Friday, October 1, 2010

You’ll flip out over the Flip SlideHD


By Scott Koegler

I've used nearly every version of the Flip video cameras... you know, the tiny video cam that started a revolution in video sharing? The latest one that I'm using is the SlideHD.

I was initially uncertain about how I would like using it, primarily because it's actually larger than its predecessors. But I think I'm over that.

The main difference, or improvement, in the Flip Slide is that the front screen slides off the side of the body and flips up at an angle. This makes for easy viewing of your video clips right on the camera.

Not that you couldn't already view your clips on previous models -- of course you could. But on the Slide, the entire front panel becomes a viewing display when it's slid up, as shown in Figure A, rather than the 2" display (or 1.5" on the older models) on the Flip MinoHD.


The Flip Slide slides out. (click for larger image)

The video quality is still great. It can capture as much as 4 hours of video in full High Def (720p), and as with previous models, Flip has optimized the quality of the image so that it's great in almost all lighting conditions, and pretty good even in awful lighting conditions.

Using the SlideHD

Operation of the SlideHD is similar to the MinoHD, with the On/Off button on one side of the camera and the USB connector release on the other side. But because the whole front of the camera is now a touch-enabled display, the camera controls for play, zoom, and volume that were previously touch areas are still touch sensitive areas on the display.

In operation, the buttons and controls act just as their physical counterparts do on the MinoHD models, however the red Record button doesn't provide any tactile feedback since it's just an image.

I had come to rely on being able to feel the button on previous models, and found myself missing the button at times on the Slide. That said, I probably should be watching the screen, in which case, I would be able to see the button I was trying to push.

The SlideHD includes a headphone jack and HDMI out port at the bottom of the unit. This makes the SlideHD great for either private listening or large screen viewing. But what is most convenient about the SlideHD is its, well... its sliding screen.

Most of the time, when I shoot video clips with a Flip camera, I want to show it to the people I've just recorded. With the Flip SlideHD, I just push the top panel to the side, and it tilts up at an angle. That lets me lay the unit down on a table and play the video on its 3" display.

OK, it's not a 42" big screen, but at a picnic or party, the 3" display is plenty for my friends to get a good view of the action. And it's small enough to make the viewing group intimate.

There are two ways to interact with the viewing screen on the SlideHD. The first is to simply touch the display. It is responsive, and lets you swipe across the display to scroll between your recorded videos. You can also access setup controls like timeout duration, date/time, and create shortcuts to your favorite videos.