Flip SlideHD Review

By Paul Riegler on 26 June 2010
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The original Flip Mino was built on the premise of simplicity and has already spawned several generations of easy-to-use, point-and-shoot mini camcorders.  Subsequent Flip mini camcorders built and improved upon the original concept.

The new Flip SlideHD promises a “shoot and show” experience (the “world’s first” according to the Web site).  The SlideHD’s designers clearly had the millions of touchscreen smartphone users who watch videos on the go in mind and see the SlideHD as  a device people will gather around to watch what was just shot.

That’s the concept.  In practice, it doesn’t work so well.

The design of the SlideHD, compared to the sleek, aluminum-clad MiniHD, is a step backwards.  Compared to the MiniHD, all things being relative, the SlideHD feels massive and doesn’t tuck into your pocket comfortably like many of the earlier Flip camcorders.

The greatest limitation here is the SlideHD’s 3” display.  While this is fine for personal viewing (as was the smaller display on earlier Flips), it’s simply too small for group viewing, the underlying tenet of the “shoot and show” experience.  The tiny speakers that frame the display on the left and right sides sound exactly as you would expect tiny speakers to sound.

Using the SlideHD is still reasonably simple.  Most functions are handled through the touch screen and there are dedicated buttons for power and flipping out the USB connector.  The bottom has a mini-HDMI port, a threaded tripod mount, and a headphone jack but still no mic jack.  The built-in 16 GB memory is sufficient for four hours of shooting, but it is not expandable. The battery is still rated at two hours, which means that the Flip’s recording capacity significantly outdistances its ability to stay on.

The touch screen controls include play, delete, record, and four-way navigation.  They take up part of the screen real estate when recording and, even though the picture rotates when holding the camera horizontally, the video stays vertical.  The touchscreen controls worked well but I was surprised to find that Flip didn’t take greater advantage of the touchscreen and provide the type of controls users have been seeing on smartphones since the original iPhone was introduced in early 2007.

In all, it’s not a bad unit, but the $279 price moves the Flip line into competition with more fully-featured camcorders, and the lack of macro focus, a mic jack, image stabilization, and multiple resolution options may make many customers look elsewhere.

$269.99 at amazon.com

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