Cisco Systems' Flip SlideHD handheld video camera sacrifices its pocket-friendly size for features that include touchscreen navigation, increased storage and video-viewing capabilities.
For years, Pure Digital Technologies, which was acquired by Cisco in 2009, has continuously shrunk Flip video cameras while increasing the screen size and storage. But with the Flip SlideHD, Cisco and Pure Digital is taking a step back, increasing the device's size, but also adding new features that make it easier to share and view video.
The Flip SlideHD video camera has a 3-inch touchscreen that replaces the physical control buttons found on other Flip cameras like the Flip Video Mino. The camera is broken up into two panels, with one that pops up the screen in a slanting position to navigate and watch videos stored on the device. The screen orients to widescreen format once it is slanted.
The lower panel acts as a base to secure the screen. It also includes a small scroll pad to help quickly navigate through the videos. However, users scroll through individual videos once at a time, which could become an issue if the device holds many videos.
Video can be shot by placing the Flip SlideHD back into its normal position. Simply press the red record button on the touchscreen, and recording starts. The screen previews the images being recorded.
The touchscreen interface provides a more intuitive way to shoot video than earlier Flip video cameras with clunky buttons. The Flip SlideHD shot 720p high-definition video and captured the hues and colors of trees in New York's Central Park well. It also took excellent video in low-light conditions. The video camera can shoot and play back video at 30 frames per second.
The device in essence is a portable media player with sophisticated video-shooting capabilities. It can record up to four hours of high-definition video, or store up to 12 hours of content, according to Cisco. The device comes with 16GB of storage. It can run for two hours on a single battery charge.
The Flip SlideHD can be charged by plugging the device into a PC's USB port. Plugging the device also launches the FlipShare software, which allows users to share video on sites like Facebook, MySpace and YouTube with a single mouse click. The device works with PCs and Macs.
But the Flip SlideHD is too big and heavy to place in a pocket, primarily because of the SlideHD's slide-up panel. A lot of Flip's reputation lies on making pocket-friendly devices, so this could be a cause of concern.
NEXT: our expert verdict >>