The first week of December has passed and if the Christmas shopping panic hasn't already taken root deep in your brain stem then you're made of some pretty strong stuff. For the benefit of the rest of us simple folk, welcome back to the 12 Days of Christmas according to Pocket-lint where we bring you the kind of solid gift ideas that not only get you out of hot water but are the kind of stuff that'll get you a better present next year in return. Maybe even a Christmas card too.

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love decided that they'd go out and buy something that would be just right for the digital age; something perfect for a rather large age range too.

What is it?
Pocket camcorder
Who is it for?
New parents or teenagers
How much is it?
Delivery speed?
2/3 days

It’s better than your mobile

Yes, you can take video on mobile phones these days but there’s all sorts of reasons why a dedicated device like the Flip Mino HD is going to be better. The resolution might be matched by the smartest of smartphones out there but neither the lens nor the technology is and, what’s more, the Flip is much quicker on the draw. By the time you’ve pulled out your mobile, unlocked it, put it into camera mode, switched to video and pressed the button, there’s a good chance you’ve missed the action.

It’s looks great

All the Flip models from the very first generation to the last are great looking devices. They’re solid, they feel great in your hand and they're super stylish too - and that’s before you even get to the excellent USB flip-out action.

It’s idiot proof

There’s basically one button on it. Now, that’s actually not true but the main button that you’re going to need 90 per cent of the time is the massive red one smack in the middle. As well as that, there’s no cable to lose either. The USB is built in. So, there’s a button to turn it on, a button to make it start and stop and a USB connector to get the videos off with and charge it up. In the gadget world, it doesn’t get more idiot proof than that.

The build quality is excellent

There’s no shonky parts on the Flip anywhere. You’ll find that quite a few of the copycat pocket camcorders with built-in USBs can be a little bit wobbly here and there, and there’s a real difference when you compare it to the Mino HD and buddies. They feel solid, they don’t clunk or rattle and they’re pretty tough too.

It’s better for action shots

The third generation of Flip camcorders has come with two main improvements, one of which is the doubling of the frame rate to 50fps. What that means is that for every still it used to take it now takes two and, as such, motion in your videos will look smoother. So, these ones are better for action shots or any kind of tracking and panning.

It’s steadier than ever

The other major improvement is that Flip has added image stabilisation to its camcorders. Usually this is more useful on zoom devices but on a handheld like the Flip, it just takes the edge off jerky movements you might make while you’re shooting - smoother videos, more professional look, fewer headaches and a better look at the action.

It’s cinematic

The Flip camcorders have taken a little criticism in the past for their reproduction of colours being a little on the washed out side. However, one of the effects of that - intentional or otherwise - is to actually make the results look really cinematic. It’s almost as if it’s been put through a filter and it rather dampens that home movie effect that harsh tones can create.

It’s great in low light

The f/2.4 aperture on the Flip Mino HD lens means that it performs incredibly well under low light conditions. Considering there’s no flash or LED light to help out, that’s rather important.

It fits in your pocket

It’s a pocket camcorder and, yes, it does fit in your pocket. It also happens to be considerably thinner than the Flip Ultra as well adding to the ease of carrying this thing around. It won’t ruin the lining of your clothes too much.

It comes with decent software

The Flipshare software that comes free with all Flip cameras isn’t actually too bad. You might want to use it. As well as allowing you to share your recordings on Twitter and Facebook at the touch of a button it’ll also let you edit.

You’ll never get bored of that action

Even when you’re not actually intending on using it, it’s really hard to stop yourself flipping that USB connector in and out. The action is just addictive. Almost worth the money for those hours of fun alone.

Video is the new stills

Amateur photography is now art but wreckless video is being shot with true abandon for quality and its these moments, these candid clips that will be our strongest links to the past when we’re old and grey and our children our worrying about their own hair loss and whatever passes for dentures in 2055. Pictures paint a thousand words, videos are closer to a million.


Share you thoughts on hot gift tips for Christmas 2010 in the comments below and don't forget to take a look at the other 11 days of Christmas on Pocket-lint.