Nokia N8 vs Samsung Galaxy S

If a Clash of the Titans movie was to be made for the smartphone industry, it would certainly feature the Nokia N8 and the Samsung Galaxy S. These are the current cream-of-the-crop handsets of the world's largest and second-largest cell phone manufacturers. The Nokia N8 and Samsung Galaxy S might be the high road for both companies, but the purposes behind them are different.

The Nokia N8 is a flagship phone with premium feel, and still, with Symbian^3, it feels like the pinnacle of Nokia that were, a peak hardware effort, before the Finnish company morphs into something yet unknown. Nokia wanted to make the highest end device to run a tried and true mobile OS that millions of users are accustomed to for years. In that respect, it is an evolutionary phone, despite some best-in-class features.

The Samsung Galaxy S, on the other hand, represents the top effort of a novel path that Samsung undertook with Android, having the fastest graphics chipset in a phone, and an enormous  4”  Super AMOLED screen. Nokia N8 is like the brilliant film of a beloved movie star at the zenith of their hectic carrier, while the Galaxy S is the straight-As grad student, ready to change the world.


The Nokia N8 and the Samsung Galaxy S are both touchscreen-only devices, and that is where the design similarities end. Nokia N8 is beautifully crafted from a single sheet of anodized aluminum, and exudes that premium feel, aided by the solid heft of the metal body. It is enough to run your nail along the back, or rub your thumb against the etched logo, in order to conclude that this is a high-end craftsmanship.

The Samsung Galaxy S also wows you, but from a different perspective. It is extremely thin at just 0.39 inches (9.9 mm), compared to the Nokia N8's 0.51 inches (12.9 mm). It is also very light in the hand, and thus doesn't feel like the big phone it actually is. Being made entirely of plastic has its positives - plastic is lighter and less rigid thаn metal, and this might actually help the precious Super AMOLED screen survive drops and other rough handling.

The Galaxy S experience centers around that 4” 480x800 pixels Super AMOLED display, and the 3.5” regular AMOLED with 360x640 pixels  can't hold water against the Super AMOLED Goliath. Thanks to the Super AMOLED tech, the Galaxy S delivers incredibly high-contrast ratio and great viewing angles. For the most part, the ordinary AMOLED screen on the Nokia N8 manages to replicate this experience, but things get quite different when taken outside, under direct sunlight. The regular AMOLED has a relatively high reflectance ratio, while the Super AMOLED's is only 4%, one of the lowest in a smartphone. Still, Nokia has done a great job coating the N8, and the display is decent outside, but the Galaxy S fares even better, on par with the best LCD screens out there.

Both handsets have physical home buttons under their screens. The Samsung Galaxy S, though, also adds capacitive back and menu Android buttons on its sides. Android’s hardware back and menu keys are frankly a better idea, since the virtual Options and Back in Symbian just take screen real estate.

Looking around the handsets, we find not less than ten openings and buttons on the sides of the Nokia N8, compared to the four in the Samsung Galaxy S, indicative of the difference in the design approach.

One notable difference is that the Nokia N8 has a non-removable battery. The card slots (SIM and microSD), are taken out of the battery compartment, and placed on the left side, while Galaxy S has them inside. On the right side the Nokia N8 has the camera button, while the Galaxy S uses the touchscreen to focus and shoot.

The buttons on both handsets are very responsive, with enough travel. The important ports are protected either by sliding lids or by plastic caps, and, all in all, despite the difference in materials, both the Nokia N8 and the Samsung Galaxy S are manufactured with precision, and feel like they can go for years of faithful service.

Nokia N8 360 Degrees View:

Samsung Galaxy S 360 Degrees View:



1. E unregistered

Galaxy S is the winner. No question!

33. rafael.roque

Posts: 78; Member since: Jul 03, 2010

I disagree... Yes question!

2. me unregistered

I prefer Nokia N8. Seen on the image difference in dark and videos amazing voice and solid aluminium cover - all of these things are on the side of N8

3. cristianer

Posts: 42; Member since: Aug 20, 2010

That's nice but before that I prefer Android and not Symbian

42. Phonepro unregistered

Symbian is very flexible but not for the User that wants to have the easiest interface. But if you are used to the Symbian System it's not worse than the Iphone or the Android System. In fact the possibilities Symbian offers to the more experienced user are more advanced, It's just not the OS for someone who is into the Design but more the OS for the ones that need a compact fast and open System and for those who are willing to invest some time in customizing it to ones need. If you are the secound one Symbian is best for you - if you are more into the Out-Of-The-Box-But-Less-Personal type - Get the Android - Or The Iphone.

4. samking21

Posts: 4; Member since: Jun 24, 2010

In my opinion, Samsung is the best because it combines many powerful things inside, such as processor speed and screen size and color screen technology and the operating system and a stronger battery, for the strength of Nokia camera and read the media and external storage )) Samsung wins ((

5. Pio unregistered

Weird comparison... Ufcourse Android for me is a winner.

6. Dan the Man unregistered

I own both phones, here is my verdict (OS-aside), let's assign 1 point for each round: Build Quality: N8 with its aluminum build and scratch-resistant gorilla glass display Display: Galaxy S with its larger 4" SAMOLED technology Connectivity: N8 which aces the competition with HDMI out and USB Host functionality Call Quality: N8 with more natural-sounding conversation, noise-cancellation Imaging: N8 with 12MP camera, Xenon-flash Video capture: Draw - both phones take gorgeous videos Durability: N8 due to its metallic build and scratch-resistant display. My Galaxy S got its first scratch on the 2nd day (rubber case is a must) SIM and Memory card handling: N8 due to easy access on the side without having to remove battery 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 Battery Life: N8 charges every 2 days Apps pre-installed: N8 Apps downloadable: Galaxy S Price (unlocked): Nokia N8 US$ 530.00, Galaxy S US$ 700.00 Total Tally: Nokia - 10 points, Galaxy S - 2 points If you include Anroid OS as an advantage, Tally: Nokia - 10 points, Galaxy S - 3 points

9. Franco unregistered

Yeap, but should end 10 to N8 and 4 to Galaxy S, you forgot to mention ergonomics and fluid interface.

10. Franco unregistered

Also forgot: Email, Galaxy S is a lot better: so: 10 to n8 , 5 to Galaxy S.

15. DontHateOnS60

Posts: 872; Member since: Apr 20, 2009

N8 has multitouch in its email client. I don't remember my Captivate having that.

16. DontHateOnS60

Posts: 872; Member since: Apr 20, 2009

Ability to control your data connection: N8 UI: Galaxy S Loudspeaker: N8 GPS: N8 Navigation: N8 because you can preload all map data onto your phone. Signal reception: N8 by a landslide.

17. Dan the Man unregistered

@ Franco: that's why I said "OS-aside" from the beginning to offset the UI of the phones but I get your point. Ergonomics has two fronts: software interface and device-handling. Samsung "probably" wins on the software front but the N8 wins on the device-handling front: works both on single and dual-handed use, ease of access to SIM, memory card, doesn't slip off your hand that easily. :)

18. Dan the Man unregistered

@DontHateOnS60: Points well raised. I agree. :)

19. jedrek

Posts: 1; Member since: Oct 18, 2010

In my view, a better OS worths not only "1 point", so as some of your list take no "1 point" advantage. I chose the Android one. But one thing I have to admit that --- i9k's GPS sucks!

22. Sayantan Nandi unregistered

everyone has a different needs for buying a phone.....u cant really pick a winner.....if u consider a few more points 1.galaxy S can upload to twitter fb flickr youtube etc directly from the gallery app...n8 cant 2.widgets on galaxy S are better...u have only fixed size widgets on the n8 3.galaxy S doesnt show checker boxes while zooming in and out the web browser....n8 does it even for simple pages 4.u take 4 steps to enter a web address on n8.....galaxy S does with voice commands(FroYo) or 1 step(Eclair/Donut/Cupcake) 5.u cant type on QWERTY in portait mode on n8....galaxy S supports t9,handwriting as well as QWERTY 6.galaxy S is DivX HD certified,Dolby certified,SRS certified...sure n8 plays DivX HD..but not certified yet :P 7.Its GPU can display 90million triangles/sec.......n8 wont do even 20million/sec...iphone 4 and other 1Ghz snapragon processor based phones do 28million/sec 8.galaxy S comes with free Office Editing app....n8 lacks it so i gave 8 points where galaxy S wins......can give many better lets not choose a winner and let the buyers decide their needs to buy the phone and those creating a fuss with GPS on galaxy got fixed with FroYo locks perfectly now :)... i donno about Galaxy S captivate...but i9000 has a multitouch client for email

26. anuragdahiya

Posts: 1; Member since: Oct 19, 2010

i agree

29. Stoli89

Posts: 333; Member since: Jun 28, 2010

6. I find it hard to believe you're suggesting the Galaxy S comes with more CODEC support than the N8. Try again. 7. Actually, the N8's Broadcom GPU does 32 millions triangles/sec; more than the iPhone 4's GPU within its A4 SOC. Both are trumped by the Galaxy S' Hummingbird. ----Browser----The N8 browser will be replaced with a new Qt based browser. In my opinion, for the next 6 weeks...use Opera 10 Mobile; in any event, it's faster than any of the stock browser's for Android or IOS. ---Qwerty Portrait----The current firmware will be upgraded soon to support. Once done, SWYPE will then be able to include its own Portrait solution. ----OS versus UI---- There are a lot of features integrated within the Symbian OS that rivals fail to offer. Its the only OS designed from the ground up for embedded devices and its ability to operate with limited resources are unparalleled. However, the User Interface in not on par with IOS nor Android 2.1/2.2. It's OK for Symbian users, but it is not a draw for converts. Hopefully, both Meego and the Symbian^4 UI's will move the bar ahead and not only attempt catch-up. Bottom line...there's a difference between comparing and entire OS versus comparing the UI stack. ---30 fps---seems this has already been easily cracked on the N8. One can assume, from the reviews and feeback, that an offical firmware update would bring the 30fps into the mainstream. for equivalent build quality...comparing a phone with a plastic body to one made from a single piece of anodized aluminum is a bit of a stretch, IMHO.

32. jd829

Posts: 155; Member since: Feb 24, 2010

Try some ginko biloba to help your memory, my captivate supports multi-touch in email.

34. rafael.roque

Posts: 78; Member since: Jul 03, 2010

FYI the N8's Broadcom GPU can produce 30M triangles/second. Which is on part with the iphone4 and

37. thatdude1 unregistered

Download Nokia messaging service-much better than Android stock experience.

7. jpropin

Posts: 152; Member since: May 20, 2010

'll take the Nokia. It's better built, will last longer and in the end be a better value. Nokia supports their devices long after they have been released. Samsung's support of it's products is poor. And thats being generous. Having Android for me does'nt make up for the fact that it's still a Samsung. And that's not good. I got burned with the Behold II and as The Who said....."Won't Get Fooled Again"

11. Franco unregistered

Nokia hardware build is the best ever... but I got the poor Sansung due Android marketplace.. a lot more softwares.

12. jpropin

Posts: 152; Member since: May 20, 2010

If I need 400 different versions of apps that have different names but all do the same thing, then I'll worry about the marketplace. I don't need 40 apps to tell me how to tie a necktie, and one tic-tac-toe game is enough for me. Don't need 25 of those. I want a phone that will last and won't crumble when it hits a floor made of rubber. A phone I can squeeze tightly in my hand and think, "man, this is solid" A phone that is not all foam and no beer and does'nt write checks it can't cash. In other words a device that can simply do what it says it can do in reality and not on a spec-sheet.

13. bucky

Posts: 3797; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

both phones are shite. Samsung and Nokia forget about their phones quickly. both are buggy too. If you absolutey MUST have a nokia get an n900. Otherwise stay clear of both these phones.

14. chrtran unregistered

so true. i have the nokia 5800 NAM (from like 2008) and its still supported by nokia, just got another software update lastweek (v50, north america is behind euro updates)

21. haha unregistered

nokias service is bullcrap atleast out here in India.. Samsung out here can get ur phone fixed in a few minutes.. which is why i left nokia after having a number of phones with major issues.. as for firmware updates.. nokias updates basically fixed the bugs that should have not been there in the first place..(with no major improvements.. i still own an n82 which has gone nowhere from where it was when i bought it) which means in the case of nokia if yu want the next version of symbian.. buy the new phone...or be stuck with the same firmware for life!. btw my galaxy does not have the gps issue.. the gps issue is present only for those phones that are locked to the operators cos of the additional firmware that is shuffed into the phone by them(operators)

30. Stoli89

Posts: 333; Member since: Jun 28, 2010

I updated my back-up 5800XM with PNHT's port of C6-00 custom firmware for the 5800. Homescreen widgets, full kinetics, a faster boot, more free RAM, and very conservative use of c drive. The UI is also faster/smoother. The CFW is based on C6's second firmware update (11.0.029) and it blows the standard 5800XM (51.0.006) out of the water. Coupled with an OtterBox Commuter case which makes the phone feel better in the hand...this old 5800XM is still a reliable and very capable little phone.

8. perfect boy unregistered

just love moto milestone series

20. cristianer

Posts: 42; Member since: Aug 20, 2010

Yeah. I'm waiting the milestone 2 in argentina

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