Do you really think YouTube could serve as the internet's chronicler of human curiosities and foibles if today's camcorders were unchanged from their original state - shoulder-mounted heavyweights costing over $1,500?

Do you really think YouTube could serve as the internet's chronicler of human curiosities and foibles if today's camcorders were unchanged from their original state - shoulder-mounted heavyweights costing over $1,500?

Today's camcorders are pocket-sized marvels of mini-circuitry. They hit their peak of popularity when Flip Video introduced the Ultra model in 2007 and their Mino line a year later.

These cameras are designed to share what they record. While the videos can be stored on a PC or burned to DVD, they're also easily uploaded directly to YouTube, MySpace and AOL Video.

If you've held back from joining the Flip revolution until they offered a camera that shot video in a high-def, widescreen format, the Flip Mino HD is the gadget you've been waiting for (on sale now for $200 at Amazon.com).

There are few gadgets simpler to use. The camera has only eight buttons - power, record, play/pause, delete video, volume up/zoom in, volume down/zoom out, previous and next.

A ninth button releases the USB connector in a switchblade fashion so you can offload or share your handiwork while recharging the battery.

The Mino HD features one-touch recording. Other than adjusting the camera's 2x digital zoom, all other functions (such as white balance, focus and exposure) are automatic. The camera shoots 720p HD video and has 4GB of memory, which translates to one hour of recording time.

It has an onboard 1.5-inch LCD display so you can see what you're shooting and instantly replay it. The Mino also comes with a cable that connects to a TV so you can enjoy your best work on a "big" screen.

The FlipShare software installs on your PC the first time you plug in the camera. Working with this program, you can e-mail or upload your videos for friends to see. You can even turn them into electronic greeting cards. The software also assists you in editing clips and capturing stills.

The Mino performs well in low-light conditions, and for a video camera this small (3.3 ounces) and this inexpensive, the videos are quite satisfying.

With cameras like the Flip Mino HD, YouTube and its ilk will live long into the century.

Got a gadget question or a high-tech toy to recommend? E-mail gspot@columbusalive.com