Flip vs. iPod Nano: Flip Wins For Now


newnewipodnano.gifWhen you have sold over 100 million iPod Nanos, then as a company you need a new shtick to keep the momentum going. So Apple (s AAPL) introduced a really skinny iPod Nano model that has a built-in video camera so that you can record videos and share them on YouTube, Facebook, MobileMe or email. Since I don’t own a Flip, I thought maybe this might be a good option. So I tried out the new Nano, but within a few minutes, I realized that this is not for me. Why? The camera is set in a really awkward position, which makes usage very unintuitive. I guess someone wasn’t quite thinking. How does it stack up against the Flip? Chris and Liz did a side-by-side comparison of the new iPod Nano with Flip SD and are underwhelmed by the new Nano. You can check out their video overview and reviews here.

Photo of iPod Nano courtesy of Apple.



LOL I don’t know…does your flip play MP3s?? Why compare apple to orange?


Yes, I tried the Nano. And camera is really positions in a weird orientation. Can’t say which position to shoot in. I guess next time Apple will fix it and organize a special event to advertise the “new” breakthrough!

Finn Jack

Flips are better in design and more easy to use when compared to the new iPod Nano. Hope Apple will realize the consumer perceptions and make changes accordingly in the next version.


I guess there’s good money in anti-iPod Nano stories since you’ve been putting out one a day lately. Is Microsoft really that worried about the Nano? I don’t get it.


The Nano is DIRECTLY targeted at the causal video taker and people who didn’t bother with it before. I So, it’ll do the job for those people and you shall see it get in the top three devices on Youtube and other video sharing sites.

I am avid photographer, so although I use my iPhone to take a few photos here and there (of my son or just to post on FB), but I always have one of my digital cameras in the car.

I own a camcorder and have known about Flip for a while, but haven’t bother with either. With Nano, I would be capturing and sharing many more videos, simply due to the fact it’s a converged device and ease of use (Om, I think you you felt iPhone was difficult, too … right?)

Michael A M Davies

I don’t think they’ll sell enough to make it into the top three on Flickr; I’ll have a bet with you that there’s many more iPod Nano 5G photos uploaded….

Michael A M Davies

Om, first thanks for weighing in directly. Second, I’m glad I was online when you commented, so I can respond promptly.

I’m happy to stipulate that the Flip has better usability than the Nano, and that ‘it’s not that easy to use’.

Yes, the Flip is better as a casual video capture device, but the key question is: is there a market segment of people who are ‘casual video takers’, prepared to shell out $150 or more to upgrade from either a smartphone (I agree that the 3GS is OK for many purposes) or from a Nano, or for whom music doesn’t matter when making a purchase decision?

I think not: http://blog.endeavourpartners.net/2009/09/13/om-on-our-flip-no-no/


Umm, Apple is not challenging Flip by selling the nano as a digital video camera.

They are just making it easier for people to buy a nano.

The question you should be asking is, “If you had to spend $150 for yourself or for a friend, would you buy a Flip or an iPod nano?”

That’s the real question, and on that front, Flip loses big time.

Michael A M Davies


Agree 100%. The only scenario in which the Flip wins is one in which casual video capture is the *only* criterion.

Om Malik

If you are a casual video taker then the iPhone or new Blackberry’s do a pretty awesome job. I use the Blackberry Tour and it rocks. It is perfect for casual video. I think Flip is a step up because it creates better videos and has better sound capture.

Preetam Rai

Flip does not sell in Asia. Nano will win here. Another problem with Flip and its ilk is that in trying to go HD etc, they inevitably increase the file size making it longer to upload files. I played with the new Nano today and I like the quality and video upload times.

Michael A M Davies

Actually, I think the opposite. It’s not a like-for-like tradeoff.

Scenario 1: I want a small, easy to use, video capture device – the Flip wins

Scenario 2: I want a small, easy to use, elegant music player – the Nano wins

Scenario 3: I want both a small, easy to use, video capture device and a small, easy to use music player – the Nano wins

Scenario 2A: I have a 5G Nano, and I want to capture video – does the usability challenge of camera placement justify the incremental expenditure on a Flip – $150 or $200?


Rajan Barara

I completely agree with Mike. The comparison between Flip and Nano is not valid because they address different requirements.

I am intrigued by the use of Nano video camera by the person in video like one would use a cell phone camera – not the intent – holding nano with two hands will provide a stable camera shot like it was intended.

Om Malik

Rajan and Mike

Have you bought and used the new Nano? I think you will quickly realize that it isn’t that easy to use.

Secondly, to say that two hands will result in a stable camera and better shot. Of course, a Cannon HD camera would result in an awesome shot.

I think comparison is Flip – which you can use with one hand. Secondly, i think the video camera on iPhone 3GS is pretty awesome. and works nicely with one hand usage.

Michael A M Davies

Have replied below to Om, as couldn’t figure out how to do so here


Apple is going after the market that made Flip — the kids who love their Youtube, not the parents who are videoing Junior’s first step/soccer championship. Technical comparisions are great, but I think in this case are beside the point (well, beyond Apple’s bravado in making the comparison themselves in their presentation).

Om Malik


Normally I would agree with you but in this case it is a design flaw and Nano is not that simple to use. In fact it is downright awkward. I think this is the first time I have seen them not live up to their name when it comes to design.

Maybe they will get it right next time. :-)

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