iPhone 3Gs Envy: Part 1

Posted: February 4, 2010 in iphone, software
Tags: , , , , ,

One of the guys at my office got a new iPhone 3Gs and I have to admit the little green monster(envy) snuck up on me. I have an iPhone, but only the 3G model and it’s a bit too soon to upgrade it yet, especially since there is really nothing wrong with it, except it is missing a few of the cool new features of the current model ( the hint that the 4G model may not be far off makes me want to wait anyway.) Little things like the faster processor and the better camera and the ability to shoot video are the ones that come to mind first.

There’s nothing i can do about the speed of the processor, but I did however notice I could push envy back a bit with the help if a new video camera app – or two, as it were.

I popped into the iTunes AppStore (well virtually popped in) and starting nosing around to see what was available to record video. Two apps caught my eye iVidCamFree and iVideoCamera.  Both are free apps (the name of the one gives that away) and both are relatively small installs 633.5kb and 6.8 meg respectively, and the usage and feel of them is very similar with a few notable differences.

iVidCam Free: (version 1.0)

** **

iVidCam Free shows you a relatively unannoying banner on the bottom of the screen (and on your recorded videos) and has simple buttons with no easy way to adjust the quality of the recording.  The button on the left lets you view your video files (as shown in the first screen capture above), in the middle is camera on/off and the “i”on the rightside is for your settings which allows you to input your twitter account info/ youtube login/ and turn audio record on/off, but strangely there is no place to adjust the quality.  You get a m4v file when you record – thats it.  Thats fine since most apps will play m4v’s but i would really like to be able to adjust the FPS or resolution of my recordings.  (As a side note, i played with this app a few times and once it completely locked up my iPhone not allowing me to do anything but a hard restart)  Video quality is fine when viewed on the iPhone, but seems a bit too grainy for anything larger than web videos.  The saving process is simple enough (when it works). When you finish filming you give a name and click save, then wait whle it encodes video and audio and you will eventually see a confirmation (screenshot 3 above) on your screen that the file is saved. I had trouble getting the video to stop recording a few times, again, pressing the power button on the iPhone stops it, but you lose what you recorded since it didn’t get a chance to save.

iVideoCamera: (version 1.2)

** **

One of the most noticeable things is the lack of banner, even though this is also a free app, it does not seem to be emblazened with a banner or limited in its use. Another is the little slide button on the right hand side.  This is your quality switch.  As you can see from the first screen capture above the file is either 5.7mb or 1.9mb depending upon which resolution/frame rate I recorded with, and the difference in recording time.  The quality of the image is decent enough, sure its not going to be 30 FPS video, but then again, you wouldn’t typically use an iPhone to record quality video, there are real videocameras for that,  so don’t go thinking you can record your wedding video with your iPhone using this app. Well… let me reword that.  Don’t go thinking you will get videocam quality with this app, you can record as long as you like as long as your iPhone has space to record onto, but at 335 kb/s for the higher res video (vs approx 158 kb/s for lower res), you are gonna eat up space fast, especially if you have slow walkers and slow talkers in your wedding party.  Still, though, if all you are looking for is youtube quality video of your weird aunt walking down the aisle with her dress tucked into her granny-panties, then go for it.

The use of both is very similar, although i found iVideoCamera a little more responsive and liked the higher quality video i shot with it as well as the look and feel of the app.  It is a bit bigger download so its understandable that it would have more to it.  The saving of the video after shooting it is very quick and allows you to review it, share it, email it or delete it all with the touch of one button.  Both apps have the ability to share over WiFi as well, which may be handy if you are planning on shooting a lot of video and want to get it off your iPhone for safe keeping.  iVideoCamera also gives you the ability to copy files off your iPhone as you would with photos directly into iPhoto if you like.  Files can be stored in your “Camera Roll” on your iPhone for easy review and viewing, and are in .mov format when saved or exported as they refer to it.  The files can easily be renamed as well by clicking on the title automatically assigned when it was recorded.

For me, the differences were enough to declare iVideoCamera a clear winner.  The integration with your Camera Roll, the ability to change quality, ease of ways to send or publish videos after recording, and the speed with which the app responds were all very important pluses in my book.  Being able to record video is an important thing, but the ease of getting that video off of the iPhone is just as important, something iVidCam Free is lacking in.  At least in this version.



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