It seems like every consumer electronics vendor is coming out with a pocket camcorder these days, with big names like HP and Panasonic jumping on the bandwagon recently. Well, Flip Video (now owned by Cisco), which started the trend a few years back, is fending off the competition with a new and improved linuep of its own pocket camcorders, including a new version of the company's popular UltraHD.
The new UltraHD 2 Hour adds image stabilization and a new accessory port, as well as a slimmer body design, and has increased the frame rate for 1280x720 video recording to 60 fps (up from 30 fps in its predecessor). As with all the Flip Video camcorders, it still uses the flip-out USB connector for charging and connecting to a computer, and includes pre-loaded FlipShare software for easy editing and uploading to online sharing services. A new "Designed for Flip" program, which takes advantage of the accessory port (dubbed the FlipPort), enables third-party vendors to design Flip-compatible accessories. The company announced a handful compatible accessories available with the launch, including a wide angle lens, enhanced external microphones, waterproof cases, battery chargers, and a pocket projector.
The updated UltraHD 2 Hour is 25 percent slimmer and lighter than the previous version at 4.48 ounces and 2.11x4.16x0.88 inches (vs. 6 ounces, 4.25x2.19x1.17 inches), though still not as slim as the MinoHD line (which has also been updated with two new models). Instead of using a AA NiMH rechargeable battery pack (or two AA batteries) like the original, the new UltraHD 2Hour uses a slimmer Lithium-Ion rechargeable. Unfortunately, the lighter battery comes at the cost of battery life, which is now rated at 1.5 hours, down from 2.5 hours, and means you can no longer use easy-to-find AA alkalines in a pinch.
Look for the new UltraHD 2 Hour to ship in October for $200 (the same price as its predecessor) along with a new $150 4GB non-image stabilized version, the UltraHD 1 Hour, which shoots 1280x720 video at 30 fps, retains the bulkier body design, and uses standard AA batteries (a rechargeable pack is optional). The UltraHD 2 Hour will be available in white and black like the previous 2 Hour model, while the UltraHD 1 Hour will come in white with magenta, blue, or gray highlights (similar to the existing standard definition Ultra model). The entire new lineup (including both UltraHD models and both MinoHD models) can also be customized with your own graphics or images, or you can pick from thousands of designs available from Flip Video (previously, customization was only available for the MinoHD line).