New toys: Flip Mino and the G1

My Mino

A picture of my Flip Mino, taken with my G1

So I got two new toys recently, one as a birthday present, the other as an early Christmas present. The first is a Flip Mino, a tiny handheld camcorder. Priced at $179.99, these are great little video recorders for those who wouldn’t use one enough to warrant buying something more expensive.  I had already been looking at the Flip Ultra cameras, and then Flip released the Mino and the Mino HD. I took a chance on the Mino, and now that I’ve had it for a few weeks, I think I made the right decision. One of the nicest things about the camera is the simplicity – and this is coming from someone who usually prefers lots of little settings and likes to read instruction manuals. But basic works here; it makes using the device hassle free and fun to use. The picture is great, and you can record about an hour of video on the internal drive. The battery life is great, and recharges with a simple USB connection. Also, the video is saved as simple MPEG (in .avi extension), there is no unneccessary conversion process to get your video. Lastly, what really sold me, to be truthful, was the option to design your own cover if you buy it from the Flip store online. You can upload your own image, use their designs, or tweak some patterns. It makes it fun, and the printing quality of the finished product is fantastic. I had it in my hand five days after ordering it, including a weekend, so don’t worry about it taking a long time, either.

A picture of my G1, taken with my Flip Mino

A picture of my G1, taken with my Flip Mino

Next is the much-hyped, android-powered G1 from T-Mobile. The burning question most want to know is “does it live up to the hype?” Absolutely. But there are caveats. I don’t understand the animousity I’ve seen from some iPhone users concerning this phone – I mean, it is a phone, who cares which one is better, at least enough to sling insults at other people (but then again, it is the internet). Does it outdo the iPhone? Yes and no. If you are looking for something with more applications and add-ons, right out of the box, yes, an iPhone is far ahead right now. Right now. But the G1 has a secret weapon: open source. Considering the G1 has been out about 2 months, and developers haven’t had much time to play with Android, its impressive that there are as many apps as there are. Still, I can’t believe some of the stuff people have developed, instead of more basic customization tools (for instance, you can track your bicycling speed and distance, but you can’t make custom icons yet). I have installed Eclipse and played around with Android a bit, but honestly I have no idea what I’m doing, and I just don’t think I’ll have the time to learn. We’ll see. So, no, the G1 isn’t an iPhone killer, but the Android OS it runs on will be. All in all, I love the G1, and wouldn’t trade it in for anything.

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