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Saturday, September 12, 2009

iPod nano: Poor Design and Missing Features

iPod nano
iPod nano picture taken with an iPhone 3GS

Mobile post sent by stevegarfield using Utterlireply-count Replies.  mp3

I just got a chance to take a look at the new iPod nano that shoots video.

Initially I was excited to see such a beautiful device that was able to shoot video and expected it to become a contender in the pocket video recorder market.

Sadly, it doesn't measure up.

Here are the bad points:

1. The camera is on the bottom

I don't know why they designed it this way, but the camera is on the opposite side of the scroll wheel, on the bottom, when held in portrait mode.

So if you are shooting a video in portrait mode, your hand is in the way.

2. The camera is on the bottom

When you sit the iPod nano on the table, so that it stays still, the camera is on the bottom and you get a great shot of the surface that you are sitting it on, like a table.

Try to stand it on it's head, so the camera is on top, the iPod nano tips over because a switch is protruding from the top.

3. The camera is on the bottom

OK, so you decide to hold the camera in landscape mode. When holding it, your hands cover the lens because, as I said before, the camera is on the bottom behind the scroll wheel.

4. It's not a stil camera

You can't take photos.

5. Quality doesn't seem to match even the original Flip

My friends Liz Gannes and Chris Albrecht at NewTeeVee shot this video to compare the Flip to the iPod Nano.

You decide:


  1. Who takes video in Portrait mode? TVs and video screens are oriented horizontally. Where is the camera when you hold the nano sideways? Right where it ought to be?

  2. I have to concur, unless you are going to design the video to shoot at 90% rotation, you wouldn't hold the thinking vertical. You would hold it horizontal, and if you did that, assuming the scroll will is the click button, the lens is just where it is supposed to be.

    I do agree the lack of still photos and the inability to set the thing on end while shooting are drawbacks. Particularly the former, which is a deal killer for me.

  3. @August26 Anyone who uses any of the other pocket video cameras holds the camera vertically.

    @Seth Go to an Apple Store and try it out. Holding it horizontally, with your hand on the click button, covers the lens with your fingers on the other side.

  4. I documented parts of a wedding this weekend with a new nano (my gift to the couple). You are 100% wrong. If you want to shoot in portrait, you simply flip the Nano over so the click wheel is at the top and the accelerometer takes over and orients the video correctly. It's very easy and you get used to it pretty much immediately. Since the nano is so incredibly light, you can hold it with your fingertips and not obscure the screen.

    A bigger issue is that the click wheel button doesn't seem to be as responsive as it should be -- or at least it's not doing what I expect. I had a few times where I thought I had started a video recording only to notice the timer wasn't incrementing (the only visual indication that recording is happening). It wasn't a big problem but I could see it getting annoying.

  5. @jake If it was designed to be held upside down I'm still 60% right.

  6. OMG. I just discovered my nano has this camera. Horrible, horrible design. At least move it to the opposite side of the scroll wheel. Good grief.