Flip tends to get most of the attention when it comes to mini-HD camcorders, but there are more things to pay attention to besides name brand. Here are five things you should consider when purchasing a new Mini-HD camcorder:
1. Quality: Look for resolution and color quality. It should capture between 720 and 1080p HD video. Also keep in mind what kind of angle you want. The Creative Vado HD has a very wide-angle lens compared to other models.
2. Storage Space: A lot of camcorders will have built-in flash memory. The Vado and the Flip UltraHD, for example, has 8 GB, while the Kodak Zi8 Pocket Video Camera only has 128 MB. This may seem like a huge problem, but actually, it has a SD Memory Card slot, which allows the videographer as much space as he or she needs/chooses. This can be incredibly helpful if you plan on shooting a lot of video, but won't have the opportunity to transfer files back to your computer as often.
3. Ease of File Transfers: Most of these camcorders are built to be extremely user-friendly. Usually you can just plug a USB into your camcorder and your computer, and it can go straight to YouTube. But, be SURE to check that the camcorder can transfer files to your computer. Even if they transfer via USB, a lot of devices come with their own transfer and editing software, and not all of them are compatible with both Macs and PCs.
4. Price: A $200 Mini-HD camcorder is never going to shoot the kind of quality video that a regular flash or hard drive-based HD camcorder would. But for a couple hundred bucks, it's quite a deal. But you really shouldn't be spending more than that (not including shipping and sales tax).
5. Reviews: Name-brands aren't everything. Flip might be the most well-known right now, but that doesn't mean the UltraHD is the best for you, nor preferred the most by consumers. You can easily read reviews of most camcorders here on ZDNet by plugging the name of the product in the search field at the top of the page, select "Reviews" in the drop-down menu and click on the magnifying glass icon.
What else do you look for when searching for a Mini-HD?