Which Best Buy Camcorder

This little gadget is fantastic-when it works. I bought this to video client sessions for my Diploma in Psychotherapeutic Counselling. After a couple of successful recordings I decided it was safe to use it for a recording for my assignment. All was going well until I got home and realised that for no apparant reason it had no sound on playback either on the camcorder or on the computer. The volume was on full and all settings remained unchanged from the successful recordings. I tried to record again but still no sound. I got in touch with Flip via their internet support. They responded quite quickly asking for an example video of the problem which I sent along with a full explanation. After a few days without communication and with the assignment deadline looming I phoned them. The line was terrible and I had to repeat my name, phone number and email address 3 times. I told them I'd been in touch previously and gave them my 'incident number'. They said they were phone support and had nothing to do with internet support therefore no record my 'incident' so I had to go through the whole thing again. After I'd followed his instructions for fifteen minutes he randomly decided that I'd phoned the wrong number and that he couldn't help me afterall and subsequently asked me to phone another number at which point I told him not to worry as I'd be returning it to Amazon (who were fantastic and couldn't have been more helpful by the way!) for a full refund and purchasing an alternative non-Cisco device. 


Three weeks ago, I would have recommended the Flip video to anyone because I used one of the very first basic Flip video devices the company made and I can guarantee that the quality was superb and it is simplicity to use.

But the build quality of the 8Mb HD Ultra? No!

Removing the flimsy battery cover reveals the basic plain pre-painted grey plastic case..and you will sure have lots of time to examine it because this little baby just does not charge. No Way!

Not for me, not for dozens of other customers. Check out the web.

Even when I took it straight brand new from the box the battery was dead, and after 24hrs straight (and several screen messages to say that charging is paused, check battery pack) I've given up.

So I believe has the battery - because it sure gets hot at times.

To charge the unit it has to be plugged into a USB port. On a laptop, that means it is screen down, so you cannot see the screen that tells you its not charging - and if you plug it into a mainstream PC, the unit hangs horizontally out of the front, straining the PC port

So to use it with a standard Pc they recommend buying an 'external lead'

The same applies if you want to watch it through an HD T.V.

It does not have an external jack to plug a mains based transformer into it, and neither is there an external stereo mic jack....and with the poor sounding internal mics this is a definite must have.

Those that are fitted sound really nasty and tinny on playback through a hi fi system and lack any 'natural' sound at all.

When using it, it doesn't appear to have a visible battery indicator either to tell you how much charge is left...you only see that when, and if its charging.

It did work enough to try a 60 second test recording, but even then I found that indoors, under artificial lighting the picture was very grainy and with lots of 'noise'...and the << - >> toggle buttons (when they worked) lacked a positive feel. Plus the colour didn't resemble anything I'd recorded in the room...shades of red in particular.

My opinion of this new device? Its feels cheap and its sure proved unreliable.

It is supplied with a 'limited warranty' but it is obviously not to the high build standard and solid feel which customers expect in this day and age.

It comes with a thin plastic coated wire wrist strap and pouch.

Flip, get your act together. This could and should be a far better product.

Footnote; 19.30pm 31st December 2009

I have just contacted the Flip 'live chat' to resolve this problem and have been given the runaround big time. According to them they have had no interest and say they have no notification of any users having any problems with charging issues!

They do have a customer service telephone number in the UK. It is a premium rate number charged at 10p per minute. The telephone number is 0871 200 0498 - Calls cost up to 0, 10£/min from BT Telephony Plan. Mobile and other providers' charges may vary  

But Which? say:

The Flip Ultra HD is the latest update to Flip's successful line of pocket camcorders. This easy-to-use device can't rival a full-sized HD camcorder for video quality, but it's ideal for uploading clips to YouTube.
The Flip Ultra HD is slightly larger than a modern mobile phone at less than 3cm thick, but it will easily fit into most pockets.There are slimmer pocket camcorders available, however, including the Flip Mino HD.
One major improvement to previous models is the Ultra HD's larger viewing screen. Measuring two inches diagonally, it's still not as large as the screens you can find on some mobile phones, but it is a step up from the postage stamp-sized screens on previous Flip camcorders.
The Ultra HD has an 8GB flash memory built in. This is enough to allow you to record up to 120 minutes of footage at the highest quality setting. You can't use a memory card with the ultra HD, so the flash memory is the only recording means.
Controls and features are few and far between. There are buttons to let you record, play, zoom, delete and scroll through your videos, but not much else, reflecting Flip's ethos of making point-and-shoot filming as straightforward as possible.
The Ultra HD can capture high-definition movies at a resolution of 720p and at a rate of 30 frames per second (fps). Alternative pocket camcorders, such as the Kodak Zi8 and Sony Bloggie range, can record at a rate of 60fps, making motion appear smoother on your videos.
Videos taken on the Ultra HD can have slightly juddering motion, but the camcorder does a decent job of capturing colour distinctions in bright daylight. Shadows and highlights are fairly well contrasted in bright conditions, but the Ultra HD struggles more when you are recording in low light - videos can be much murkier in such conditions.
The Ultra HD's videos are best when viewed on a computer screen. There is significantly more judder in motions when you view them on an HD TV.
Despite its high-definition credentials, the Ultra HD can't produce video to rival larger HD camcorders. However, for YouTube-quality videos, this shouldn't present any problems.
There's no optical zoom on the Ultra HD, only a x2 digital zoom. This noticeably affects the image quality when you zoom and the camcorder won't change focus as you do so, making videos slightly blurry.
Sound quality is not particularly impressive, though this is unsurprising given the Ultra HD's very small internal microphone. It's not possible to attach an external mic to boost sound quality, either.
The Ultra HD has editing and uploading software built in. This is installed onto your computer the first time you connect the camcorder via its built-in USB jack. You may need to use a USB extension cable to make it easier to attach, but you don't get one packaged with this camcorder.
The software itself is easy to use, reflecting the fact that this is a camcorder designed for the YouTube generation. Simple editing of your videos is straightforward and it is possible to upload directly to Facebook or YouTube from the Flip software itself.
Sharing your videos on websites such as YouTube is easy with the Flipshare software, which is simple and clearly designed. However, this software, bizarrely, doesn't let you upload videos in high definition, nor does it let you add titles and descriptions.
To upload videos from the Flip to YouTube in the highest quality, you're better off doing so directly through the YouTube website.
Basic editing of videos is also possible with Flipshare, and it's easy to stitch video clips together in this fashion. You can take snapshots from your videos using the computer software, though the camcorder doesn't let you take still photos.
The battery life is good - our testers found that the Ultra HD can last for 135 minutes on a full charge, though it takes nearly seven hours to fully charge. Unfortunately, your computer has to be up and running to charge the camcorder, so you can't connect the Ultra HD to a switched off or hibernating computer.
Pros: Simple to use, cheap, straightforward uploading software, good video quality
Cons: Thicker than other pocket camcorders, limited features, no still photos

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