Flip Video MinoHD pocket camcorder (2nd generation)

The second-generation Flip MinoHD is the sexiest and most solidly built pocket camcorder we've seen yet

  • Review
  • Specs
  • Images
  • User Reviews
  • Buy Now
Cisco Flip MinoHD (2nd generation)
  • Cisco Flip MinoHD (2nd generation)
  • Cisco Flip MinoHD (2nd generation)
  • Cisco Flip MinoHD (2nd generation)
  • Expert Rating

    4.25 / 5

Pros

  • Best-in-class low-light performance, outstanding build quality and design, extra 4GB of memory

Cons

  • No still-photo capture, no removable storage or battery, minor imaging issues in optimum conditions

Bottom Line

The second-generation Flip MinoHD is the sexiest and most solidly built pocket camcorder we've seen yet, and it backs those refinements up with very good video quality. Highly recommended.

Would you buy this?

The second-generation Flip Video MinoHD doesn't represent a huge jump in specs and features; notable changes to the previous MinoHD include a doubled storage capacity (from 4GB to 8GB), revamped video software, an HDMI-out port, and the end of the line for the Pure Digital brand (Cisco bought Pure Digital in March, and "Flip Video" is now the brand name).

But the stars of the show are the vastly improved build quality, the best-in-class low-light video, and the sheer aesthetics of the device. Without a doubt, this is the sexiest HD pocket camcorder to date; it'll go well with a tux or cocktail dress. Not only do the brushed-metal faceplate and redesigned USB connector make the new MinoHD look like an Apple product, but also they make the device feel a whole lot sturdier.

Unlike the plasticky, slightly cheap feel of previous Flip camcorders, this one feels like it's built for serious business. It's a bit heavier, too, tipping the scales at 114g while the first generation weighed 93g. The new model's internal 8GB flash drive holds two hours of video, up from the first-gen model's one-hour drive. You also get a bigger LCD screen than on the previous edition: the second-generation MinoHD has a 2-inch-diagonal LCD screen, as compared with the previous model's slightly puny 1.5-inch display.

Video quality has improved a smidgen, as well. Like the first-gen MinoHD, the new model shoots 720p high-definition video at 30 frames per second, saving them as MPEG-4 files with H.264 compression. Footage shot in bright light no longer has the yellowish tint we've seen in video from previous Flip camcorders, nor as much of a blue tint as in the footage we shot with the Flip UltraHD. That said, the new MinoHD still adds a slightly blue cast to its bright-light footage -- just not as much as the UltraHD does.

To test the MinoHD's video performance, we shot a bunch of footage using the Kodak Zi8, Flip MiniHD and Flip UltraHD. The new MinoHD seemed to shoot smoother and sharper video than the Kodak Zi8, but the MinoHD trails noticeably in color accuracy and highlight definition. We also noticed that while colors are vibrant, they tend to bleed a bit in some footage.

Flip camcorders have traditionally smoked their pocket-camcorder competition in taking low-light video, and the new MinoHD ups the ante even further. The footage it takes in low-light conditions is at the head of the pocket-camcorder class, rivaling and even surpassing the low-light video of full HD camcorders that cost five times as much. Compared with the video we got from our former pocketable low-light champion, the Flip UltraHD, the improvements are stunning. And compared with results from the Kodak Zi8, the MinoHD's colors are vastly more accurate and its shadowy areas are far more clearly defined.

Like previous editions, the new Flip MinoHD has a flip-out USB 2.0 connector, which pops up switchblade-style from the top of the device. It also sounds more like a switchblade in this version, due to the fact that the refined connector is now entirely metal. That's a significant upgrade from the plastic-hinged connector on previous models, especially since it's such an important part of the device: The USB connection handles both battery charging and offloading clips to your computer, and the plastic connectors on previous models felt like they could snap off easily.

The new connector is an aesthetic upgrade, as well. When you press the switch on the side of the MinoHD to flip it out, it's pleasantly minimalistic. When it's closed, it stays flush with the top of the device, adding to the MinoHD's slick looks. It's one of two connectors on the device; the new MinoHD has an mini-HDMI port on the bottom of the unit for watching videos on an HDTV set, which is another addition over the previous MinoHD. (You get no HDMI cable in the package, however.)

The basic controls are identical to those of the older Flip MinoHD. The big red button below the LCD screen starts and stops recording. Touch-sensitive controls flanking the button let you manage the zoom and scroll through videos during playback. Directly below the LCD screen are two touch-sensitive divots to control playback and delete videos. While the operation and layout are the same as on the first-generation MinoHD, the responsiveness of the controls seems a bit better. The new MinoHD also has a very smooth 2X digital zoom; the zoom is the best we've seen on a pocket camcorder, but that's not saying much.

The revamped FlipShare software, which installs and launches as soon as you plug the camcorder into your Windows or Mac OS X computer, has a couple of new tricks of its own. In addition to YouTube and MySpace integration, the new FlipShare software now supports direct-to-Facebook uploads. It also offers a feature called MagicMovie, which stitches together samples from your video clips, inserts basic transitions, and lets you add title sequences and music to your movies. They're welcome additions for anyone who plans to use the FlipShare software for managing and editing clips. For owners who don't, the Flip also supports dragging-and-dropping clips from the camcorder to your hard drive.

The sum of all these parts is arguably the best HD pocket camcorder out there. Kodak's 1080p-shooting, digitally stabilised Zi8 is still a notch above the new Flip in bright-light video quality, frame-rate controls, and overall features, but it has some nagging usability issues that keep it from being the outright pocket-camcorder champ. The second-generation Flip MinoHD beats it in low-light footage, usability, durability, and design. Those people heralding the Apple iPod Nano as a "Flip killer" had it dead wrong: With this iteration of the MinoHD, Flip Video has created the iPod of camcorders.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Read more on these topics: pocket camcorders, digital video, camcorders
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?