The Pure Digital Technologies’ Flip Camcorder, affectionately known as “The Flip,” has quickly become one of the best-selling camcorders. We decided to review one to see why this small video cam is so popular.

At first glance, the brightly-colored Flip looks like a toy camera. Our first thought was, “This can’t be the device that garnered more than 13% of the camcorder market in just one year.” The Flip Ultra that we reviewed is a diminutive 4.17" x 2.16" x 1.25” (10.6 cm x 5.5 cm x 3.2 cm). To make the analogy to the toy camera even more real, at 5.2 ounces (150 grams), it is so light that it doesn’t feel terribly substantive.

The Flip Ultra comes in white and silver, orange and white, pink and white, green and white, and black and silver. The cases of the white, orange, pink and green models are a shiny plastic that gives the entire device a very cheap almost imitation look.

The black and silver Flip that we reviewed, however, was amazingly more substantial-looking. The only difference is that the black is a matt finished material that has a rubberized look. This finish is also easier to hold and makes the Flip feel better in the hand. Our advice is that if you decide to buy a Flip, you check out the different cases before you purchase. The colored cases are cute, but the black and silver case makes the camera look like a more serious device.

When compared to other camcorders, the Flip doesn’t have the sharpest image, the highest megapixel count, or the most features. In fact, it doesn’t even come close to the best in any of these  camcorder areas.

What it does offer is simplicity and convenience at a good price (suggested retail price as of this review is $149.99, but can be found between $100 and $140). Its popularity may well be based on the fact that because the hardware and software is so easy to use, you can feel like a video expert in no time at all!

As shown in Figure 1, everything you need is in the box. This includes: The Flip Video Ultra Camcorder, a soft carrying pouch, a wrist strap, a  TV cable, two AA batteries, and a Quick Start Guide.

Flip Ultra Camcorder ReviewFigure 1: What’s in the box.


Sandy Berger, respected computer authority, journalist, media guest, speaker, and author, has more than three decades of experience as a computer and technology expert. Her eight books include: How to Have a Meaningful Relationship with Your Computer, Your Official Grown-up’s Guide to AOL and the Internet, Cyber Savers –Tips & Tricks for Today’s Drowning Computer Users, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Better Living through Technology, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to the Internet, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Gadgets & Gizmos, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Online Health & Wellness, and Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Online Travel. Sandy’s newspaper column, magazine articles, feature stories, product reviews, and computer tips can be found at her website, Compu-KISS.