I was recently given the opportunity to review the new Flip Slide HD by Cisco. And let me tell you I was both impressed and unimpressed by the device in more ways than one.
So lets start with the look and feel of the camera first. The camera comes in a nice looking package. And when you open the box all you see is the 3” screen that is the new feature for the Slide. The screen itself is very sleek but when taking it out of the box you notice that this camera is basically all plastic casing. Looks more like a toy than an actual camera.
This video camera is really simple to use. Once you hit the power button on the side of the camera , your controls show up on the 3“camera. The controls are the same as they are on the Ultra and the Mino. Nothing has changed except that there are no buttons and everything is touch screen. I found the touch screen to be easy to use. To record you touch the record button and also to stop it. Then to view you touch the arrow and scroll till you find the video you want to watch and hit the play button. Nothing to it. This is where things get a little tricky. When deleting footage you have to select the one you want to delete and then touch the trash can icon. That’s when the camera asks you if you want to delete the file but instead of just being able to touch yes to highlight it you still have to touch the arrow button highlight the yes and then hit the play button. Really inconvenient when having a touch screen where you can just highlight the yes which is what you want to do every time you delete a file.
Now it’s time for the new and improved part of the Flip Slide which is the 3” screen. The screen is able to slide out (hence where they got the name Slide from) so that it sits at a 45 degree angle for viewing. This allows it to sit on any level surface in order to view what you have recorded. Once you slide the screen open the images come up and you can scroll through them by touching the screen which is extra sensitive so you may end up picking footage you don’t want. Or you can use the scroll bar to navigate though your files. This however is a little tricky because it zooms too fast and at times pass the footage you want to see. Once you have finally picked the video all you have to do is tap on the screen and it automatically starts playing to stop the video just tap the screen again or just slide the screen back into position.
Well now that we are done with the functionality of the device. Let me get into the quality of the video. The Flip SlideHD shoots video at 720p just like the MinoHD and UltraHD cams. The only difference is the 16GB of internal memory which is good for up to 4 hours of footage. As far as the quality well if you shoot video outside where there is plenty of light you should have no problem with quality. The picture is very crisp and the colors very bright. When shooting in low light it may be a good idea to carry extra lighting… but who want to carry around extra light when your on the go right? The quality of the picture becomes a little washed out in low light. But the detail is still pretty good for a pocket cam. When shooting indoors you may also want to turn on as many lights as possible.
As far as the sound quality I was really impressed. I tested the sound quality by recording someone playing an electric guitar. The Slide does not pick up any static and the sound coming from the Amp is as clear as day maybe even better than it is live. Usually when using any other kind of device to record sound it picks up the electrical static. There is no better way to test the sound quality than with the sound of an electric guitar.
Action shots are really what this camera is all about right? Being able to whip it out and take a quick shot of people laughing or kids running around being silly. Here is where we get into the camera being unstable which combined with motion blur makes it really hard to get a perfect picture. If you have it on a tripod or sitting on a stable place it works great. Once you have it in your hands the screen is a bit shaky and if you move to fast from point A to point B everything seems to blur together. Also fast movements like someone running or jumping also give off a little motion blur. Which is ok because sometimes you can’t even really see it. There are some mini tripods that you can buy to help with stability, some as low as $10.
The SlideHD runs for about 279.99, while the MinoHD is 229.99 and the UltraHD is 199.99. Now is it really worth the price? I think if the Slide actually came with the accessories that are sold separately at ridiculous prices. For example, if the camera came with the HDMI cable and maybe even the power adapter it may be a better deal. At $280 you can go to a hand held HD camcorder and get better footage with image stabilization. Another thing that Flip could have incorporated to the Slide is some sort of still mode. Some new features to the device would have been nice but they stayed with the same functions as the UltraHD and MinoHD. I believe that Flip could have tried to implement this screen in a thinner device. The device is about 30% thicker than the MinoHD and a bit heavier. I understand that by adding the slide out screen they had to make it thicker but maybe the design could have been taken to another level so that it wouldn’t be that much thicker and still be able to carry it in your pocket comfortably.
One thing that I liked were the touch screen controls. An advantage that I saw with this is that with button controls they tend to stick or get sand, dirt or liquids and eventually won’t work correctly. They will start to stick or even break. With the touch screen buttons there is no possibilities of that happening and the device should last longer this way. At first the touch controls are a little tricky but nothing you can’t get used to.
All in all, the SlideHD is a really nice camera, even though there are a few things Cisco could have done to make it better. I believe that anyone that has never used a Flip camera will be impressed by this little devise but for those of us that are spoiled by the high quality look and feel of the MinoHD this camera will not seem as slick. I would really like to see what the next step for Cisco’s Flip lineup will be. Hopefully something with a little more style and better software than just the same old software they have used.
3” touch screen for viewing
Clear sound quality
16GB of internal memory
Sharp 720p video
Easy to use controls
Does not shoot 1080p video
Much larger than the MinoHD or other pocket cams
The price is not comparable to other pocket cams
Does not include a HDMI cable
No new features like still mode or electronic stabilization
No SD card slot
3 out of 5 Michelas