As you can see above, I designed the Vainworks Stand to work in both portrait and landscape orientations. (“Portrait” is when the phone stands up. “Landscape” is when the phone lays on its side.) I did this so that the stand would work with as many phones as possible.
So, which smart phones does the Vainworks Stand work with?
Well… technically it works with any smart phone that has a rear-facing camera but, in reality, the closer the camera is to the edge of the phone the better.
- If the camera is 1/2 inch (approximately 1 centimeter) or less from the side of your phone, it should work fine in portrait orientation.
- If the camera is 1/2 inch or less from the top of your phone, it should work fine in landscape orientation.
For instance, look at the difference between the camera placement for the iPhone 3GS and the Motorola Droid.
Because the iPhone’s camera is less than 1/2 inch from the side and the top of the phone, it works great with the Vainworks Stand both in portrait and landscape orientation (i.e. standing up or laying on its side).
Likewise, on the Motorola Droid, the camera is less than 1/2 inch from the side and therefore works great in portrait orientation. However, the Motorola Droid’s camera is more than 1/2 inch from the top of the phone so some of the phone is going to show on the display when it is used in landscape orientation.
Taking self-portraits with the Motorola Droid and the Vainworks Stand in portrait and landscape orientation bears this out.
As you can see, when the Motorola Droid is used in landscape orientation, the edge of the phone can be seen in the display because the camera is greater than 1/2 inch from the top. (Interestingly enough, the Vainworks Stand can still be used to do video calling with the Droid in landscape orientation… but more on this in a moment.)
So here’s the general rule:
- If the camera is less then 1/2 inch from the edge of the phone, it’s good!
- If the camera is between 1/2 inch and 3/4 inch from the edge of the phone, it’s workable.
- If the camers is more than 3/4 inch from the edge of the phone, it’s not great.
There are a few caveats to this, however. For instance… currently, when I use my Motorola Droid in landscape orientation to do video calling, it works fine! That’s because video calling only uses a portion of the camera. The edge of the phone does not show in the display! Also, a few days ago, I borrowed a friend’s Samsung Galaxy S. I thought the camera looked like it was too far from the edge, but the pictures came out better than I expected. Apparently, the lens on the Galaxy S camera is set at a different angle. (Of course, the Galaxy S has a front-facing camera so there’s no need for the Stand… but still, it was unexpected. UPDATE 2010-11-15: Turns out… only the Galaxy S for T-Mobile has the front-facing camera. My friend bought his Galaxy S for use with AT&T and it doesn’t have a front-facing camera even though there’s space for it. How weird is that?! Still… it’s a beautiful phone and I have included it in the chart below.)
I say all this to say: While the general rule is useful to know, it’s not always accurate. Because of this, I will try to have pictures for every phone I add to the compatibility chart below. This will help you see how well an actual version of the phone works in each orientation. (Bear in mind, though, these pictures are candid shots, most of the time in poor lighting! Also bear in mind that both Tango and fring work in portrait and landscape orientation so all you really need to do video calling is one or the other.)
One final note about cases: You can use the Vainworks Stand without removing your phone from its case. Depending on the thickness of the case, you might see a bit of the edge of the case in the display. This happens because the case is increasing the distance between the camera and the “edge” of the phone. It also happens because the case is lifting the phone away from the mirrors.
One final note about lenses: Believe it or not, the cameras on smart phones of the same make and model do vary.
And, one final note about software: It is possible for apps that use the camera to use it in different ways. So… it’s possible for one camera app to work perfectly–showing an absolutely clean display–where another camera app might show some of the edge of the smart phone.
And, one final note about Window 7 mobile phones: I’m including them in the chart below because you know and I know that some kind of video calling is coming to that operating system as well. I’m guessing that it won’t be long!
Update 2010-12-19: A friend sent me pictures that he took with the Vainworks Stand and his wife’s Palm Pre. No video calling but an example of the fact that the Stand works with virtually every smart phone.
Update 2011-03-12: Had a suggestion to add dimensions to the chart below for where the camera falls on the back of the phone and I was going to do that… but then I realized that it was more than just the location of the camera. It is also affected by the type of lens, etc. etc. So… I think the best thing to do it hover over the links in the left column (i.e. hover over the phone name). A picture will pop up and show you the back of the phone.
Find a picture that is similar to the back of your phone, and that’s the best guess that I have for how the Vainworks Stand will work for phones that aren’t listed here. (There are so many phones, it is nearly impossible to keep up with them all!)
VAINWORKS STAND COMPATIBILITY CHART (FULL)
This chart lists all the smartphones that have been tested with the VAINWORKS STAND (and a few that are "cousins" of tested phones). Use your mouse to hover over the camera icon to see a picture taken with that particular combination of smart phone and orientation. Hover over the link on the smart phone name to see the placement of the camera on the back of the phone. PLEASE NOTE: Some of these photos were taken on the run. This person or that person had a phone that I needed to test and I would go to that person whereever they were and set up a couple of quick shots. Because of this, some of the lighting is not good. The purpose of the photos is not to demonstrate the quality of the camera or the Vainworks Stand but simply to show how much of the camera is fully reflected through the mirrors.
I will be adding more phones as I’m able.
Have a great day!