The big debate over any new toy these days is convergence: do you want one device that does everything decently, or a bunch of devices that do one thing and do them well? Case in point is a gadget like the Flip Mino HD, a pocket-sized camcorder that shoots in sharp 720p video, has 2 hours of onboard recording time, a simple interface, flip-out USB connector, and unabashedly slick looks (hey, metal instead of plastic!).
The video it shoots is crystal clear in daylight, and it switches pretty ably between light and dark rooms. The mic picks up sound without much background buzz, and you can hear someone talking reasonably softly from several metres away. In darker rooms (say, in private karaoke booths at night) the picture suffers for lack of light, but the noise isn’t as bad as most cameras at the same size. The included software makes it dead simple to get your embarassing memorable videos up on YouTube or formatted with music and text. All in all, it’s a tight little package that does exactly what it says on the tin very well.
That said, at £180, it isn’t exactly cheap, and in light of new smartphones that can shoot video nearly as well, the question is whether having an entire separate toy is worth it. For most people, probably not, but if you know you’re going to film a concert moment or have a bulging YouTube account, this is the right tool for the job. [Alex Cole]