The Flip came out a year or two ago and I believe it was the very first of the ultra-portable camcorders. It's only about 6 or 7 inches tall, 3 or 4 inches wide and an inch thick, but it's a little powerhouse! It takes very good video-audio is pretty good when you listen to it on a different machine-IE you load it on your computer. For the not-so-technologically-advanced or the person who doesn't have time to fumble around with video tapes or what have you, this thing is perfect.
You can record up to 60 minutes of video, very similar to a digital camera with a screen where you watch what you're recording. You can zoom in an out easily during recording, and even though it's handheld, I have a very easy time keeping it steady enough to get pretty good quality video. I'd say it zooms up to 2 to 4 times, but I'm not 100% so I won't report that one way or the other.
I've used it to capture doggie antics-it's just a lot of fun and easy to use. I've also used it for the reason I bought it-I wanted to record our dressage tests at horse shows and in practice so we could evaluate ourselves and see how we can improve. It works GREAT for that!
The best part about this is that when you've recorded something, it has a "flip" USB port that comes out the side-you plug it into any computer and it automatically loads the proper software to view your images, then it loads your film. Once it's loaded, it's VERY simple to create emailable files and snapshots of your video-you can freeze frames and print them up just like pictures. It's very handy for capturing JUST the right angle of your dog, horse, or other animal when they are moving around for just the right picture.
This is by no means a professional type camera, but for the price you get a very good quality image and sound-I don't have any complaints at all so far! Battery life is very good, too, believe it or not! The battery seems to last quite a long time before you have to change. (It takes 2 AA batteries so it's easy to carry around a few extras on you r family trip to the zoo or what have you)
Excellent value for the price-I can't remember exactly what I paid for it, but it was between 50-100 bucks and I've gotten a lot of use and pleasure out of it for that price. Very affordable!!