A couple of days ago, I gave my opinions on a movie and a couple of CD's. I realized that I have yet to give my review of my newest toy, The Flip!
This little guy is incredibly easy to use. For someone who just wants to upload short videos onto the Web, like me, it's perfect. It will hold up to 2 hours of video, and I can see myself using it for longer videos, such as vacation shots. I wouldn't say that it's high quality video, but for a casual user, it does just fine.
First of all, it's amazingly light. When I took it to our recent dinner, Shane couldn't believe how light it was! Very easy to cart around--it's actually lighter than my digital camera. It uses 2 AA batteries, and I use the same rechargeables I use for my camera. There are few buttons to mess around with--the red button turns the recording on and off, there's a play and delete button, and there's a 2x zoom. There's an internal microphone that seems to work fairly well. It has 2G of internal memory, and does not use a memory card. I was a little surprised that it didn't come with a larger instruction manual--it was basically a four-fold card--but when I started playing with it, I realized that a larger manual wasn't really needed. It IS that simple to use.
I've taken and uploaded a couple of videos, as well as sent one to Shane in an email. The "flip" part of it is the USB arm that swings out and attaches right to your computer. If I were using a tower rather than a laptop, I'd be tempted to use a cable to attach the camera to the computer, in order to not stress the USB arm too much. When you attach it to your computer, the power is supplied by the computer so you don't wear down the batteries as quickly. The Flip software is fairly self-explanatory, and you can edit videos. (My recent bat video went from 3 and a half minutes to under 3 minutes, for example.) You can save your videos to your computer, email them, and upload easily to AOL Videos and YouTube. (There are probably ways to upload to other sites, but I'm not sure why you would want to.)
All in all, I think this is one of the most ingenious little things I've seen in a while. It's not for the serious videophile, and I wouldn't use it for taping things like weddings! But for the casual user--again, me--it's excellent. Two thumbs--and a USB arm--up!