Cisco announced yesterday a refresh to their line of Flip UltraHD and MinoHD pocket camcorders, a welcome update in time for the holiday shopping season, and one that reasserts their primacy in the popular pocket camcorder category.
The key update is image stabilization. It’s crucial for smoothing out footage with a walk-around video camera like a Flip, but it’s been absent from previous models despite its inclusion on notable competitors like the Kodak Zi8 and Playsport.
Also updated is the sensor, which now allows for 720p recording at 60 frames per second, up from 30. It’s still a step lower than the 1080p recording available on most competitors, though 720p offers the advantage of smaller file sizes and easier uploading.
Other notable changes include slight body redesigns, and the addition of an accessory port, which can be used to hook up external storage devices, a pico projector, or an external mic. It’s a pretty cool way to expand the functionality of such a basic camera.
Otherwise, these new Flips offer the same dead-simple interface that millions of people love, complete with the big red record button and swing-out USB arm.
All these updates are available on the UltraHD 8GB model, as well as the MinoHD 4GB and 8GB models. The UltraHD 4GB model features the body redesign and accessory port, but does not have the new sensor or image stabilization.
We’ve been wary of recommending Flip camcorders this year, since so many competitors leapfrogged past them in terms of performance (if not popularity). The Flip Slide, released earlier this year, was a flop, an we assumed that was the big new product for 2010, so we’d almost written off the brand as a whole. But, we’re happy to be wrong in this case, and these new models put Flip back up toward the top of the pocket camcorder heap. This holiday season, it’s a battle between Kodak and Flip again.