May 30, 2008 3:51:18 PM UTC
I love my Flip. Its not a Camcorder so if any readers want a camcorder, don't get one. Its for brief videos to share. The quality of the video isn't spectacular, but it shouldn't be. If you want HD, go get a Camcorder...this device is made to record your dog on the skateboard or the cat eating corn. If you're trying to use it to be the next Eisenstein, its the wrong tool...
Friday, May 30, 2008 8:18:49 PM UTC
Scott, another thing I'd add is that unlike your average camcorder, the buttons let you move quickly through the clips you've recorded, just like on a digital camera. On my other camera, a Canon DV camera, reviewing what you've just recorded is a major hassle cueing and either erasing or continuing after the clip. On this guy, just jump between clips, play them, and easily erase the ones you don't want.

The picture is just as good as the DV, and I don't need HD for family video. The one thing I miss is the picture-steadying technology of the bigger camera, but that's far outweighed by the ease of use.
Friday, May 30, 2008 8:56:09 PM UTC
I picked up the RCA Small Wonder EZ201 to get the SD card support. It is the bomb for quick and dirty recording.

Friday, May 30, 2008 8:57:06 PM UTC
Great job on the review Scott. I have been on the fence about buying one for a few weeks now, waiting for my amazon affiliate coupons to cover the cost but with the recent price drop, I finally pulled the trigger! Enjoy the affiliate kickback, you earned it!
Tuesday, June 17, 2008 4:02:18 AM UTC
Great review and even great idea to actually show it.
Todd Reed
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.