Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery. But a poor imitation can wind up being more like an insult. Memorex’s latest high-definition pocket camcorder is, to be blunt about it, a shameless Flip wannabe that does nothing to surpass — let alone keep up with — the competition.
Despite our gripes and grievances with PureDigital’s “revolutionary” handicam, we’ll admit there are aspects of the Flip that are well worth copying. The pop-out USB (Memorex: check), HDMI port (check), lightweight form factor (check) are all attractive. We’ll even hand it to Memorex for creating a simple-to-use device at a price that’s quite attractive.
On paper, they’ve done a satisfactory job: 720p video, 4 GB of onboard memory and 2.5 hours of battery life. In reality, however, the camera is about as exciting as a bowl of room temperature Quaker Oats. The less-than-stellar “HD” footage doesn’t top what you can capture with a smartphone (ahem, iPhone 3GS). The image stabilization proved virtually nonexistent. And the herky-jerky digital zoom was frustrating and useless.
Obviously, the $130 price tag is one of Memorex’s selling points. And that would be fine, if it weren’t for the fact you can get a Kodak Zi8 that shoots 1080p for only $30 more. Back to the rip-off, er, drawing board.