Flip meets its match

And it looks like a death match to me, writes executive peripherals editor Nigel Harris.

To recap: the Flip is the cool, mobile phone-size digital video camera that was meant to propel the gadget crowd onto YouTube and create a video blogging phenomena. It comes in a variety of colours and two picture qualities – basic VGA at 640 x 480 resolution, or HD at 1280 x 720. It certainly looks cool, and it does what it says on the tin. Pop out the built-in USB plug, connect it up to your PC and the software provided makes it a doddle to upload your footage straight onto YouTube. Battery capacity is a bit limited, especially on the original Ultra model that relied on two AA batteries, but the newer Mino model comes with a decent rechargeable power pack. Recording time is 60 or 120 minutes on the 4GB or 8GB solid state memory. And that's about it.

But just when the Flip was about to mop up the pocket digi-cam market the new iPod Nano came onto the scene this month, and it pretty much destroys all before it! OK, it only manages the lower 640 x 480 resolution, so if you want better resolution – perhaps to display full-screen video – it's not really the answer, but for YouTubers it just about has all they need.

What's more, with 8GB or 16GB of storage, the Nano can hold 8 – 16 hours of video. Easy download and YouTube uploading is catered for, plus you get all the features of an iPod music and video player, and now there's also an FM radio receiver too. Did I mention it comes in orange? And pink, blue, turquoise, silver, black... You can see more at the Apple website.

I know I'm becoming a bit of an Apple fanatic, but I have to say the new Nano is everything that the Flip set out to be, and a whole lot more besides. It's certainly worth the higher price tag (Flip seems to have cut its prices to differentiate its products, and this will probably give them quite a boost). The battle is on, my money's on Apple but I reckon there's still some mileage left for Flip if they're smart with their pricing and manage to upgrade memory and battery life on their units.

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