The Flip Mino is about half the thickness of earlier models and is a tad narrower. That shrinks it to about the size of many cellphones. It now can easily be slipped into a hip pocket.
Like predecessors, the Mino produces video that looks surprisingly good, considering the cam's size and simplicity. This model also adds MySpace to the websites where it can upload video with a few mouse clicks. The Mino, like an earlier Flip model, will cost $180 when it goes on sale this fall. It can record 60 minutes of footage.
Pure Digital reportedly will up the resolution in later models, including one that can produce high-definition video. That sounds exciting, but it feeds my concern that Pure Digital might forsake simple for sophisticated.
The Flip has made its mark with its ease of use. I know from experience that a 6-year-old can handle it. Push the red button to record; push it again to stop. Hit the play button to review clips. Plug the built-in USB connector into a PC, and a few mouse clicks later you have video online.
But even the Mino makes some changes I'm not sure I like. First, a sealed-in rechargeable battery replaces the AAs that operated earlier Flips. That helps reduce size, and some might find it more convenient. But I'll miss having an operable video cam no farther away than the nearest store with alkalines.
Electronic touch pads also replace most buttons. The pseudo buttons are easy enough to see because they light up, and they give the camcorder a more elegant look. But I like the tactile feedback of real buttons.
Pure Digital says the Mino isn't designed to replace the earlier Ultra model, whose price is dropping to $150. That's reassuring. I like that the Mino is more stylish and that it will slip into a jeans pocket. I'm just not sure I prefer it.