Nokia N8 vs Apple iPhone 4

The iPhone took the cell phone industry by surprise in 2007, and managed to usurp half of its profits for only three years in active duty, with only 3% of the world's handsets sold. This was mostly at the financial expense of Nokia, which got knocked down from its perch due to some complacency issues, typical of a sprawling empire. Its share of the cell phone industry profits shrunk threefold, and it was even losing money at some point in the epicenter of the financial crisis.

The Finns are no doubt willing to reclaim some of this space back, so they began some movers and shakers at the management level, bringing a foreigner at the helm for the first time in Nokia's history. The swan song of the previous management is personalized in the Nokia N8, the current flagship of the company, on which a lot of hopes are placed for a turnaround.

The Apple iPhone 4, on the other hand, is the culmination of Apple's efforts to craft an outstanding consumer-friendly device, that will keep people’s attention for a year, before the next iteration is introduced. Apple started a new major design cycle with the iPhone 4, introduced the Retina Display  in it, and custom-made one of the fastest smartphone chipsets on the market, making it the most compelling iPhone package so far. Thus the battle lines are drawn, let's see how the two hotties fare against each other...


Designwise, it is the steel and glass of the iPhone 4 vs the aluminum of the Nokia N8. One shows the craftsmanship perfected over the years that culminates on a phone made from a single sheet of anodized aluminum, with an etched Nokia logo on the back.

The other has made the thinnest smartphone on the market, out of the most unorthodox materials. The Gorilla Glass casing of the Apple iPhone 4 might have raised questions about its fragility, but coupled with the stainless steel frame around the phone, it also makes for an appearance never before seen in a phone, just what we would expect from the cool kids of the Silicon Valley.

Both phones have 3.5” screens, but the difference in technologies used makes for separate experiences. The iPhone 4's IPS-LCD has been called Retina Display, for its astonishing 640x960 pixels of resolution. It is bright, sharp and clear, and possibly represents the best that the LCD technology can offer for now.

The Nokia N8, on the other hand, has the competing technology in its AMOLED screen, with its high contrast and vivid colors, set back by the 360x640 pixels of resolution, and higher than the iPhone 4 reflectance under bright sunlight, which diminishes visibility. The Nokia N8's display is also protected by the scratch-proof Gorilla Glass, but the touchscreen layer is slightly less responsive than the one on the iPhone 4. On the other hand, Nokia N8's screen has excellent haptic feedback, whereas the iPhone 4 doesn't include that function. The displays offer bright and clear images, with the iPhone 4's higher resolution placing it in the lead.

Both handsets only have one physical home key under the screens. The one on the Nokia N8, though, is tiny and hard to reach when using the phone with one hand, without the risk of dropping the handset. Speaking of dropping, the iPhone 4 now feels more slippery than the previous generations, because of the glass surface.

The handsets weigh roughly the same and have similar dimensions with the notable exception of thickness. The iPhone 4 is surreally thin at 0.37 inch (9.3 mm), while the Nokia N8 clocks in at 0.51 inches (12.9 mm), excluding the elevated area on the back, where the camera is located, necessary to fit the big sensor of the 12MP shooter, and the Xenon flash. The glass back of the iPhone is smooth, with only the logo, and a small round area for the lens' eye plus the tiny dot of the LED flash in the upper left corner.

There are no less than ten elements, like openings and buttons, around the sides of the Nokia N8, which comes to show the different design approaches in the creation of the handsets.. Both phones sport non-removable batteries, thus their SIM card slots are placed on the sides, but accessing it in the Nokia N8 means just prying open the plastic cover, while the micro SIM tray on the right of the iPhone 4 needs a paper clip to come out.

It is immediately apparent that a lot of thought and sleepless nights have gone into the design and manufacturing of the iPhone 4 and the Nokia N8 from multiple teams. The two phones represent some of the best pieces of industrial design in the smartphone universe, each with its own character – the strong but smooth aluminum unibody of the Nokia N8 comes in a bunch of different colors, and the steel and glass construction of the iPhone 4 resembles a concept phone, made by a boutique designer shop in limited series.

Nokia N8 360 Degrees View:

Apple iPhone 4 360 Degrees View:



1. bucky

Posts: 3795; Member since: Sep 30, 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: 73; Member since: Mar 20, 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: Jul 11, 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: Oct 19, 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: Oct 19, 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: Oct 19, 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: Sep 09, 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: Oct 19, 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: 73; Member since: Mar 20, 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


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: Oct 19, 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: Jun 29, 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!

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