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Kodak Playsport vs Flip UltraHD (2nd Generation)

Updated on October 18, 2013

Comparing the Flip UltraHD with the Playsport Zx3

Kodak Playsport vs Flip UltraHD - Which one is the better personal video camera? You may have seen online reviews comparing the Flip UltraHD camcorder unfavorably with the Kodak Playsport Zx3. While the Playsport is a nice personal video camera, I think the Flip is a better choice (I have both). If you're interested in either of these video cameras then keep reading. First I'll look at some of the alleged advantages of the Playsport Zx3, then talk about some advantages of the Flip UltraHD. I hope you enjoy the comparison...

Playsport vs Flip: Waterproof? - The Playsport Zx3 is waterproof; Flip UltraHD isn't

My Analysis: The Kodak Zx3 is in fact a waterproof video camera right out of the box and the Flip UltraHD isn't. There's more to it than that though. The Zx3 is waterproof only to a depth of 3 meters (about 9.8 feet). All ports on the Zx3 are behind 2 doors that are sealed with little rubber O-rings. If you're familiar with these, you know that eventually the seals will get brittle and start to leak. By the time you notice they're leaking, there's a good chance that water has gotten inside and ruined your camera. While the Flip UltraHD isn't waterproof out of the box, you can get a waterproof case for it. The Flip Video Underwater Case is waterproof to 30 feet. Since it's external, you will be more likely to notice moisture inside (if the seal starts to fail) before it starts leaking bad enough to ruin your camera.

Real Advantage: Flip UltraHD

Flip Video Underwater Case for Select Flip Ultra and Flip UltraHD Video Cameras
Flip Video Underwater Case for Select Flip Ultra and Flip UltraHD Video Cameras

The Zx3 is waterproof to 9.8 feet, but this Flip Video Underwater Case makes your Flip UltraHD waterproof to 30 feet (does not work with newest 8GB UltraHD). Perfect for scuba diving or any other underwater adventure you can dream up.

 

Video Review of the Flip Underwater Case - Can your Zx3 take this kind of abuse?

The Zx3 might be a nice waterproof video camera but since the camera body itself is exposed to the water, I wonder if it could stand up to abuse shown in this video. The Flip Underwater Case totally encloses the Flip UltraHD, protecting it from direct contact with the water and also giving it shock protection against waves, etc. Check out this video and see for yourself. (AFAIK it doesn't work with the newest 8GB UltraHD which has a thinner case - I don't have one to test it with).

Claimed Advantage: Expandable Memory - The Zx3 can have up to 32GB; UltraHD only has 4 (or 8) GB

My Analysis: The Kodak Zx3 does in fact accept SD memory cards up to 32GB and the UltraHD is limited to 4 (or 8) GB. Again, there's a little more to it. Out of the box, the Zx3 only has 128KB of memory which mean's its practically useless until you buy a memory card. The Flip UltraHD Video Camera comes with either 4GB or 8GB of memory and is usable right out of the box with no need to buy a memory card.

Real Advantage: Flip UltraHD

Flip UltraHD Video Camera - Blue, 4 GB, 1 Hour
Flip UltraHD Video Camera - Blue, 4 GB, 1 Hour

The 4GB Flip UltraHD is the final word in simplicity and ease of use. It's also too much fun. Unlike the new 8GB UltraHD, the newest 4GB UltraHD will work with the Flip Video Waterproof Case. Just another example of "less is more" - more versatile, more affordable, and more fun.

 

Claimed Advantage: AV Output

Playsport Zx3 has AV and HDMI; UltraHD only has HDMI

My Analysis: The Kodak Playsport Zx3 does in fact accept have audio/visual (AV) output as well as HDMI. This is very important if you want or need to hook your camera to a device that doesn't have an HDMI port. The Flip UltraHD doesn't offer AV output, so if you want to connect it to something that doesn't accept HDMI you'll need to get an HDMI to AV Converter which can be kind of expensive.

Real Advantage: Kodak Playsport Zx3

Claimed Advantage: Rechargeable Batteries - The Playsport has them; the 4GB UltraHD doesn't

My Analysis: The Kodak Zx3 does in fact come with a rechargeable Lithium Ion battery UltraHD and the 4GB UltraHD uses AA cells. Once again though there's more to it than just that. The Zx3 battery is proprietary, and if you're out in the boonies when your battery(s) die the chances of finding a replacement (at least until you get back to civilization) are slim. You can buy a Rechargeable Flip Video Battery Pack for your UltraHD and if it ever fails you can use AA cells (that you can buy just about anywhere) as backup. You can also get a Flip Video Power Adapter if you prefer to not use the USB port for charging the battery.

Real Advantage: Flip UltraHD

Claimed Advantage: More/Better Recording Modes - 1080p and 720p @ 60 fps vs. just 720p @ 30 fps

My Analysis: There really is no analysis: the Kodak PlaySport Zx3 Waterproof Video Camera lets you record in full 1080p HD video at 30 fps and 720p HD video at 60 fps. In comparison, the 4GB Flip UltraHD offers just 1 recording mode, 720p at 30 fps. This gives the Zx3 a pretty clear advantage - if you need the extra video capability (and you might not) the Zx3 would be your choice. Just don't forget to order a good SDHC Flash Memory Card along with your Zx3.

Real Advantage: Kodak Playsport Zx3

Transcend 16 GB Class 6 SDHC Flash Memory Card TS16GSDHC6E
Transcend 16 GB Class 6 SDHC Flash Memory Card TS16GSDHC6E

... a good quality SD card when you order your camera. The Zx3 only has 128K internal memory so you'll need an SD card if you want to record anything longer than a couple minutes. SanDisk is the best but so far I've had good luck with Transcend SD cards.

 

What About Image Stabilization?

Do you need it? Do you even want it?

Another advantage often cited for the Playsport Zx3 is it's built-in image stabilization Actually, the newest version of the Flip UltraHD camcorder also has built-in image stabilization. You just have to get the 8GB UltraHD - it'd not included in the 4GB UltraHD. Personally, I like the fact that the 4GB UltraHD doesn't have it. A camcorder without image stabilization can impart a certain quality to a video that is difficult to add to video shot with image stabilization. In many cases, I prefer the video shot without. Just another reason the 4GB Flip UltraHD is my favorite "point and shoot" HD Camcorder.

Flip UltraHD Advantage: - It can stand on its own...

The Flip UltraHD Camcorder has a squarish case that lets it stand up on its own. Other camcorders with "sleeker" cases either need to be hand held or mounted on a tripod. I've found that this can be limiting. For example when I'm trying to shoot candid video of my 5 year old son. it's hard to get good shots because he tends to act goofy if he knows he's being filmed. Because the Flip will stand on its own, I can place it unobtrusively on a shelf and get better video.

Advantage: Flip UltraHD

Flip UltraHD Video Camera - Blue, 4 GB, 1 Hour
Flip UltraHD Video Camera - Blue, 4 GB, 1 Hour

The square case of the Flip UltraHD means you can stand it unobtrusively on a shelf or table and record awesome, natural looking video without having to buy a tripod.

 

Flip UltraHD Advantage: - Simple and easy to use...

Other videos cameras might be easy to use, but the Flip UltraHD is so easy to use that it took me about a minute to show my 5 year old son how to use it. It's so simple that the entire user manual is just one page. If you want more information on Flip Camcorders, I highly recommend Flip Video For Dummies.. This book covers just about everything Flip related - choosing the right Flip camcorder, troubleshooting your Flip, shooting and importing videos, creating movies, etc. My favorite chapter is the one on using Windows Movie Maker - if the FlipShare software that comes with Flip camcorders doesn't give you quite enough editing options, Movie Maker (or iMovie on a Mac) provides more capability and might save you the cost of buying specialized video editing software. I also found the tips on shooting and editing videos very helpful. If you are a Flipper, check out this book. I think you'll like it. I know I do.

Advantage: Flip UltraHD

Flip Advantage:

Prices are falling, but...

Ever since Cisco anounced that they're discontinuing the Flip, prices have been dropping. You can now buy a 4GB UltraHD (my favorite model) for about $100. If you've wanted a Flip or think you might want one in the future, now is definitely the time to buy because once they're gone, they're gone... or maybe they will become collectibles and you'll have to pay obnoxious prices to get one in used conditio9n, let alone new... On the other hand, if you're not comfortable buying a product that is no longer produced and will soon may not be supported by the manufacturer, you might want to take a look at the Kodak Playsport. Even though I don't like it as much as the Flip, it's an awesome little pocket camcorder...

Advantage: Flip UltraHD

What is Your Favorite Pocket Video Camera? - Check these out and vote for your favorite...

There is a pocket video camera for every taste and budget. From the simplicity of the 4GB UltraHD to the full HD capabities of the Kodak Playsport to the large touch screen of the Sony Bloggie Touch, you can find a pocket video camera that is just right for you. Check out these deals on Amazon (many qualify for their free shipping) and let me know which one you like the best - and why.

Flip UltraHD - STILL the best personal camcorder...

 

Please Sign my Guestbook - Which pocket camcorder do you like, and why?

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    • Art-Aspirations profile image

      Art-Aspirations 5 years ago

      Thanks for the comparison. I own the flip. It is completely easy to use and produced some great results at a two-year-old's birthday party. And you're right, with a price match it was $49.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Nice review, ya I was thinking of getting the Kodak Zx3 though maybe a flip might be a better choice since its $25 cheaper, only thing is its 720p and no external memory, I already have SD cards so don't have to buy an sd card. Also like you mentioned I don't like the fact that i might not be able to get a replacement if it breaks in the future for the flip since there closing down.

      None the less, like how your review is organized, its now up to me to go with my "gut" feeling about what i think is better.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Awesome review & lens! Like the way it's organized. Blessed by a Squidoo Angel on 6/9/2011. Have a great day!

    • andreaberrios lm profile image

      andreaberrios lm 6 years ago

      I have a flip and I love it! Great lens!

    • flutestar123 lm profile image

      flutestar123 lm 6 years ago

      Great review! It can be confusing with so many video cameras out on the market.

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      I like the layout of this product lens :)

    • glenbrook profile image
      Author

      glenbrook 6 years ago

      @DrRichard LM: I don't know - I don't have an iPhone to compare it to. The only thing I can tell you for sure is that the iPhone is a lot more expensive that the Flip especially when you add in the cost of the monthly data plan.

    • DrRichard LM profile image

      DrRichard LM 6 years ago

      Great review - how do you think this compares to the iPhone camera?

    • nebby profile image

      nebby 6 years ago from USA

      I do like the idea that the Kodak Playsport Zx3 has both AV and HDMI, but they are both nice cameras to have and it was nice to see a comparison of the many different features.