Thursday, April 24, 2008

Mother's Day Tech Gift: Flip Video Camera

So I've been stumbling over what to give my fussy mom for Mother's Day. She's the type to shun expensive gifts, elaborate displays (no flowers, it's superstitious to associate with funerals), and, if I don't pick just right, will ohhhhh-and-awwwww over a nice gift but will also set it aside if she sees no use for it. She's practical to a tee--which is appropriate for a single-mother who raised five children on her own--but it can be quite maddening when her kids wanna give her presents.  

But I think, THINK,  I got the perfect gift for her. A new grandmother, my mom is heads-over-heels over my three-year-old niece and loves to photograph her (with a Canon ELS, we bought her for Thanksgiving).  But she still lugs around a clunky Panasonic video camcorder on family vacations. That's why I think the Flip video camera would be perfect -- small, compact, and easy to use, what's not to love? What makes it unique? It's stupidly simple. Just a red PLAY button to record. No zoom. No blank tapes. Just an embedded USB stick to plug directly into your laptop. It stores 60 minutes of video on AA batteries. If someone's computer illiterate, like my mom is, you can also take it to a retailer, like Walgreens, and they can burn the video on a DVD. How cool is that? 

The video quality ain't too shabby either, I wasn't convinced until my coworker showed off -- no  joke -- video footage of him chilling with Pharrell at a South Beach pool party. Clear and audible.  Perfect for spontaneous moments on the go. It comes in different color trims: silver, pink, green, orange, black...Hmmm...I'm starting to covet one myself. Well, for $131 at Amazon, the Flip Camera is just right. 

PS: If you want to know the tech details, David Pogue of the New York Times did a great review of it: The Flip Ultra Video Recorder. Or click on the video below. 

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