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Flip Ultra and Creative Vado pocket camcorders

Mini cams for the YouTube generation

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Review 2008 has been the year of the small, cheap gadget. Sadly, the standard bearers of the new breed of pocket video cams, the Flip Ultra and Creative's Vado, maybe be small but they're also overpriced.

Such are the similarities between these two devices it's almost beyond belief that they were developed in isolation, a bit like A Bug's Life and Antz.

Flip Ultra

The Flip: has a bright but small screen

Both devices record video at 640 x 480 and 30f/s, and output content as MPEG-4 .AVI files. Both have 2GB of storage holding an hour's worth of content at the top quality setting. Both have 3.5mm TV outputs, a standard camera mount screw, a built-in USB connector and near as darn it identical controls: a central button to stop/start recording, a surrounding navigation pad to zoom digitally - x2 on both devices - and move forward/back, and two separate buttons to play and delete files. Heck, both even have the lanyard eye and the on/off switches are in the same place!

Creative Vado

Creative's Vado: decent screen, nice control layout

There's not much difference in their sizes, either. The Vado is 101 x 54mm, the Flip 105 x 55mm. Due to its removable batteries, the 24mm-thick Flip is decidedly more chunky than the 15mm Vado and heavier too: a battery less 97g to the Vado's 84g all up.

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