|At a Glance|
|Product||Cisco Flip SlideHD Camcorder (S1240W)|
|Summary||Cisco's top-of-the line Shoot and Show camcorder featuring a 3.0" screen, simple operation, and up to 4 hours of recording time.|
|Pros||• Simple to use
• Flip Share software supports Windows and Mac OS
• 3" screen
• Records 4 hours 720p (1280 X 720) at 30 fps
|Cons||• Relatively expensive vs. digicam
• No optical zoom
• Walking while recording can produce very jerky images
• Battery not user-replaceable
• Lens not wide angle enough for many indoor situations
When Cisco bought Pure Digital, maker of Flip video recorders, in March of 2009, it was clear that Cisco intended to be a major player in the consumer electronics market. Flip video cameras are known for their ease of use and for the FlipShare software that makes it easy to share your videos online via email, YouTube, social networking sites or in private channels.
The newest addition, the SlideHD, is also the top of the line. Priced at $279.99, it features a 3.0" screen and has 16GB of built-in memory for up to four hours of recording time. Figure 1 shows that, with the exception of the entry level Ultra, all models shoot 720p HD video (1280 X 720) at 30 fps.
Figure 1: Flip camcorder model comparison
Figure 2 shows the front view of the SlideHD. On the left side, you'll find the power button. On the right side, there's a button that releases the swing-out USB connector from the top of the device. On the front, there are two "record" LEDs, one on either side of the lens. (These can be disabled for stealth recording.) The bottom of the camcorder features a standard tripod mount, a jack for stereo headphones, and a mini-HDMI connector so that you can play back videos on your larger flatscreen TV or monitor.
Figure 2: Flip SlideHD Front view
The SlideHD derives its name from the screen which slides open and tilts back to provide a convenient viewing angle (Figure 3).
Figure 3: Flip SlideHD in viewing mode
As you slide your finger across the scroll strip, thumbnails of stored videos scroll across the screen as shown in Figure 4. A tap of the thumbnail plays the video full screen.
Figure 4: Flip SlideHD scrolling through videos
Figure 5 shows the rear view of the SlideHD. The bottom portion of the screen is dedicated to touch controls for record and playback. In playback mode, the left and right arrows advance you to the previous or next video. The "+" and "-" icons adjust the volume. In record mode, the "+" and "-" icons let you control the digital zoom. There's also a battery indicator and an indication of remaining recording time.
Figure 5: Flip SlideHD rear view
There is no optical zoom on the SlideHD (or any other Flip camcorder) and digital zoom is limited to 2X. In both modes, the video appears at the top of the screen. Obviously, for playback, it's much better to slide the screen open so that you can use the full screen for playback.