Friday, 19 June 2009
The Apple iPhone 3G S vs the Nokia N97: battle of the smartphones
Nokia must be cursing its luck; the launch of its new flagship handset has been overshadowed by Apple’s latest gadget, the iPhone 3G S.
In truth, the two devices are poles apart: the N97 is the telecoms equivalent of that solid, dependable Scandinavian icon, the Volvo, while the iPhone is sleek, sexy Ferrari.
Price appears to be the one major issue that could prevent people plumping for Apple’s turbocharged new iPhone. O2 is refusing to let existing iPhone owners upgrade without finishing their contract, a decision that drew the ire of the blogosphere. The iPhone 3G S will set you back at least £175, plus a new 18-month contract starting from a minimum of about £30 per month.
The N97, by contrast, will be available for free on most networks, but in many ways it feels like the ugly duckling to the iPhone’s swan. While the kick-slide design, giving the option of a Qwerty keyboard and touch-screen interface, will appeal to some, to others it smacks of imperfection; there should be no need for a physical keyboard if the virtual one is any cop.
The 5-megapixel camera, though, is largely a delight to use, while the cavernous 32GB capacity means the N97 can double as a media player, particularly as it is capable of streaming and storing TV shows from BBC iPlayer. Its Live Widget homescreen is a fantastic invention, producing a screen that will tell you, at a glance, whether you’ve received any new text, emails or Facebook messages, the latest score for your favourite team, the news headlines or local weather report. The Live Widgets can be personalised and run, well, live on the homescreen so you will see things in real-time.
The iPhone 3G S, on the other hand, boasts only a 3-megapixel camera, but users will finally be able to record video. The nippier processor makes applications, programs and web pages much faster to load, while the device-wide search makes it feel even more like a pocket computer. Of course, the iPhone is all about the apps, and that’s why, despite being undone in many hardware areas by the N97, the iPhone remains the best device around. There are more than 50,000 applications to choose from, with more being added every day.
So which device should you go for? If money is no object and you covet style and flair, the iPhone 3G S is the smart choice. The App Store, faster processor, video-recording capabilities and search functions make this a compelling choice. But if you favour quiet efficiency, choice and flexibility, the Nokia N97 is a safe bet; solidly built, logically designed, and with a fantastic live homescreen, it will appeal to many consumers, too.
By Claudine Beaumont