Flip Video Ultra
Manufacturer: Flip Video
Price: £68 (£80 inc VAT)
Of the three mobile-phone style cameras, the Flip Video Ultra offers the best quality. It isn’t the ultimate in clarity or crispness, but just outdoes its little brother, the Mino, with footage that’s a little sharper and less noisy.
That improvement is largely down to better optics (it has a bigger lens than both the Vado and Mino), as the core specs are all but identical. It records 640 x 480 footage at a smooth 30fps, stores that in MPEG4 AVI format at a bit-rate of 4Mb/sec, and you can squeeze about an hour onto the Ultra’s 2GB of internal flash memory. It also has the same onboard software as the Mino, which allows for basic editing as well as simple YouTube upload and email tools.
One difference between the Ultra and the rest of the cameras here is that it takes AA batteries. That means you can’t charge it over USB (although it will take rechargeable batteries), which is inconvenient. The battery life you get out of a pair is pretty poor, too – up to a claimed two hours for alkalines and five hours with lithium cells.
This rather anaemic battery life, plus the fact that it’s significantly larger than either the Mino or the Vado, means that we wouldn’t recommend the Ultra above the others, notwithstanding its better quality.