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March 17, 2011 8:44 PM   Subscribe

Help me figure out how to get the video capabilities of a Flip Ultra in a smartphone.

I'm entering a masters in education program soon, and I'm supposed to buy a recording device capable of at least "60-90 minutes of high-quality video with sound", so I can record myself teaching. They strongly recommend the Flip Ultra.

However, I've been thinking I'd like to switch to a smartphone, so it would be nice if I could just buy a smartphone that can do what the Flip Ultra can do instead of a smartphone + a separate video recording device. Any recommendations?

I've been leaning towards an Android phone of some kind, b/c I like messing around with my devices, and the iPhone seems of annoyingly restrictive in that regard, but I'm pretty clueless about what's out there, and was hoping y'all could give me a leg up. Thanks!
posted by Salvor Hardin to Technology (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
While you may dislike iPhone (see, no 'the'—where's my cheque, Apple?), keep in mind it can be jailbroken which will allow you a wide latitude to mess around (and even mess up) the device.

iPhone 4 has a fantastic camera and does pretty great video.

This says the maximum record length is 50 minutes per video, but perhaps you could recruit a friend to start the video again if it cuts out? I imagine if you wanted to record fairly lengthy things, you would be better of getting the 32gb model.

The advantages of iPhone qua camera are not insignificant, such as this nifty little stand for it and the iMovie editing app.
posted by oxford blue at 12:48 AM on March 18, 2011

My galaxy S android (Captivate, ATT, rooted w/ a new rom) records video at 720p stock. It'll throw 1080 over micro-hdmi too. Mic isn't all that hot, but it's pretty good. I recorded a wedding with it once just fine.

Recording time is limited only to the amount of space on the SD card. With an 8gb card with something like 6.5gb available, I think my record time in 720 was something like an hour and 20 minutes. Bigger card = more minutes.

The challenge with recording video on any mobile phone is that, AFAIK, the screen will stay on, which will mean it will suck down your battery with a quickness. You're probably going to want it plugged in whilst it's recording.

Any of the most recent generation androids are going to do HD video, really it's a question of carrier to see who would recommend what. Android phone chips are on the tetering edge of dual core (available, but not yet released AFAIK.), with some pretty badass new software developments in both Froyo and Gingerbread. Froyo bests iOS4, and Gingerbread makes it look 2 generations old---with the hardware if nothing else. I'm anti-iphone, but don't want this thread to turn in to apple-wars 500.

The headphone jacks of just about all devices will allow you to plug in a mic, so that shouldn't be an issue.

So...tell us your provider and we'll give you more insight.
posted by TomMelee at 4:26 AM on March 18, 2011

"Froyo bests iOS4, and Gingerbread makes it look 2 generations old"

Saying Android stuff is better than iOS in multimedia, UI or hardware design is a stretch. Not that Android isn't significantly better in some areas, but "looks newer!" is not the same as "looks better!" just like "does more stuff!" doesn't mean "does stuff better!"

I wouldn't do it with a phone for the aforementioned battery issues. A dedicated video camera is just plain going to be easier to deal with with long videos and it's cheaper device to replace when some kid inevitably bumps the tripod and it falls to the ground. Adding in a power cord to keep the phone charged is just going to increase that risk. The Flip is exactly what you want here, IMO.
posted by pjaust at 6:38 AM on March 18, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks for all the advice folks. I hadn't considered the battery issue - good to think about.

My current "dumbphone" works on Verizon, but there's no particular reason I can't switch if the perfect solution is only available with another carrier.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 8:15 AM on March 18, 2011

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