11:09 PM

Flip Vs Vado

Posted by Skye |

Over the past few months, I've been busy test driving two camcorders; the Creative Lab Vado HD camcorder and the Pure Digital Flip Mino HD. Both are powerful, inexpensive tools for bloggers, journalists or anyone interested in stepping into HD video recording - especially parents.

Released in 2008 by Pure Digital, the Flip Mino is the world smallest HD video recorder. The camera can record 720p high definition video for approximately one hour. It comes with 4 gigs of onboard memory. The image sensor is CMOS, with a frame rate of 30 fps. The camera has automatic white balance, automatic exposure control and dynamic exposure compensation and fixed focus lens.( To my photography friends you can equate that to a prime lens - more of less) A NTSC cable is included, and has joined the other NTSC cables I have collected over the years. There is also a port for an HDMI connection, but no cable is provided. The camera also comes with a velvety pouch for storage. The online Flip store allows for custom designs of its HD models. For a great example, check out Lord Matt's design.

The Vado HD marketed by Creative Labs provides 720p high definition video for two hours. The software allows the user to select a standard definition video setting as well. There are 8 gigs of memory onboard the camcorder, along with software to do basic video editing. A CMOS sensor shooting video at 30 fps. A wide angle lens and 2x digital zoom come standard. Like the Flip, I consider it to be a fixed lens as well. It comes with an HDMI cable and plastic protective cover, along with the unrestrained adulation of Chris Pirillo

Does this sound geek to you? This can seem a bit daunting if this tech is unfamiliar to you.

Let's briefly review some definitions:

HD or high definition simply means you can see more detail in your video compared with SD or standard definition video. This quality is measured in the number of pixels. The textbook definition of high definition video would have a pixel count of 1080 x 1444. Standard Definition pixels are typically 720 x 480. In essence, the more pixels you have to work with, the more detail is captured in your video. The Mino and Vado shoot at 720p which converted to pixels would be 1280 x 720. Not quite textbook High Definition, but it is real close.

CMOS stands for Complimentary Metal Oxide Sensor. This is where the light let in from your lens is converted into an electrical signal. A rather important component to your camera, it is where the rubber meets the road so to speak.

NTSC cable connects your video camera to you television in order for you to play the video direct from your camera to your TV. I've got a growing collection of these cables.

HDMI stand for High Definiton Multimedia Interface. On a single cable, it supports any type of TV or PC video format. This provided the best quality of video to your home entertainment system.

The Mino and Vado have an impressive 4 second power up time. 4 seconds can make the difference between capturing the scene or watching it pass by while your camcorder is reading its hard drive.

Memory storage is on board and so is the video editing software. With the flick of a USB connector you can download your videos, and the editing software is automatically installed. The software allows you to perform basic editing on your video - you can trim the video, add titles, losing credits and music if you so chose . Directly from the software you can upload your video to YouTube, AOL, MySpace, Photobucket and box.

Both have sleek controls and combined with automatic everything leads to near perfect idiot proofing of the camera. I mean that in a good way. This is a grab and go camcorder that you don't need to waste time fussing with numerous settings. This is a HD camcorder that you can put in your pocket, Hobo or your black hole of a tote bag and head out to a Tea Party or Birthday party.

It is not all sweetness and light with these camcorders. One hour battery life of the Flip Mino HD can throw a monkey wrench into your coverage of an event. In fact, I ran the battery down on the Flip smack in the middle of an interview. Not cool at all. The software is simple and basic, yet I've been unsuccessful at adding titles to my Flip videos. Every attempt to do so has crashed the program. To date, I've been unsuccessful in troubleshooting this annoying problem. The LCD is substantially larger with the Vado in comparison to Flip.

Both camcorders do NOT have lens covers. After pulling the camcorders out of my purse or LowePro slingback, I find the need to frequently clean off smudges before shooting video.

Both are roughly the same size and weight, both have a flippy USB connectors and tripod connections. If you want good video - get to know your inner tripod. This is important since both camcorders do not have image stabilization on board. Sudden movements produce nausea inducing video on both cameras.

For more advanced users, you can bypass the editing software and use your preferred video editing software with raw Flip videos. The Vado requires that you create a movie in .wmv format before using in another video editing system. This has been my experience using Sony Vegas 8 to edit video.

For such small camcorders, they really pack a great video punch! I've included video samples in this post to illustrate the quality of video produced by Flip Mino HD and Creative Vado HD.


Screen capture:


Screen Capture:

Side by side video comparison of the two camcorders - The Vado clip was shot in VGA and the Flip video was shot in 720p.

I will tell you it is tough to place one camera above the other as both have similar good points and manageable annoyances. If pushed, I'd place the Vado HD over the Flip Mino HD - just barely. It comes down to the more vibrant colors recorded on video and the software package - the Vado video editing software is slightly more robust than Flip Mino. Both pack a lot of tech into a small and inexpensive package, you would not go wrong with one or the other.

You can purchase a Flip Mino HD HERE
You can purchase a Creative Vado HD HERE

I've no conflict of interest to disclose. I've not received financial or material compensation from Creative Labs or Pure Digital in exchange for this review.

Clicky Web Analytics