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We were really pleased with the quality of the video camera, but it can be tricky to hold the nano while shooting without inadvertantly getting your fingers in the way. Luckily you can shoot in portrait or landscape mode, and whichever way you hold the nano the video will be right-side-up on the screen.
The camera does video only, no still images. Press and hold the Center button with the video camera app open for a selection of fun filters, including Sepia, Black & White, X-Ray, Film Grain, Thermal, Security Cam, Cyborg, Bulge, Kaleido, Motion Blur, Mirror, Light Tunnel, Dent, Stretch, and Twirl.
iPod nano formats recorded videos as VGA video H.264 w/AAC 30 fps files. Videos are synced to iPhoto, not iTunes, and they show up as .mp4 files. (A one-minute video is about 20MB.) In iPhoto, you can double-click a video to play it in a QuickTime window. Right-click a video and select Show File to see where it's kept in the Finder, in case you want to edit or convert it.
We tried to upload videos to Facebook and Flickr from iPhoto's built-in uploaders, but iPhoto only uploaded stills (the first still in the video). And the videos never show up in iTunes unless you move them there manually. You can put them in an iPhoto album and sync them to your iPod by telling iTunes to keep that album synced.
Pressing and holding the Center button brings up extra menus depending on what's on the iPod's screen. For example:
The Voice Memos app looks and works just like the one now included with the iPhone. Press the Center button to record, then gab away while the built-in mic picks up your voice. Press the Center button again to insert a chapter marking in your recording. And press Pause when you want to stop.
Your recording is saved to a list of date-stamped voice memos, and you can choose to label it a Podcast, Interview, Lecture, Idea, Meeting, or Memo, to help you differentiate between recordings later. The recordings are automatically synced back to your iTunes when you dock.
Other than those all-new features, the new nano is pretty similar to the last version. It's got a svelte, shiny case that's pretty bad for picking up fingerprints. Its curved screen packs a few more pixels than the last generation's. Dock connector and headphone jack on the bottom; Hold switch on the top. And a few more things we noticed about it:
It doesn't come with Apple's $29 USB Power Adapter, just a cable. But any USB-compatible AC charger will work.
You can add lyrics in plain text to a song's metadata in iTunes, and then view those lyrics on your nano while the song is playing.
Genius Mixes need to be added to your iPod nano from iTunes. You can't add them if you manage your music manually, only if you use the syncing features. To add them, select the nano in the iTunes sidebar, click the Music tab, and select the Genius Mixes while you're telling iTunes what music to sync.
You can shake to shuffle to a new song, but this doesn't turn the shuffle feature on for good. Shake-to-Shuffle is automatically disabled when the Hold switch is activated, and you can also turn it off in Settings > Playback > Shake.