Nokia N8 vs. iPhone 4: Smartphone showdown

Nokia's N8 smartphone throws its hat into the ring, challenging Apple's iPhone 4.

Nokia's N8 smartphone is set to hit Australian shores in Q4 2010.

Nokia's N8 smartphone is set to hit Australian shores in Q4 2010.

Apple has thrown down the gauntlet to its competitors, releasing the fourth-generation iPhone, appropriately dubbed the iPhone 4. Samsung has already signalled its intent to challenge Apple with its Galaxy S Android smartphone, while HTC's flagship Desire smartphone is already on the market. Now Nokia, one of the world's largest mobile phone manufacturers, has also entered the ring with its new N8 smartphone.

Read our comprehensive Nokia N8 review.

UPDATE: The Nokia N8 smartphone will be available through all of Australia's three major mobile telcos — Telstra, Optus and VHA — for $749 up-front from 1 November.

On paper, the Nokia N8 certainly looks like an impressive piece of hardware. We were taken through an early sneak peek of the touchscreen smartphone with Australian Nokia representatives and were reasonably impressed. The N8 has a 12-megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss lens and a Xenon flash, it records 720p HD video and has a HDMI-out port so you can watch high quality footage through a television, and it also supports Dolby Digital sound. It also has an aluminium body and is available in five colours including white, orange, green and black.

During our demo, the HDMI-out capabilities were particularly impressive — we watched a short movie clip through a full HD television and the video was clear and smooth. The Nokia N8 will ship with plenty of accessories, including a dongle to connect a USB flash drive to the phone to share, transfer and store a range content.

With this in mind, how will the Nokia N8 stack up against the Apple iPhone 4?

Feature Apple iPhone 4 Nokia N8 Verdict?
Operating system (OS) Apple iOS4 Symbian S^3 iPhone 4
Display technology Capacitive retina IPS Capacitive OLED iPhone 4
Display resolution 640x960 pixels 640x360 pixels iPhone 4
Multitouch Yes Yes Draw
Camera 5 megapixels, LED flash, autofocus, geotagging 12 megapixels, Xenon flash, autofocus, geotagging, face detection Nokia N8
FM radio No Yes Nokia N8
GPS Yes Yes Draw
Internal memory 16GB or 32GB 16GB iPhone 4
Expandable memory No microSD card slot Nokia N8
Dimensions 115.2 x 58.6 x 9.3mm 113.5 x 59 x 12.9mm iPhone 4
Weight 137g 135g Nokia N8
Application store Apple App Store Nokia Ovi Store iPhone 4
Processor Apple A4 ARM 11 (680MHz) Unknown
3G networks HSDPA 850/ 900/1900/2100 HSDPA 850/900/1700/1900/2100 Nokia N8
Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n 802.11b/g/n Draw
Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP 3.0 with A2DP Nokia N8
Quoted talk time Up to 7 hours Up to 5.9 hours iPhone 4
Quoted standby time Up to 300 hours Up to 400 hours Nokia N8
Adobe Flash support No Yes Nokia N8
HDMI-out No Yes Nokia N8

As you can see, both smartphones stack up reasonably well, with each possessing its own strengths and weaknesses. The Nokia N8 is the first Nokia phone to run the latest Symbian OS, Symbian S^3. The changes are mostly related to performance and stability, with only minor changes to the actual user interface. During our brief hands on, the Nokia N8 was zippy and fast, and offered a smooth multitouch experience, bringing it closer to the iPhone and Android smartphones. However, the menus don't look as polished as the interface on HTC's Android smartphones or Apple's iOS4, and we were left feeling that Symbian S^3 merely brings Nokia in line with its competitors, without pushing ahead of them.

Although we're looking forward to seeing Nokia really take the next step with Symbian S^4 (scheduled for release sometime in 2011), it's the N8's hardware which is getting some serious attention, in particular the 12-megapixel camera, HDMI out and HD video recording features.

The N8's 3.5in display is the same size as the iPhone 4's screen but uses OLED technology. Apple's iPhone 4 utilises IPS technology (as does the iPad, but thanks to its 640x960 pixel resolution it has been described as a "retina" display, due to the human eye being unable to distinguish individual pixels. We are keen to see exactly how it stacks up against the N8's screen, but it is expected to beat a regular OLED display. Unlike Samsung's Galaxy S, the Nokia N8 has an aluminium body that feels well constructed.

What do you think about the Nokia N8 and the Apple iPhone 4? Tell us in the comments below!

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Tags ApplesymbianApple iPhone 4mobile phonesNokiasmartphonesNokia N8

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Ross Catanzariti

Ross Catanzariti

Good Gear Guide

36 Comments

Sam

1

Hi ! I have the I-phone 3 & would like to data transfer to N-8 bought today. Please suggest the software, as I am stuck. Regards, Sam

tahir

2

i have buy my new N8 yesterday previously im using iPhone & honestly the competition the quite tough between these two handset.

Jim B

3

Crashes often, drop out of network, not easy to use.

Distinct

4

Given that both items are phones, it is disappointing that this is not the focus of the report. In fact I can find no comments, anywhere in here, regarding this primary element - but then i am a challenged IT user and so it may be hidden there somewhere.

rama

5

is nokia be safe in water
plz reply me

James

6

Honestly the worst decision I ever made was buying a Nokia N8 the camera is awesome but the phone is pathetic. you are luckly to get 1/2 day on battery and lass if making calls the stats quoted above are false

anu

7

nokia n8 is good

andy

8

THE IPHONE 4
i upgraded to the iphone 4 i had it 24 hours and returned it
the iphone 4 not user friendly i found out that you can not set your own text tone you are limited to what is in the iphone
you have to set up an i tunes account to activate the phone
the i phone 4 uses a micro sim card apple customer service is useless it has taken 5 emails to de activate the i tunes account.
THE NOKIA N8
i replaced the iphone 4 with the nokia N8
i had it up and running with in 15 minutes
i blue toothed my ring and text tones over with in minutes
the nokia n8 is very user friendly for a smart phone
my friend has the iphone and and he tried my N8 and said he is going to get the nokia when his iphone contract ends
ith nokia N8 is faster to log on to the internet and easier to use
the iphone has a 5mp camera
the nokia has a 12mp camera i have taken some beautiful photos of my kittens on the phone it also has a mini HDMI conection and comes complete with all the cables
i am also very impressed with the battery performance
the iphone does not have an expandable memory where as the nokia does
everything the iphone can do so will the nokia N8
the nokia is also cheeper to buy compared to the iphone
in my opinion the nokia N8 is a lot better phone.

Allan

9

Not Happy Jan
I have been a Nokia person my whole mobile phone user life having had some 15 different models and enjoyed them all. Even when they switched to the smaller charger jack I just took that as a bump in the road.
NOT ANY MORE.
The N8 is a piece of crap. My family purchased 4 of these phones and all 4 have the same operating problems. One phone was exchanged with Vodafone and they admitted there was a problem with these phones randomly turning off. Well guess what, make that 5 phones that don’t work.
The touch screen is useless and freezes all the time, the Wi-Fi connection fails and is inconsistent, the Ovi store application now on 2 phones will not work and all the 4 phones randomly turn off when either making or recieving calls or in the middle of them.
Nokia’s response to this is for me to send the phones away. Now thats just great as we need these phones everyday for work and safety and Nokia will not replace them beforehand.
Mind you we are talking about phones that are only 4 weeks old!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Nokia said take them into the Nokia Service centre and see what they can. Well that’s just great, Nokia closed their store down here in Darwin 2 years ago so the closest store is in Brisbane. gee just a short 3 day drive. maybe they closed their store down a bit early and should have waited unti the N8 came out so they had more work to do.
If you think I am pissed off you would be correct!
If you like I can post the emails to and from Nokia just to show you how bad they treat their customers. I have read a lot of review sites and forums from around the world and I have read a response from the Nokia US PR Manager and she believes that millions of customers can’t all be wrong. Well I guess if they enjoy losing market share and credibility of their products they are dong a great job.
Vodafone now have just dismissed it and said they would send the phones away. They use to say an update will be coming soon via the Nokia website but I guess they released that they can’t get away with that anymore because there is too many crap N8′s out there.
In my opinion, don’t buy an N8, just go and buy something else that actually works.
Cheers

rahul

10

Having used N8 and Iphone 4 thru last 6 months , I can say with confidence that N8 is far more desirable for a regular user like me .Consider the below
1. Imaoge and video quality far better
2. Sound/audio better any day
3. Basic voice and SMS better e.g. in N8 like any nokia phone , you can draft n number of SMS , in iphone you can at best retain the last typed message as 'draft'.
4., price wise N8 35% cheaper in India

Go for N8 if you have to choose

danae kennedy

11

i got and iphone 4 five days ago and dropped it off today as it is faulty should i just get the nokia n8?

C'waz

12

Nokia N8 gradually slows it;s performance....due to samgung it's price is also falling rapidly...if I were u I would go for Samsung galaxy s2 similar price....greatest smart phone till now with andriod market. Ovi Store sucks!

gc

13

after using N8 for three months...i am giving up on N8. I agreed with Allan, N8 is a really a piece of crap. I am switching to iPhone4. N8 does not have a face distance sensor. As a result, the damn phone keeps hanging up me when my cheek touches the scree.

N8 drops calls whenever sensing Bluetooth device/WIFI near by.

N8 keeps claiming how good the camera is, however, when you taken enough pics, the damn phone crash.

If you uses Apple, the damn phone's OVI store would not do you any good..

I was so annoyed this piece of crap, i switched to Iphone4 today. Don't buy N8, you will be sorry.

Adimal

14

@Allan

Although you're not the only person to report the issues you've had, it's like we're using two different phones completely.

I have never had the n8 freeze up, drop connections or just turn off. The Ovi store has worked from day one, no problems.

I'e noticed though that most people complaining about the issues you've had, are Vodaphone customers - the Vodaphone carrier PR1.1 software release was buggy as hell; one might guess the the PR1.2 was not much better.

I'm wondering what version of software you're running?

Perhaps the the Anna update (PR2.0) to be released in Australia by the end of the month for all carriers might fix your issues?

Nomez

15

I had no problem setting up my N8 from day 1- was working, synced and sorted within 10 minutes. Battery life is fantastic, but I don't have all apps, wifi, wlan or regular updates turned on. Knowing the tricky(sneaky) default settings and how to change them is a must....but ask the phone dealer to help you out if you're stuck. It's a brilliant phone and, with the promise of Symbian Anna, I'm looking forward to the OS update

W Head

16

I have had my N8 for almost a year now and nothing beats watching a video hooked up to my plasma through the HDMI connection and connecting with a Nintendi Wii controller as the remote. Also I can use the maps/navigation whilst FM Transmitting my music collection to my car as well as having the phone connected through bluetooth. What a great phone, now I just want the Anna and Belle updates and it will be the king of smartphones.

hung

17

nokia n8 is a very good phone at this time

sukhwinder

18

n8 is more preferred as to i4

Rubix

19

Ive had the N8 for nearly 1.5 years and i hate it.
Ive always had Blackberrys and HTC's and this is the worst of the smart phones ive ever had. It crashes randomly , program errors and has not been a reliable phone since new. Emails wont PUSH correctly and have had to carry my laptop since...... what a shame.

Des

20

Put N-desk on N8 you will love the phone.i have downloaded the update for the camera,it takes the camera 2 the nxt level.symbain anna s much better.I enjoy playing games on n8.

Farid

21

This is the inly website where is written that iPhone is better,and also N8 can have max 48 GB(INternal 16GB and memory card of 32GB) but iPhone can have only 32 GB max space

Gaurav Singh

22

nokia N8 is best option for user...
it support all format of video except mpeg.
but always better smart phone all other..

sandile

23

I have been using my nokia N8 for more than 8 months now it
Don't ever let's me down its a good phone
I love it go an get yours nw u wont be sorry trust me.

Bornfree

24

The n8 is a great smartphone,i love it,nokia has been my favourite phone and it will continue to be.

Jijo Mathew

25

I Love my N8 Except the ram of it

Annie

26

i agree Allan Nokia N8 is a "is a piece of crap" and i think here you were controlling your words... :p, i got one myself and it been change 4 BLOODY TIME!!!

Julia

27

Thanks to those who wrote in. Based upon what I have read I now WON'T be getting a N8! My Husband UNFORTUNATELY is using a Samsung Galaxy Ace. To date it has two hours standby and 20 mins talk time, have contacted the company we purchased it off for return and I feel we will be in for a protracted 'discussion'. I was going o get a N8 to replace it, but it would seem it would be out of the frying pan into the fire here.

Jesse

28

this is to allan, the only reson it drops out is cos it is on vodafone. my friend had it on vodafone, so i got it on telstra, and it works way better and doesnt drop out. get ur facts straight. its a perfectly good phone.

Matthew Turner

29

Guys guys guys... Are you kidding me?
I've updated my Nokia-N8 to the ultimate Belle last update release! Its just outstanding!!!
As you can see N8 got 9 points while iPhone4 got 7.. so for those guys who say that iPhone or blackberry are better phones than the N8, they don't know anything about how Nokia made it. Or about how flamboyant the phone is! N8 is the best phone ever lived. Till now, we don't know whats coming next by Nokia. They will rape all of the other brands... Cheers.

narinderpal singh

30

n8 is better than iphone4
in any condition.
n8 battry backup is more than iphone4

Zulfiqar

31

n8 is beter phone only a speed speed problem so im waiting
for n8-01 please ralease it soon

Henk Bekker

32

I love my N8. With the latest Belle sw update the performance is awesome. I'm due for an upgrade in August and are looking what is on offer. Strange to see that the N8 are now only available on the more expensive contracts being offered by Vodacom SA. I don't think when it was made available in SA in 2010 it was realised just what a great handset it would be. Nokia for life..

Steve

33

Worst phone of all time.

Nothing but problems, software doesn't work, freezes and then there is the crappy Nokia Suite software.

Just woeful.

Don't let this be the last Nokia you buy. If you have been a Nokia user before, go out on a high and buy another brand. Stay away from this lemon and like this user keep your fingers crossed Nokia goes out of business soon and ceases to peddle this crap.

Justin

34

Well, I have had My N8 now since they first came out. Just the one, but am now looking for a new second one for when (not likely anytime soon) this one gets to its use by date.

Best phone I have ever had, hands down. Never had a single issue with it. Battery life is a little short but then I work the thing bloody hard. Camera is frikkin awesome, and with Bella the thing rocks (though I am still a little partial to Anna!)

Have had work IPones, all versions, and would never buy one personally.

The only mistake they made with the N8 was to stop building it.

Ricardo

35

last month I thought about getting a new phone and I was tiered of hearing about android this and android that... I wanted the capabilities of android but in a different OS and that wasn't possible with ios and windows phone is even worst. So I remembered about symbian and the mighty Nokia N8. Now it's really cheap and with symbian belle it's just perfect. The N8 is a swiss army phone with unlimited capabilities. It has tons more than the iphone and for media creation and consumption it's still years ahead the competition (more than one year after it's release!) and it's only surpassed by the Nokia 808 pureview (also a symbian belle device).
So if you want a REAL smartphone, go for the Nokia N8 witch is cheaper and better in every way that any iphone.

Zubair shah

36

Nokia n8 is very very nice and i like it

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