Nokia have unveiled the N97 and Robert Scoble makes a compelling case for its superiority over the iPhone. Curiously, many of his points mirror ones I had prepared in a blog post comparing the iPhone to the N95, giving me the perfect excuse to finally publish it.
The iPhone is overrated. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Yes, it’s got great usability, but for a journalist it just doesn’t compete. And here are 10 reasons why:
- A crappy camera. 2 megapixels is terrible – the N95 has 5. Not to mention auto-focus, flash, etc. etc.
- No video camera. Inexcusable in the YouTube age. Yes there are workarounds but…
- You have to jailbreak the iPhone to use streaming services like Qik. Installing Qik (or Bambuser, or Shozu) on the N95 is pretty straightforward. The fact you have to jailbreak the iPhone at all says a lot about Apple’s attitude. Nokia’s Symbian operating system is open (if not open source yet).
- You can’t save webpages. Once again, you can on the N95.
- No alternative browser. Opera Mini is great on the N95.
- Battery power. You can at least have a spare battery for the N95.
- No recording of audio. You can on an N95, and email it to Posterous for instant podcast.
- Walled garden for apps. Apps on the N95? Get them anywhere, without the worry that Nokia will lock them out in the future.
- Fiddly keyboard. Particularly difficult when there are…
- No external keyboards. You can buy a number of cute bluetooth keyboards for the N95 which make it possible to type updates and blog posts very quickly.
And that’s not to mention bloody expensive. If you know of any solutions to these weaknesses, let me know. You see, I do have an iPod Touch…
Whenever I’ve mentioned N95 to Orange staff in shops or on the phone they have all been universally anti, wonder why?
It’s not as if you can get an iPhone on Orange, either…
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Paul, I took the bait and hashed together a point-by-point response. Check it out: http://www.spalpeen.co.uk/2008/12/03/iphone-vs-n95/
As an iPhone user these are are the complaints that seem to effect my usage aswell. I do however love my iPhone, I am slightly biased as I am a fan of apple. I use mac and its integration with iTunes and the syncing with all of my address books, calendar etc is phenomenal second to none.
The problems listed here key areas apple need to work. The good thing is however most of the problems are problems that i’m sure apple are aware of and can address in an OS update.
In response to the audio recoriding point, the app iTalk is great for this and i believe its free.
And in response to any use as a blogging tool. Surely we are in an age where most journalist or people who are constantly active these days either surround themselves in places where online access if readily available and that most people would carry a laptop. In many instances wouldn’t one of the new little 10′ notebook things be more up to the job – relatively compact and inexpensive at the same time.
Thanks Conrad – that was an excellent response which answers at least one of my grumbles. I’ve also discovered Instapaper which solves the read offline problem.
David, iTalk looks a nice app, will try it out, thanks.
Not much I can add beyond Conrad’s outstanding point-by-point counterblog, but I would say, Paul, the problem with a statement such as “for a journalist it just doesn’t compete” is that it starts with a false premise – that the iPhone was designed with journalists in mind in the first place, rather than being an iPod with a phone built in.
Berating the iPhone for not having the in-field versatility of an N95 seems a bit like like berating a Porsche 911 for not being able to off-road, or a Flip camera for not being able to take stills. They’re not designed to do so, and if you buy one knowing that, you’re just looking to be disappointed.
That said, the N97 does indeed look the business – and who knows, the iPhone mk 3 may well be on the cards by then with its own range of N97-beating features…
Evernote is an excellent app – notes, audio note, camera note
ITalk is an outstanding audio recording app. I was able to record hours of audio from a recent conference. It would also do a really good job for ad hoc interviews.
There is a Bluetooth keyboard waiting in the wings. BTKeyMini. Needs apple to open up Bluetooth connectivity though.
I think the camera is better than many give it credit for. Yes, the resolution is low. But its colour balance is better than most camera phones.
I use the camera function on the 3G far more often than on any other phone I’ve owned.
But its great strength in relation to journalism is in how apps like Newsgator help to keep one informed and on top of the news agenda.
I’d like to see every journalist in my newsroom issues with a 3G because I think it would transform their understanding of how the mobile Internet is going to develop.
Iphone perfect? No. But it’s streets ahead of anything else out there.
1) Yes, the camera isn’t as good, but the phone is much faster then symbian, I had a Nokia N-series before getting iPhone, and there’s a lot of difference in speed, maybe b/c of the camera
2) You’re right this is missing and would’ve been better if they included video recording
3) There are a lot of apps available on the app store which is a feature on the phone
4) You can save bookmarks
5) Safari is the best browser and was one of the reasons why I got iPhone. Ease of use and you can view regular webpages (like on a computer)
6) Battery is okay but you’re right there’s a restriction and phone has to be send to apple for a battery change, but battery isn’t bad
7) There’s an application which I installed on the phone, iTalk, you can get it from the app store and its free, it allows you to record audio and there’s no time limit
8) You can get a lot of apps from the app store, have to pay for some but there are a lot of free apps available as well
9) Once you get used to the keyboard its not bad especially when using safari on landscape view
10) You’re right about the external keyboard, would’ve been good if bluetooth was compatible with external devices such as a keyboard.
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OMG the guy who wrote this review is an absolute idiot (excuse my french)
1. The maximum megapixel you can get on a phone 4 because of the really small crappy lenses.
2. Yes you can save webpages.
3. Yes it does have an unofficial video camera but an official one is coming out soon with the new 3.0 update.
4. yes you can install another browser if you are not a retard plus safari is a lot faster than opera.
5. battery power is very good with the iphone and keeps getting better with its regular updates.
6. The keyboard is not fiddly and works very well. No need for an external one.
7. The apps on the iphone destroy all other apps on other phones. They’re awesome basically.
8. Expensive? Its bloody worth the £300!
I understand that you have an ipod touch i do too. But frankly the ipod touch is a pile of sh*t compared to the iphone.
Trust my review i have an n96 and am switching to an iphone soon.
Thanks for the compliment 🙂
I’d really like some links to flesh out what you’re saying. For instance, according to this – http://my.opera.com/haavard/blog/opera-mini-iphone – there is an Opera for iPhone but Apple won’t allow it.
I know there are built in browsers to apps like Tweetie but that’s hardly the same.
Totally disagree about the keyboard – if I’m on public transport I use my N95 because typing on that is steadier than the iPhone. If I’m writing something lengthy the iPhone just doesn’t allow me to touch-type like I can on a bluetooth keyboard.
But would be very interested to see more detail on megapixels on phones and installing other browsers…
I admit I posted this in the hope some people would post solutions, so yes you can save webpages with ReadLater and yes 3.0 will have video and yes battery life isn’t such an issue. I also agree the audio apps are good (AudioBoo is a reason to get an iPhone alone).
I completely agree with Richard’s last statement. The iPhone isn’t perfect but it is a lot better than any other phone out there.
Ok i admit the keyboard can be a little annoying when not on its side but I don’t have many problems with it. I can’t give you any links about the camera now but basically just compare a phones camera to a proper digital camera. The lens size on most phone cameras is like 1mm whereas the lens size on a digital camera is around 10-20mm.
The larger lens means it can absorb more light into the CCD which improves picture quality.
By the time the 3.0 update arrives the iPhone will be even further ahead of all other phones.
The moment I read Symbian is an open platform was the moment I realized you were nothing more than another s60 fanboy with little to no understanding of operating systems. Symbian is such an open platform that you need permission to install apps on YOUR phone!yes very open LOL any s60 owner with an ounce of tech know how has HACKED that so open OS….! s60 is a strange, old and struggling OS kept alive by a life support mechanism known as nokia fanbois
Thanks Marc – I’ll happily admit my understanding of operating systems is not at any expert level. Got any links that go into more detail on what you’re saying, or are you just here to troll?
It’s common knowledge buddy. Try to view all system folders and files on s60 v3+ devices. The smallest app needs to be Symbian signed, you need Symbians permission to develop an application for YOUR phone! Symbian is a LONG LONG way from being an Open platform.
So how open would you say Apple was in comparison?
fair point but then again nobody would say Apple is open source. At least developers can make quality apps(and get rewarded) for the iphone whereas s60 apps are of a low quality. I don’t have the skill to be a developer but I do know Symbian c++ is an absolute mess.
Well – as of 18.30 this evening I have iPhone 3.0 running – experience? How easy was that? In under 20 minutes I had it downloaded, installed – and the best part … all my content – applications, emails, diary and contacts were still exactly as they were before I upgraded it. The whole process managed by iTunes. Guys – Symbian have a lot to learn when it comes to simplicity of operation.
Did the same myself and agree (although it no longer picks up wifi at home without me going into settings, which is annoying, but that’s another story). Apple has great usability – but their closed garden approach and the fact you have to pay £5.99 for, effectively, copy and paste, annoys the hell out of me.
@Marc – yes, launching the app store was a major game-changer and Apple deserve credit for that. The other mobile companies are only now really following suit and have a lot of ground to make up.
There is only one thing Apple needs to address, and it’s the battery life issue. I’ve got an iPod Touch 2nd gen, and as long as I can barely even make through the day with that with some movie watching, music listening and very light WLAN usage, I won’t even consider touching an iPhone that’d drain the battery faster with it’s GPS and 3G. Thanks, but no thanks.
I’ve used N95, and imho the only thing it does better than iPhone is self defense – throw it at the attacker and it’ll certainly hurt more. I’ve also played a bit with N97 and didn’t really like what I saw. The idea was good, but I’m so used to iPod Touch scrolling it just felt .. wrong. Why do things the hard way when you could actually do it right from the start?
Currently I’ve got Nokia E66 as a phone / 3G-to-WLAN hotspot in those rare cases I’ve needed it, and iPod Touch to serve my multimedia needs. Together those two have barely enough battery life to survive through a normal day. On more hectic days even that’s not enough – luckily I drag around a PowerGorilla to recharge those on the fly. Give me an iPhone with good enough battery, and I’ll buy two of those right away – one just to support the company doing it right! I could even live with a larger version of iPhone if that meant the extra space was used for a better battery. Now the thing is worthless.
Thanks for the PowerGorilla tip. Also currently weighing up whether my next phone should be an N97 or iPhone. The iPhone OS3 has annoyed me so much on iPod Touch (weaker wifi, constant logging in, and paying £6 for the privilege of the above) that I’m tempted to stick with N97.
There should be no debate. The Apple iPhone is far superior than the N95 and N97. The software on the iPhone is the slickest, most smoothest piece of mobile software ever created. Apple has revolutionised what a phone can do. They didn’t take the layout of the mac and try cram it onto a phone (which is what phones running Windows Mobile have done), instead they created a totally new interface and it works brilliantly. The only gripe is that if you chose to get an iPhone, 12 months later a new one will be out leaving yours somewhat obsolete plus you’ll still be stuck in an 18 months contract with 6 months remaining – this is something that needs addressing in the future.
To be honest with you, I used to be a Nokia fan. But after several problems with the N95-1, I am going to get myself a HTC phone. I know that this model is quite old now in 2010, but it’s been always crap. The Android OS came to stay and kick Apple’s and Windows Mobile’s asses. Linux is so great and stable that it will eventually get rid of all these cheap and rubbish OS’s. Hopefully the PC users will realize that quite soon too.