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The Flip Video camera's brilliance is in its simplicity. Just click the on switch, point and shoot! To record, press the big red button on the back of the Flip (you can not miss it!) To stop recording, hit the red button again. It really is that simple!

The interface is basically the same whether you're using the original, early model Flip Video, the popular Flip Ultra, or the new Flip Mino. Of course, each version has gotten a bit smaller, slicker and a bit more expensive.

As of this writing, the original Flip Video retails for $ 129.99 (USD), though we've seen it as low as $ 89! The original has 1GB memory and holds 60-minutes of video. The colorful Flip Ultra, in your choice of five, bright colors, has 2GB space and room for 60-minutes of video. The Ultra retails for $ 149.99 (USD). The newest addition to the Flip family is the Mino, also with 2GB and 60-minutes of video recording time. The Mino runs $ 179.99, but is smaller and has an internal battery. Earlier models require 2 AA batteries. The new Mino also adds some increased functionality, such as pause, fast-forward and rewind functions for playback.

On all models, after you're done with your one-touch recording, you "flip" the camera's USB arm open, plug it into your computer's USB port, and launch the built-in software and you're ready to share your video! The Record-Connect-Share process is fast and easy.

Once you've got your video on your computer, you've got options for e-mailing your video, or publishing directly to YouTube, AOL Video, and with the Mino, to MySpace, as well. With the e-mail function, you can send a link to your video, or share a greeting using their private online greeting templates. You can also save and organize your videos to your computer, or as an email attachment.

The Flip's features even allow you to create your own "movie mix," by adding music or built-in effects. In addition to the auto-upload to YouTube, you can save your video to upload to other video-sharing websites. You can also organize your videos with the Flip's video library.

The minimal controls on the Flip keep things simple, too. You can record, playback, or delete your unwanted "takes" with a couple of obvious buttons. There are also controls for zoom (not much) and volume. As indicated above, the Mino adds pause, fast-forward and rewind options.

All the Flips come with a tiny, but adequate 1.5 "(diagonal) LCD screen, and the video quality and resolution is remarkable for such a low-priced camcorder.The video format output is MPEG-4 AVI, a reliably user-friendly format Two AA (alkaline) batteries should give you up to 2 hours of continuous use, so bringing extras if you're planning a trip or heavy use.

The handy, little Flip cameras weigh just over 5 ounces, and the Mino is a mere 3.3 ounces. The Ultra and the Mino have a tripod mount on the bottom, and all models have a built-in microphone and speaker. The cameras include a TV-out jack so you can connect your Flip to a television. You can also snap still photos from the Flip video.

Editing video on the Flip itself is very limited, but you can change the start and end points of your video. In addition, the "movie maker" function gives you a choice of six movie styles or "effects."
As for the built-in Flip Video software program, the minimum requirements for Windows are as follows: Intel Pentium 4.2.0 GHz, Windows XP SP2 w / 512MB of RAM, or Visa w / 2GB of RAM, and USB port. Requirements for the Mac are: Power PC G4 1.0 GHz or Intel Core, w / 512MB RAM, OS X Tiger 10.4 or Leopard 10.5, and USB port.

Five Fun Uses for the Flip:

Because of its small size, convenience and use of use, The Flip is perfect for getting video on the fly … Here are 5 ways to use your Flip:

  • Citizen Journalism – Capture news as it happens, then sell your footage to the TV tabloids for big bucks!
  • Undersea Adventure – Yes, you can buy a waterproof case for your Flip, and tape your underwater antics!
  • Ride Along – Take your Flip on tour as you ride your bike, rollerblade or even ski! Just use the handy $ 15 attachment accessory!
  • Family Album – The Flip is perfect for taping your kid's soccer games, baseball plays, band concerts or recitals. Aside from its limited zoom capabilities, the Flip was made for capturing family events and activities.
  • Vlog it – Turn the camera on yourself and start your own videoblog or online diary. You can tape yourself with your Flip and upload your video to YouTube or AOL video in minutes. It's never been easier to get video online!

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