I’ve been using the Flip Video Ultra Series Camcorder since it came out last September, and while there are lots of things I like about it, there are downsides, such as the size and weight, as well as the need to frequently replace the AA batteries.
So I was excited to try out the Creative Labs Vado Pocket Video Camcorder, which came out a couple weeks ago.
I priced the two cameras, as of May 28, 2008 on Amazon, and the Vado goes for about $90 and the Flip Ultra is about $120.
I prefer the size and weight of the Vado over the Flip Ultra.
The Vado comes in at 84g (with battery) and a size (H x W x D) of 3.9″ x 2.2″ x 0.6″. The Flip Ultra weighs 145g (I think that is without the batteries), and the dimensions (H x W x D) are 4.17″ x 2.16″ x 1.25″.
Both video cameras share some features, such as a tripod mount, built-in mic, USB connection, MPEG-4 AVI video format at 30 frames per second, and 2x digital zoom.
The Vado is better for low-light performance at 3.8V/lux-sec (extremely high sensitivity), compared to >2.0V/lux-sec (very high sensitivity) for the Flip Ultra.
As far as recording capacity, the Flip Ultra can fit up to 60 minutes, and the Vado can record up to 120 minutes (good quality) or 60 minutes (excellent quality). The excellent quality setting on the Vado looks similar to the Flip Ultra quality.
The Vado has a rechargeable battery (included) and the Flip Ultra uses two AA batteries. That’s a big one for me, since I burn through batteries frequently with my Flip Ultra.
Also, the Vado has a 2″ diagonal screen, compared with 1.5″ for the Flip Ultra.
I preferred the software for the Vado over the Flip Ultra.
The Vado software was simple and basic – minimal functionality to copy files from the video camera to your computer, while the Flip Ultra has editing functions (which I don’t use – I prefer editing video with Sony Vegas) and a clunkier user interface.
So overall, I preferred the Vado and at a price that is 25% less than the Flip Ultra, I think it’s the way to go.
But wait – one big deficiency for the Vado. I wasn’t happy about the audio.
When I recorded video with the Vado and Flip Ultra simultaneously from the same distance (approximately 2 1/2 feet), the Vado audio was way lower than the Flip Ultra.
This is something that can be boosted during editing, but I typically don’t have to enhance the audio on the Flip Ultra.