For my wife’s birthday, she asked if I could get her a device called the Flip Mino Video Recorder. Since we already have a relatively new video camera (which we practically never use), I was a bit reluctant to spending money on another one. But, it was my wife’s birthday request so I decided to check it out at the manufacturer’s web site (www.theflip.com).
We currently own a palm-sized Panasonic video recorder which we purchased when my son was born (about 4 years ago). After using the recorder on-and-off for the first 6 months, we hardly used it because it was a bit bulky and difficult to use (too many buttons, options, etc). Charging it was a pain, and we needed to deal with a DAT tape (rewinding, fast forwarding, erasing) and then transferring from video tape to digital format on my home computer. As such, we never used the video recorder.
My wife fancied the Flip Mino because it was a very small video recorder that was very simple to use. It stores the video in FlashROM and can record up to 1 hour of video. It also had just a few buttons, making it very easy to use. In addition, the built-in USB connector allows you to quickly connect the Mino to a PC for downloading the video files (AVI format).
Because it was a birthday request (which saved me from trying to find her a good gift), I ordered it online at Amazon.com having it delivered just before our beach vacation trip. My wife was surprised to get her gift early, but had a chance to put it to use during our 3 day vacation.
Now, the Mino is touted for creating YouTube videos, but it actually performed very well for videos in general. I was very impressed with the quality of the recorded AVI files when compared to the videos that I transferred from my old traditional video recorder to PC. With my old recorder I had a lot of video tearing which looked bad (probably from the transfer process), but the Mino recordings were very bright and clear (no video tearing). It was very easy to use (just press the red button to record), and transferring to my laptop PC was a snap.
The Mino also has video management software for your PC which allows you to view and manipulate your recorded videos, as well as obtain snapshot images and make edited movies.
The best part of the Mino was the small size, as I could simply slip it in my front pants pocket. I highly recommend this portable video recorder if you want a small device for capturing impromptu videos that is easy to use, and can stay within the 1-hour recording limit.