I've used several purpose-built video recorders and they pretty much all suck.
Some of them use proprietary software or modified formats so that getting them onto a computer and editing them is a pain in the ass.
If you find one that is good at that, the image quality is poor.
It's just a big crap shoot, honestly.
My daughter's Flip camera is awesome but as you said, can't really buy them anymore.
Don't live for pleasure, make life your treasure...
\m/ Ronnie James Dio, 1942-2010 \m/