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Zooming in on 3 'Pocket Cams'

The pros and cons on these latest cameras from Sony, Kodak and Cisco

Cisco Flip SlideHD

The folks who started it all are back with one of their latest video cameras: the Flip SlideHD ($229.99; theflip.com).

The four-hour SlideHD (16GB of built-in memory) is a simple-to-use camera that shoots 1280 x 720 high-definition video at 30 frames per second, with image stabilization. In other words, it's a 720p HD camera; therefore, it doesn't capture as much detail as the 1080p-capable Sony and Kodak models, but the video is still very clear.

The camera can be personalized when ordered online, with thousands of different designs to choose from (or you can upload your own) at no extra cost. Plus, there are a number of supported accessories that range from wide-angle lenses and external microphones to a portable projector and a battery charger.

The Flip is still the easiest pocket cam to use out of the bunch. Recording video is as easy as pressing the touchscreen’s big red button on back of the camera. You can also digitally zoom in or out. The device slides open to scroll through pre-recorded videos with a unique touch interface; tap the video you want to view and playback begins, while the "Delete" icon erases it from the internal memory. But there aren't many other options here compared with the other cameras in this round-up. And it's a bit bulkier than the other cameras, too.

The SlideHD comes preloaded with the latest version of FlipShare, software that helps you easily organize, edit and share videos once you connect a Flip to a computer via its USB arm on the side of the unit. Or you can connect it to a HDTV with the HDMI port on the bottom of the camera (cable not included).

Overall, the Flip SlideHD is a reliable, straightforward digital video camera without many bells and whistles. Older users will appreciate the larger screen and friendly interface.

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