iPhone 3G - A subjective comparison

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Samaritan, Jul 18, 2008.

  1. Samaritan macrumors member

    Nov 11, 2006
    Oxfordshire, UK
    Well, I've managed to get hold of a 3G White.. and I thought I would post my thoughts on how it compares to my previous phone - a Nokia n95.

    I've read on a number of forums ppl comparing the two, and saying Apple have missed the boat with the iPhone because there are a number of phones out there that have been around for some time that do what the iPhone does now. It got me thinking so I decided to do a comparison with the n95. Maybe its an unfair comparison, but the n95 8GB is a current phone, and on contract over here in the UK is a comparable cost and feature set (-touch screen of course).

    Just my opinion, and very subjective, but comments more than welcome. I'm new to iPhone (obviously) and had no experience with the 2G model.

    Look and Feel

    The iPhone feels a lot more solid. The n95 got scratched up far too easily in my opinion, and most importantly it creaked and felt flimsy. I was always concerned by the fact that the n95 two way slider always felt loose and wobbled - it just didn't feel well built and felt cheap. The iPhone feels a lot more solidly built and not as scratchable. Time will tell I guess, but personally I think that the iPhone is better overall on look and feel than the n95. Size wise the n95 is smaller, but a bit chunkier. So dead heat I reckon on pocketability.


    iPhone screen is bigger, higher resolution, and more vivid. n95 screen was dimmer by comparison even on full brightness, and was not as clear. n95 had no accelerometer so changing orientation was a manual job. No touchscreen on the n95, so no real comparison there. iPhone wins here.

    Battery Life

    Wow. I've seen a lot of people grumbling about battery life on the iPhone 3G. The n95 has terrible battery life - really shocking, and would drain very quickly under normal use. iPhone 3G seems to be settling down now after a few drain and recharges, and its probly lasting about 50-75% longer than my n95 did. I can feel a lot more confident of it lasting all day even under a lot of use. I had to be careful with the n95. iPhone a clear winner here.


    iPhone OS X implementation is very usable. I like it a lot. N95 interface is really good too - I like Symbian s60 a lot, and some of the apps available for it are really good. But the s60 implementation on the n95 is quirky and crashes now and again. Biggest difference is speed and responsiveness. iPhone seems to be suffering in contacts at the moment, but n95 was on the whole a lot more sluggish. I know that processor selection has a lot to do with it, but subjectively, I think the n95 is less usable because of this.


    Mail (exchange) implementation on iPhone 3G is flawless. Its what I use my phone for the most - and on the n95 I had mail for exchange. The iPhone blows it out of the water. More readable, more accurate display of mail, excellent attachment handling, full directory services and calendar integration is very good. On the n95 it was adequate, and usable, but just not as good.
    Maps on both are both google based, but again the n95 is less usable. I have the firmware with A-GPS, but its about 3 times slower than the iPhone. The touchscreen really makes this app shine on the iPhone.
    Browsing is interesting. I liked what Nokia did with browsing on the n95, and it was pretty good. The iPhone has a bigger resolution screen so will naturally be easier to browse larger bits of web pages. Speed is sort of equal on both, perhaps Safari renders a bit better. I used Opera Mini on the n95 and have to say that it was at least as quick as Safari on the iPhone. Its close, but I think the iPhone wins it for me.
    Music Player. Been an ipod user for donkey's years and so I am biased. I prefer the iPhone but only because its what I'm used to. The n95 does it well, but I just never got on with it.


    No competition. n95 camera was just excellent. It was usable, created excellent images, and was pretty high quality too. The iPhone camera doesn't compare. I was never a big picture taker, so its not a big issue, but subjectively speaking, the iPhone loses out.

    Call Quality.

    Hm. About the same I would say. Speakerphone is better on the iPhone. n95 is slightly quieter, but a bit clearer.


    SMS on the iPhone is great - I really missed the conversational style messaging layout of my old Treo 650 and as a big big texter it got really confusing on the n95. I just don't like the way nokia dumps texts into a big inbox all on their own. The iPhone is just much better - having the speech bubbles gives me a comparable experience to the Treo 650. I like that a lot.

    Text Entry

    Actually about the same at the mo. I was a fairly quick predictive texter - and the iPhone keypad is intuitive. Getting used to it now - it hasn't slowed me down as such, but I tend to look at the screen more carefully when typing.

    PC/Mac integration

    I have a MBP - and the n95 was a nightmare to manage. No real iSync functionality. To add apps, use firmware upgrades etc. I had to go into VMWare and use XP. Even then, it crashed a lot, and was pretty slow and unreliable. iTunes integration is a million miles better. I may have felt different if I was an XP/Vista user, but as a Mac user its just a different world.

    Do I miss anything?

    Radio (a bit). Sometimes I miss the keypad, but I think that is just me not being used to touchscreen, as I miss it less as days go on. I do miss a d-pad or buttons for gaming. I had a Treo 650 some years back and that was good for gaming with the pad on it. I think I may find the touchscreen a bit frustrating for some games as they stock up on the app store.
    I miss the swappable battery on the n95. Then again I had to swap it out a lot as the battery life was so poor! Its comforting to be away from home with a spare battery just in case... now I have to rely on finding a plug or a USB port.
    I seem to be cleaning the screen a lot (lol) and the smudges take a bit of getting used to. I'm trying not to obsess so I can be subjective, but the iPhone does seem to take a bit more 'maintaining'... Maybe I'm missing the 'chuck it in my pocket and go' factor. Then again, this did lead to my n95 getting pretty beat up.
    Never used MMS, and so I don't miss this.

    Overall Conclusions

    I like it a lot. Some of the moans and gripes I hear on the forums are a little unfair I think, as having revisited my n95 I think the iPhone comes out a lot better on them. Battery life and build quality being two biggies. They are both much better than my old phone, and I don't miss them a bit. I now have a phone that lasts all day and can be used quite a bit... miracle!

    I love the OS X interface, but then I'm a mac user. The iPhone has its quirks. The camera is a bit of a joke, and there are a few 'essentials' missing that most smartphones seem to have. But for me, subjectively, I think it comes down to why you have a phone. I use mine primarily for mail on the go, internet on the go, and listening to music. I text a lot, and call infrequently. The n95 did all of these adequately, and I was happy with it. Mail frustrated me a bit, but it was much better than no mail at all. The Treo 650 I had before that was better at mail but was really slow with no Edge or 3G.

    However, the iPhone is just a different league for mail and texting over my n95. Its a big step forward on internet browsing, and its put me back in my comfort zone for music with iTunes - to the extent that my other half has now got my iPod 5G and I don't miss it a bit.

    Just my opinions of course - but being subjective for a few mins, I do believe that despite the grumblings on here that the iPhone 3G is still close to the top of the game, and a big step on. I like it, and its a definite keeper. I'm not sorry to see my n95 go to the big phone graveyard in the sky (my attic)

    Cheers all

  2. Matti macrumors regular

    Nov 25, 2007
    Old mobile phones are quite big enviromental problem.

    Nokia offers free recycling (You can even mail it to them without any cost):

  3. Samaritan thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 11, 2006
    Oxfordshire, UK
    Yeah - thats a good point. I was pleased to see a recycling bag in the package with the n95 when I got it.

    Maybe I should use it now!

    But somehow I'm still tempted to keep it for nostalgia purposes - what will we think to it in 5 years time? :)

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