Flip’s new cameras are flippin’ fantastic

Every once in a while a company brings hardware to the market that just makes sense. In recent years Apple has hogged the spotlight when it comes to new gear that just “clicks”, but the new models of the Flip Mino and Flip Ultra from Cisco subsidiary Flip just released in Canada are not only amazing devices but also pull off the ever elusive goal of improving your digital life.

While many manufacturers pile as many features as possible into their hardware (a sure sign that the engineers are in charge) Flip wisely chose to make their pocket-sized camcorders do one thing very very well; record video and get it into your computer. That’s all they do, and that’s all they need to do. Flip’s philosophy is get the video into your computer as easily as possible, and once it’s there, FlipShare software will take care of the rest, whether its exporting a snapshot, trimming your video or sending it to grandma.

I personally got to play with the Flip Mino HD for the past two weeks, and I can vouch for how useful the little fella is. At 4 gb of onboard memory for an hour of video, the camera is no slouch for gathering footage. But more importantly, by making the camera easy to slip into your pocket (despite decent sound and a head-scratchingly good 720p picture) the whole dynamic of shooting video changes. Instead of having to lug around a pile of gear, you just pull out the Flip, hit one button, and minutes late your video is on the internet. Most of the video interviews that you’ve seen on Techvibes in the last couple of weeks come from these little cameras, and at least for me they’ll definitely be a vital part of future blogging.

Besides the Mino HD, Flip also introduced the Ultra HD, a more rugged camera designed for families with toddlers and other unpredictable environments. Both cameras are also available in cheaper SD models.

Flip has also partnered with Cafe Press to give users the ability to customize the look of their Flip any way they’d like. Users can choose from thousands of different designs, or create and share their own, all to make their Flip more their own.

It’s not often that I don’t have anything negative at all to say about a product, but the Flip is one of those rare bits of gear that not only just works, it’s also tough to think of how I ever did without it.