Gadgets and Games

Want a Great Pocket Cam? Skip the New Flip



The company that launched the mini-camcorder revolution with its Flip line-up of cameras, is back at it again with a new camcorder, the Flip Slide HD. 

This time there's no revolution. It's more of an abandonment of the throne.

I'm not easily confused -- scratch that, I'm not easily confused by most new gadgets that hit the market. Most gadgets make sense even if the design misses the mark. But I'm nonetheless really confused by the new Flip Slide HD. It's as if design and functionality never talked to each other, never found out what the other was doing.

The Flip Slide HD features a large, white, clunky body with a slide-out screen. It felt cheap in my hand compared with last year's elegant, all aluminum Flip Mino. It's bigger than the Mino and it takes up more space in my pocket. If my friends didn't know me they'd think I've taken to smoking cigarettes due to the large box-shape in my pocket.

The screen awkwardly slides out for better viewing of your videos. And that leads to the part that made no sense to me: To play videos with the screen flipped up you can either tap the touch-screen or use the weird slide strip underneath the screen. But to switch to another video you only get the choice of using the slide strip. 

Also, the screen kept popping open in my pants pocket while I was casually walking. And no, I wasn't wearing super skinny jeans.

I took the Flip Slide HD outside to the park and had difficulty seeing the screen in sunlight. And it's difficult to shoot and play back video when you can't see what you're doing, a problem I didn't have with previous Flip models.

The Slide HD does away with physical control buttons in favor of on-screen digital controls. And I found the new on-screen buttons simply terrible. Just about every time I tried to stop the video from recording, the on-screen controls were slow or unresponsive. I now have tons of one second videos on the device because it kept stopping and starting.

The only thing new and noteworthy is the storage capacity. With 16 gigabytes of storage, it has the largest capacity of any of the Flips. In non-tech speak that's about 4 hours of video.

I'm also not a fan of the price tag. This fatter flip costs $279.

Don't get me wrong, I've been a fan of the Flip line of camcorders ever since they burst onto the market in 2007. Especially the previously mentioned Mino with it's sleek aluminum design. The idea was genius: take the video picture quality of a larger camcorder, shrink it down, and let me slide it effortlessly into my pocket, ‘flip' out the USB stick, sync it easily with my computer, and share with YouTube with a few clicks. Every year they've turned out a better product until now. The new Flip Slide is a departure from what made Flip popular in the first place, portability and ease of use.