Flip Ultra Pocket Camcorder Now in HD

Small, point-and-shoot video cameras have become increasingly popular recently, not just for their small form-factor and ease of use, but also because of their relatively low price tag. Perhaps no line of products exudes the aesthetic of these palm-sized camcorders more than that of Pure Digital Technologies' Flip Video pocket camcorders. Despite the popularity of the Flip Video cameras and the bevy of copycat products from rival manufacturers, Pure Digital Technologies chose to do a stealth launch of it latest camcorder, the Flip Ultra HD.

Even though there is no mention that the product even exists on Pure Digital Technologies' Website, Gary Gannon of GAX Online, purchased one this weekend for $200 from his local Best Buy. (Note: Flip HD Ultra does not appear on the Best Buy Website yet either.) Gannon didn't go into details of the device's specifications, but he did take a number of photos of the unboxing. Gannon did mention, however, that the camera supports 2-hours of recording time and includes an HDMI output. He also said that the camera comes with a rechargeable battery, but that the device can also be used with a pair of standard AA batteries as well.

The Flip Ultra HD is not Pure Digital Technologies' first HD camcorder--that would be the Flip MinoHD, which came out last November. Unlike the Flip MinoHD, the Flip Ultra HD has the slightly larger form-factor of the company's Flip Ultra camcorder. The Flip Ultra HD, however, marks the first Flip Video camera to include an HDMI output; all previous models supported only NTSC TV-out. Additionally, this also marks the first Flip Video camera that can record 2 hours of video--previous models topped out at only 1-hour of video.

Apparently, Gannon wasn't the only one to get his hands on a Flip Ultra HD this weekend and blog about it: Laptop Magazine's Dana Wollman also managed to take one for a spin, and she shared a few more details about the camera: the extra hour of recording comes from a doubling of the internal memory of the Flip MinoHD (8GB versus 4GB), the LCD screen is 2-inches diagonal (the LCD screens are only 1.5-inches diagonal on all other existing models), and the resolution is 720p. If the Flip Ultra HD uses the same 1/4-inch HD CMOS sensor as the Flip MinoHD, then the full resolution should be 1280x720-pixles.

Wollman further adds that the Flip Ultra HD "has the same glossy black surface as the slimmer Flip Mino line," but it lacks the Flip Ultra HD's touch-sensitive buttons. At this price point and form factor, you also eschew some of the more basic features typically found on camcorders, such as "fast forward or rewind playback," and "optical zoom, still photography, or memory card slot."

If the idea of a simple, small, and cheap HD camcorder sounds appealing to you, be aware that the Flip Ultra HD is far from the only "pocket" camcorder out there that fits the bill. In fact, there are other similarly-priced, small form-factor camcorders that pack even more features into their diminutive size, such as the Creative Vado HD ($229.99), the Kodak Zx1 Pocket Video Camera ($149.95), or the Sony Webbie HD ($199.99).

Credit: All images: GAX Online