Review: Cisco Flip MinoHD Video Recorder

By Branko Miletic

I know I am going to get panned for this, but I really like the Cisco Flip MinoHD video camera so much that I am seriously considering not giving my test unit back!

OK, so maybe I’m not a purist in terms of movie recording, but hey, when it comes to simplicity, portability and all round ease of use, the Cisco Flip wins hands down every time.

Now coming with a tripod means that you can use it for many more recording scenarios, including recording without the ‘shakes’ and also recording yourself- if you are that way inclined of course.

When Cisco bought out the makers of the Flip, Pure Digital Technologies nearly 18 months ago, and they brought out the first Flip Mino HD our reaction was lukewarm to say the least. Yet here we are six months later and this latest iteration has us doing a complete 360.

Coming with a 4Gb or 8Gb storage means that you can record at 1280 x 720p at 60 fps for about two hours. Now that is pure gold—and best still, when it’s time to download the output or recharge your Flip MinoHD, you just press the side button, flip the in-built USB and stick it into your laptop or desktop, so ease-of-use comes into play.

The MinoHD comes with a Li-ion rechargeable battery, a two x digital zoom and an iPod-like control panel, meaning Cisco really has taken out the thinking from using a video snapper.

After spending over an hour taking videos of just about everyone and everything, I found the picture quality was not just clear, but even more so when viewed on a high-definition display, like a HD Flatscreen television.  This was done by connecting the camera via the included output jack and cable directly into the television. And downloading the filmed content onto my laptop was also simple.

One complaint I have is over the Flip’s one still missing feature –  a microphone jack so if you wanted to you could connect an external microphone for better quality audio, to match the high-quality video. Pure Digital has gone on record to say that a microphone jack will probably never be added—too bad as if this was the case, the Flip MinoHD would be an even better offering than it is now.

The other annoyance is that you will need decent light when filming with the device. Not that this is too much of an issue, but don’t expect great picture quality if you suddenly decide to film your spouse sleeping in the dead of night. But when you do film something of worthwhile quality, sharing it via the Flipshare function with your Facebook, Twitter or webpage is as easy as 1-2-3.

My last complaint is that maybe the company has gone too far in the miniturisation of this product—making it a bit bigger would not hurt it – I would argue it could help with increasing some of the functionality, like increasing the zoom or adding a microphone.

Currently, the Flip is roughly 10 x 5 x 1.5 cm in size and weighs about 120 gms—making it a bit bigger and a few grams heavier with increased functionality than the previous model.

The Cisco Flip MinoHD video camera with tripod may not be the best thing since sliced bread, but geez it comes close.

Pros:light, easy to use, high quality output, small, handy and an absolute joy to film with.
Cons:Needs a mic jack, better zoom, and cannot handle really bad light.

 4.5 Shacks out of  5