Nokia N8 vs Apple iPhone 4
There is no point in pitting the two mobile operating systems directly against one another, it would be comparing apples to oranges, no pun intended. Nokia has improved on the user experience in Symbian^3 and it now offers multiple home screens with the all-important widgets on them. It has also disposed of most annoyances like double-tap to select. Symbian^3 is a functional mobile OS having true multitasking abilities with card view, and is very familiar to millions of people using Nokia phones – legacy is important, if you have been in the business for so many years. It is also a bit cumbersome, more suitable to power users, and newcomers need to familiarize themselves with it first, before they begin to use the full functionalities of the platform.
The interface of the iPhone 4, on the other hand, has to be examined as only an element of the holy trinity device - mobile OS - applications, which Apple has tightly integrated and isolated from outside influences as much as it could, providing users with the outstanding feeling that things just work, and look cool in the process. The powerful A4 chipset runs the simple, self-explicable screens, full of colorful app shortcuts incredibly smooth, with pretty animations and transparency effects that are favorites of young and old. It is immediately apparent that this is an interface designed from the ground up for touchscreens, and iOS is suitable for anybody, despite some shortcomings like the lack of full multitasking and Bluetooth file transfer.
With that out of the way, we have to mention that the Symbian^3 homescreens look more complicated than the interface of iOS simply because they, similarly to Android, offer some additional functionality through widgets. The iPhone 4’s paradigm is simplicity – a sandboxed app for each task, linked to a colorful icon on the screen, even for basic functions, like the dialer. Nokia N8 supports smart dialing, while iOS4 is still lagging in that respect. If you need to do some Facebooking on the iPhone 4, you go to the Facebook app. Nokia N8, on the other hand, now offers social networking integration (Facebook and Twitter) in your phonebook feature. It is more cumbersome to set up than in some of the best Android UI overlays out there, like HTC Sense, or TouchWiz 3.0, but it's there. Threaded messaging has also finally come to Symbian, but messaging on the iPhone 4 is still a smoother experience.
In short, Nokia N8 feels much more as a phone, while the iPhone 4 feels like a designer box for app execution, that is why it irreparably disrupted the cell phone industry three years ago. For example, Nokia has had video calling first in the 6680, launched in 2005, but most people are just now beginning to use it, thanks to the simple and reliable execution, and the marketing behind Apple iPhone 4's FaceTime, even though it only works via Wi-Fi for now.
The widgetized home screens of the Nokia N8, offer more than simply shortcuts to separate functions – similarly to a modern Android handset. They are a way to get what you need (apps, favorite contacts, status updates, email, RSS feeds) straight from the home screen, without even having to open an app most of the time.
Once you set it up properly, this approach becomes very useful in everyday life, but Nokia has a long way to go in polishing things if it wants the interface to look as slick, smooth and likeable, as the ones in iOS or Android, the current major contestants in the mobile OS department. Perhaps it will never even happen for Symbian.
What we would also like to see improved is the text input department of Nokia's handset. Apple pioneered the finger-friendly virtual keyboards with the iPhone. Nokia N8’s virtual keyboard in landscape mode (portrait one only offers triple-tap and T9, circa 2002), is decent to type on, but trying to input anything anywhere raises a text box that covers the whole screen, even for simple tasks like filling in a website in the browser's address bar. We'd rather see it as an overlay above the UI, not separate screen, blocking the entire view. Nokia already loaded Swype for Symbian^3 on Ovi Store, however portrait mode will be coming later, and you will have to suffer in the meantime.
On the other hand, Nokia N8 offers free lifetime navigation with the excellent Ovi Maps, which has turn-by-turn directions coverage in much more countries than the free Google Maps for now. It is an offline navigational software with all bells and whistles, including Lonely Planet and Trip Advisor overlays, of the iGO, Navigon or TomTom type, that you have to pay some serious cash for in the App Store.
Speaking of the App Store, software is where the iPhone 4 easily overshadows every phone out there, not only the Nokia N8. The Espoo flagship comes with a number of preinstalled apps and games, but the sheer size of the 300 000+ applications available for the iPhone, makes it look like a drop in the bucket. That wealth of apps is a goldmine for Apple, and has resulted in users integrating the iPhone 4 in every part of their lives – from mobile payments to gym schedules - an experience that is extremely hard, if not impossible, to replicate in the near future. In contrast, Nokia is just now putting an emphasis on apps and developers for its Ovi Store.
The browser on the Nokia N8 is definitely a weak point, compared to Safari in the iPhone 4. While it has pinch-to-zoom, the scrolling is often choppy, especially if the page contains Flash, and the interface is a chore to use. Filling in the above mentioned web address takes much more stages than the needed one. A firmware update is expected to bring Swype and a new WebKit browser, but out of the box typing and browsing has stayed in the Symbian^1 era. The Safari browser on the iPhone 4, in contrast, is smooth as silk, quite fast and a pleasure to use, with the lack of Flash being the only nuisance.
Both handsets also offer a complete set of connectivity options, and the Nokia N8 is supporting the newest Bluetooth 3.0 standard. The Nokia N8 is pentaband, i.e. 3G speeds can be accessed on most GSM carriers worldwide, including T-Mobile and AT&T in the US. Symbian^3 supports USB-on-the-go for connecting a memory stick directly to the Nokia N8, and copy or play files from it, whereas iOS4 still doesn't support USB mass storage mode. The Finnish handset also has an FM transmitter, which can beam music from your phone to your home or car stereo, which is a nice option to have, but often runs into interference problems in big cities with many radio stations.
1. bucky (Posts: 2459; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)
doesnt seem like nokia can really compete with any of these new phones. Camera and battery life yes, but thats it.
11. thatdude1 (unregistered)
Nokia can compete with any handset manufacturer anywhere, anytime. The only handset os not manufactured by Nokia capable of competing with it is Android.
30. htainlintha (Posts: 41; Member since: 20 Mar 2010)
How abt new features like flash on web browsing(no apps for dat), FM transmitter(no apps for dat), wifi hotspot(no apps for dat), usb on-the-go(no apps for dat), large sensor and digital dolby sound cature(no apps for dat), moreover,d device they used is outdated in UI.(old version,needs update)
iphone 4 doesnt even have a dedicated camera key,actually apple really sucks,they can never make a phone which can make a call without line drops T_T so sick of it
2. clevername (Posts: 1436; Member since: 11 Jul 2008)
Actually a great offering it seems from nokia. I'm impressed by the camera. Seems to be the first real competitor to the iPhone 4's camera. But I wonder if the shrink the pixels for the 12MP sensor like so many other manufacturers do when they make larger sensors, or if they are 12 actual sized megapixels. Too bad symbian isn't quite up to snuff. And I'm also curious about internal storage and how powerful the processor is.
4. dan_md (Posts: 66; Member since: 19 Oct 2010)
The N8 has a "real" 12MP sensor (not interpolated, if that's what you mean). I agree, the Symbian interface does need to be optimized to be used by people across all intellectual levels. Internal storage is 16GB with 256 RAM. Processor is rated at 680MHz with VR graphic accelerator supporting Open GL 2.0.
13. thatdude1 (unregistered)
@clevername-Symbian has always been "up to snuff."
3. dan_md (Posts: 66; Member since: 19 Oct 2010)
Privileged to have both the Nokia N8 and the iPhone 4 for a while. Here's my verdict: Build Quality: N8 with its aluminum build and scratch-resistant gorilla glass display Display: iPhone 4 with higher-res screen, faster response Connectivity: N8 which aces the competition with pentaband, HDMI out, USB Host function, FM transmitter Call Quality/Telephony: Nokia N8 (at high signals, both perform equally), BUT N8 has better reception when tested VS the iPhone using the same network SIM in a thick-walled, lead-shielded operating theater Imaging: N8 with 12MP camera, Xenon-flash Video capture: Draw - both phones take gorgeous videos Music playback: iPhone 4 (integrated iPod/Music app with direct access to iTunes, podcasts, etc.) Video playback: Nokia N8 (multiple codec compatibility) Durability: Draw - slight upper hand for the N8 (doesn't chip/crack as the iPhone does when dropped from a height) SIM and Memory card handling: Draw In-box package contents: N8 - in addition to the charger and, comes with mini HDMI adapter, USB-on-the go adapter, better quality in-ear earphones Ease-of-use/Ergonomics: iPhone 4 (intuitive menu structure, direct access to most functions, faster response, software stability) Battery Life: Draw Navigation: N8 with the free lifetime navigation care of Ovi Maps Apps downloadable: Apple iPhone 4 (the App Store Collection is compelling - an understatement) Price (unlocked): Nokia N8 US$ 530.00, Apple iPhone 4 (unlocked) 16GB - US$ 800.00, 32GB - US$ 950.00 Total Tally: Nokia N8: 7 Apple iPhone 4 The iPhone 4 is the epitome of elitism and will find itself as the most common gadget/status symbol of the upper class. The iPhone has snagged "user-friendliness" that for so long has been equated to Nokia. The closed (but highly functional) App Store ecosystem is designed to maximize to secure Apple's earnings even after device purchase. What the device "lacks" is made-up by the myriad of apps that serve to extend the phone's normal utility. If you relate it to therapeutics, Nokia has gone "shotgun method" putting every conceivable technology in the N8. Some may call this "trying too hard" but one cannot deny that it is a very compelling device giving you more than decent bang for every buck spent. The review fails to mention the reliability of the Nokia N8 as a phone per se and the better PIM functionality of the phone (contact, calendar management). Nokia N8 challenges the iOS' simplicity and eye-candy paradigm with the tried and tested versatility of the Symbian OS legacy. If you are as fortunate as others who can afford to have both phones, then choosing which one is not the question. But if you could only afford one, I would recommend any of the above phones that would suit your needs. If price is really an issue, there is a myriad of mid-tier and budget phones to choose from.
23. Christo1903 (unregistered)
i am a Nokia fan and I do love like their products, but you failed to even look at web-browsing. The iphone is superior to the N8 by any standard. So too is the app store. Two compelling reasons for a smartphone buyer in 2010 would choose the IPhone.
5. dan_md (Posts: 66; Member since: 19 Oct 2010)
This is something that has never been compared: Symbian ^3 VS Blackberry 6.0. It would be exciting to see a comparison of the Nokia N8 and the Blackberry Torch.
6. Symbian vs OS6? (unregistered)
Lol Symbian will kick OS6 butt. Even ugly at it is, Symbian has more functionality than OS6, the only strong part of OS6 is the Instant Messaging and Business oriented features (Exchange, Office, Calendar), and that's it,While Symbian can play any video codec, play flash directly from the browser, 12 mp camera, usb on the go, fm transmitter... well you got the point, OS6 is for business and Symbian is for multimedia, nuff said.
7. Bulakbuk (unregistered)
Symbian OS has been the pioneer in smartphone technology. While I do agree that this OS has aged, it is still a very capable feature set that can get the job done. Also, multi tasking is also a very strong point for Nokia since the iPhone had to have its applications re-written for this aspect. Therefore, Nokia will always be the smarter of the two and a true powerhouse at that.
8. dolph227 (unregistered)
I looveee my N8! just received mine yesterday by pre-order in Indonesia. It's like having the best of three worlds of easy on the eye-Android combined with MeeGo-strength on your familiar Symbian interface! Iphone just need to do better than OS4, how many years since Iphone 2G, this year they just introduced semi-multitasking (lame!) while Nokia made full-multi tasking from 2002 Symbian handsets (7650). I totally love the look of Iphone 4, but it's just the same as you see most blonde girls, they are dumb. Nokia N8? New invented outlook, premium built and premium operating system. Just wait for the ovi store to grow, after all Symbian^3 has just launched right.. Remember how iphone 2G just launched? how many apps did they have? I assume, it is Nokia's Rebirth. Time for Iphone OS overhaul... too slow progress on their new OS over the years. Android? How far can a cheap operating system go? Too many diversities on their handsets, it's just too confusing for the app. developers to make the apps.. Reaching from QVGA screen to WVGA screen, 600mhz processor to 1ghz processor, and so on. Not to mention their too fast OS development, makes you feel your 3 months old handset like 2 years old ones already (remember Sony Ericsson X10) from donut to ice cream, be careful guys it almost melts already.. :)
9. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)
The N8 is good, but not good enough. Iphone4 all the way.
14. thatdude1 (unregistered)
The N8 is FAR superior to the iphone4.
10. Trx (unregistered)
nokia symbian is old os I remaber when I used first time in 1999 WoW I'm that time symbian like ios today every boday happy with nokia but that's before now the things is change there is a new and lot of os comes out specially ios the best os used in the phone apple they invent lot of staff one of them ios. But in other hand saymbain will always the easiest os ever
15. thatdude1 (unregistered)
First off-use spell check. Second-learn english. Third- I think you have your os's confused. Ios is so simple, a 5 year old can master it. Symbian is for the more sophisticated. Better crafted handsets, true multitasking, to name but two. Ios has never stood a chance compared to Symbian.
21. Lollipopjones (unregistered)
thats why symbian is failing right? Symbian is old, the devices look like crap, the OS is tired and worn out, and finally the apps are worthless. Also Mapquest offers free Turn by Turn for iOS so both have free Turn by turn.
Sorry the only thing the N8 has is some gimmick hardware that most users will never use.
35. the x (unregistered)
LOL totaly AGREE WITH Lollipopjones
36. thatdude1 (unregistered)
Symbian is no where near falling apart. Mature? Yes. Crap? Not even close. The device looks better than most on the market today, they have apps that have a purpose, not a zillion fart apps and NO WAY mapquest compares to ovi maps. Ovi maps is waaaayyyyyyy better. You have no idea what you are talking about.
12. Rudeboi (unregistered)
It's a good competiton for those who are looking for a device to go against Apple one and only device but let's remember that this phone wasn't meant to go against the higher end devices out there. For what it's worth the N8 is a better value for the money on so many scales and symbian is still ahead of android and ios and so many ways. Yeah it may be a little old on the os and a great job of them spicing it up a bit but symbian still gives you more while the rest is still catching up. I only see ios simplyfing things and locking you into a ecosystem where you have no choice on what more you can do with certain files, while symbian opens the door for more choices and gives you a pc feel in your pocket.
16. RJC (unregistered)
"Nokia N8 takes higher resolution photos, but doesn't capture that much more detail." Excuse me!? Are you perhaps visually impaired, because that's the only way I can understand that comment. N8 produces tons more detail. Just look at the night picture of the theater for example. You can't seriously tell me that N8 doesn't have a lot more detail than iPhone 4. Look at the poster stand. Or the poster on the wall. Or the doors. N8 has much more detail.
20. Rev (Posts: 12; Member since: 19 Oct 2010)
Agreed. Every comparison I've seen gives a huge edge to N8. Only better thing with iPhone pics is less noise and even that simply comes from way heavier preprocessing which also causes other problems like actually losing details. If you want the unnatural colors of iPhone you simply select Vivid on N8. No way to get realistic colors with iPhone though.
27. iphone-user (unregistered)
You may be right about the night pics, but the difference is not big during the day - this is when most of my phones pics are taken.
29. htainlintha (Posts: 41; Member since: 20 Mar 2010)
iphone doesn't even have dedicated key for camera and shitty glass body, dis review is very biased and UI on N8 is way different rom my current N8
17. drizzle (unregistered)
I SUPPORT NOKIA. NOKIA PHONES HAVE TOO MANY VERTUES. IT WILL BE PROVED AFTER PEOPLE USE OTHER PHONES FOR SOME TIME.
18. RJC (unregistered)
Oh and you really can't call iPhone 4's camera great. Not even good because it produces pictures that don't correlate to reality at all. Photos are overexposed, colors are wrong and too saturated, low light performance is below average. Sorry, but those aren't qualities of a good camera. Quite the opposite to me.
19. Rev (Posts: 12; Member since: 19 Oct 2010)
iPhone has become the phone for the masses and using it is starrting to be embarrasing. I finally decided to choose N8 and the phone is really good. Hope they fix the browser to make it even better. BTW, something many reviews seem to get wrong... The two press camera selection is actually a nice feature. The first press is preview so you can click through the list to see the effects and then clikck again to actually select.
22. rafaelinux (Posts: 31; Member since: 29 Jun 2009)
Deeply biased or just ignorant review. At least on the camera part. (And that is an important item when shopping for a mobile phone, at least for me).
Saying that the 12mpx shots of the N8 have no much more detail for a 12mp shot, against the iPhone's 5mpx is just blind.
Today's 5mpx shots, by any phone or company just seem plain detail-less when compared to the N8's! look at the shadows, or at bright areas, or, well, wherever you want, photos are way better than some point and shoot cameras, even! (beats the hell out of my Canon 1200 IS)
The iPhone's is simple, I'll give you that, but that's all you get. You don't have any control at all. Want to change this or that... I'm so sorry.
On the other hand, the Nokia N8, while not that good in terms of UI looks, lets you do some little tweaking for a photo easily. Even then it doesn't have all the settings one would like it to.
OS designers should indeed put a "Stupid User" giant button in the center of the screen, so you can swap between an UI and a 1-button OS.
24. ecko23 (unregistered)
Symbian is fuckin crap!~!!!!!!!
25. ecko23 (unregistered)
Symbian is straight up garbage!!! Not impressed one bit!
37. thatdude1 (unregistered)
You are fuckin' crap!!!!
26. Bridget (unregistered)
N8 is a true world phone. iPhone, US version is locked—forever. N8 wins!
28. Jack1059 (unregistered)
I dont give a rats backside about apple, sony, nokia or android. Im shelling out the cash I want the friggin thing to do what I want. I want good battery life, real around the world use (all int'l frequencies, etc), good camera, good call quality, and I want OTA updates so I can feel the love of the company. If you leave me out in the cold, Im leavin you baby. It just wont work if you wont pay attention to me, and at least pretend my cash outlay was meaningful to you. Apps are great, but not essential to me. So based on all that I can say Nokia hits the marks for me. It has shortcomings but I can forgive them, because they check most of my boxes. Once you get used to Symbian its fine, not great, but fine. Im a fickle date though, if someone else comes along who checks more boxes, Im moving to them. Sadly Im a smartphone floozy so stay on your game and at least try to keep me and I'll stay. For now though the N8 is looking like the best for me based on my criteria.
31. iPhone sucks (unregistered)
iPhone sucks, the "new" feature in iOS 4 and iPhone 4 is multitasking which my LG Cookie has from the start, and it doesn't have full Bluetooth support (iPhone).
I think Nokia is better in quality, build, support, and price. Also, most "upgrades" for iPhone came when 3GS was released. Too late. N8 has them from start.
iPhone, and all apple products are for designers, not for business and normal people.
iPhone's just glassy piece of s**t with partially working antenna.
38. random passenger (unregistered)
from giving much thought and comparison, i think nokia is most fitting for my current condition and so..
being best is not everything, well sure iphone is very good. if someone giving me free one right now from the two, i would probably choose iphone.
but, its really designed for only not average person. if average person try it, like you can only afford the phone but not apps external and probably future product, well, youre going to hit walls someday. definetely
and one thing is bugging me, it doesnt feel as handphone,smartphone whatever u call it. but it doesnt feel primary as phone. more like a new generation of machine.
and i heard from my friend, u must buy much other app/accesorry etc. for someone with upside down income like me which cant even guarentee high income in future, and cannot do alot of modding, in short, average its probably best choice to choose nokia since it doesnt need as much extra payment like apple product.
well, although 100% good phone is impossible, 99% or 80% is not. both are imperfect anyways and it just take time to get used to it.
besides, considering handphones/smartphones probably updated massively each month, long term used in your phone will become deciding factor, unless u rich. seeing apple mostly just for those which wants a premium item, its not fitting for me buying new item now, and old 3 months later since im barely updated about new phone..
39. ukiya21 (unregistered)
Did you said n8's dynamic range is weak?? OMG.... If it is weak how about Apple's?? Weak but still strongest in camera phone world.... sorry but i think your review is a little bit bias...
40. diamondlord (unregistered)
we are phone lovers and users of devices, wen we say device we mean a small machine that can perform multiple operations.
i have both the Nokia n8 and the iPhone 4 but if u ask me to make a choice i will choose the Nokia n8 1 million and 1 times because of the ease and smart abilities to do so many things on the go any where.
The angles where the iPhone 4 is credited is the safari browser, the retina display, on screen keyboard that's where i can commend them but leave the others to Nokia 8 is money well invested cos its truly an amazing phone from Nokia and d Symbian company
an elder is never a child cos it has seen Wat the little baby will see when it grows up.
THE APPLE IPHONE 4 IS A SMART PHONE BUT THE NOKIA N8 IS A SMARTER PHONE.
verdict Nokia n8 is rocking above d iphone 4.
41. Aaron 4 (unregistered)
N8 sucks you can't compare n8 with iPhone 4
i4 has 1ghz processor compared with 600 - 700mhz in nokia n8
And iPhone 4 also has retina display which is enough to make someone buy iPhone 4
And don't forget that iOS is years aheadfrom simbian because of it's stability and and ease of use. It's response to touch is far better. And iPhone 4 also has double the
RAM of n8. And iPhone has a much sleek design compared to the bulky n8. And if n8 is better then why is there such huge difference between their sales? iPhone is light years ahead of n8.
42. N8 (unregistered)
Hahaha! somebody still actually believes that 600$ iphone can out-think 400$ n8 or even 200$ android when in any case both loses when it comes to hardware, especially camera.
43. iPhone (unregistered)
But iPhone is easy to use, of course there are limitations but who cares ! Im rich ! I dont care ! My systers boyfriend whos idiot, iDont care !
44. Lik (unregistered)
Pretty biased review this...;well what do we expect?
I've test driven both phones and my verdict is :
if you want to buy a status symbol to look cool amongst your peers, iphone
if you really want a phone and want to be cool nokia n8
The "strength" of the iPhone is the app store....but how many of those apps do people really use?
Well, the iPhone is being pushed by the same generation pushing reality tv...bunch of mentally challenged morons. 'Nuff said.
It's not about technology, it's what you do with it, people, and the N8 let's you do what you want, and will still be relevant in 4yrs. Like my friend's 2 yr old N97 which wowed him, although he also has a BBToch...Nokia gives you freedom, but you chose the golden cage of self-conscious bling bling ..
45. rudeboi (unregistered)
n8 is nothing in front of i phone 4
46. antidote (unregistered)
@rudeboi you´re right lol
Now. Cam you please teach me how to send a file through Bluetooth in the iphone 4 to any of my friends?
Also teach me how to make a video-call to any phone out there non smartphone via?
Well. I cant. This one of the reasons i choose symbian. I can make a video call using skype (wifi) or the old fashion way. To anyone who as a 3G handset.
And the pics or videos i made, i can also send to my friends via bluettoth.
I cant make a video-call to an iphone nor send files to an iphone cause it doesnt support those LOL
Damn... basic things.. a phone that costs 700Eur cant do those?!?! NO WAY!!
48. SHERAZ SHAH (unregistered)
Nokia n8 is the best camera phone,,,,,i love it
49. J.C. (unregistered)
It would be interesting to do the same comparison using a Nokia N8 with Symbian Anna or Symbian Belle...
50. juvay (unregistered)
n8 all the way!!!!!!!!
51. davy jones (unregistered)
what about android smart phones . nokia is losing to it.