We found plenty of things not to like about the second-generation Flip MinoHD, but its sleek, compact design was not one of them. With the new SlideHD, Flip throws out this most likeable asset, preserves the ho-hum feature set, and backpedals on features like usability. The SlideHD, advertised as a kind of pocket camcorder and TV in one, adopts a slide-out three-inch screen for sharing videos, along with 16GB of internal memory for up to four hours of recording. While clever in theory, the touch screen mucks up formerly idiot-proof controls, fattens the whole device, and at $280, drives price right to the edge of “real camcorder” territory.
Design and Features
From the front, you might mistake the Flip SlideHD for a version of the chunky, AA-battery-powered Flip UltraHD. With the same 1/4.5-inch, 1.6-megapixel CMOS sensor and fixed-focus optics, the guts have remained stagnant, explaining the nearly identical business end. But flip it around and things have changed. Rather than a 2-inch screen, the SlideHD boasts a large 3-inch model covering the majority of the backside. A sideward shove glides the whole rear panel over an inch, where it pops up to 45 degrees for tabletop viewing and reveals a touch-sensitive control strip below. Voila: A pocket-sized device that’s as much a camcorder as a mini theater.
An HDMI port for plugging this guy into a real home theater can be found on the bottom, along with a headphone jack and 1/4-inch tripod mount. The power button is on the right, and the flip-out USB port gets moved to the top, with a release on the left. Unfortunately, this model reverts to the cheaper-feeling plastic arm, rather than the tough metal one found on the MinoHD. However, there’s plenty of metal to go around the rest of the chassis and even the sliding mechanism, leaving the SlideHD to feel quite sturdy in the hand. The front on our model came dressed in a shiny white coating, but like all Flip cams, you can deck it out with number of different designs and even your own uploaded photos when you order it from Flip.
Though not quite as fat as the 1.17-inch thick UltraHD, the SlideHD’s depth of 0.98 inches doesn’t exactly flatter it, especially when the cheaper MinoHD measured a full third thinner. It still qualifies as a pocket camcorder, but you’ll definitely feel the extra bulk smashed into your Levis.
Buried in Flip’s undeniably slick packaging, you’ll find a soft microfiber pouch and a wrist strap. That’s really all you really need, considering you can both charge and transfer data through the built-in USB plug, but an HDMI cable for watching videos on the big screen should have been an obvious addition for a camera that makes sharing its primary goal. Other manufacturers, like Kodak and Creative, have made this inexpensive add on a staple.