Michael Arrington says there's one essential problem with cheap, fashionable video cameras like the Flip and the Vado: the quality is worse than what you'll get from a half-decent pocket camera like a Canon Elph.
"So I haven’t actually tried out the new Flip Mino. But I’ve spoken with people who have, and I used the Flip Ultra, which launched late last year, for a while before abandoning it. And I just can’t figure out why people like this thing.
None of the reviews compared the Flip to it’s core competition: normal digital cameras. Instead everyone focuses on the fact that Flip has sold nearly a million units, saying that’s 15-20% of the camcorder market - and the Flip is a fraction of the price of most of those competitors.
The Flip’s video quality (640Ã—480) is much lower than most people would expect from a camcorder. But it happens to be exactly the same resolution as most digital cameras, almost all of which now offer video as well. And nearly 40 million of them sold in 2007. Canon alone sold nearly 9 million digital cameras last year.
The key response–that Flip is easier to use–is directly addressed: the Canon, he says, is just as easy to use. I have a recent Exilim, which comes with a record button on the back that immediately wakes the camera up and starts shooting YouTube-ready video: even easier! For Arrington, it comes down to this: "There is no way I’m going to drag two devices around when I only need one: The Flip loses."