Nokia N900 vs iPhone … FIIIIIGHT!
February 23, 2010, 3:55 pm
Filed under: MobileTech | Tags: , , , ,

Last week I was getting quite pissed of with the amount of time my iPhone is taking to wake up from sleep mode, which means I miss quite a few calls because I can’t slide the answer slider!

So this week I took delivery of the new Nokia N900 for a 2 week trial, and here are my inital impressions.

I’ve drawn up a list of all the stuff I use my iPhone for to see how the N900 compares…

  • Web Browsing
  • Twitter
  • Music
  • Google Reader
  • Maps
  • Calendar
  • Foursqaure/Gowala
  • EBook reader

Web Browsing

The web browser that comes with the N900 is very slick, just as good as the Safari based one that comes on the iPhone, it uses the Gecko rendering engine which is the same one that firefox uses, so it’s probably safe to assume that anything that looks good in Firefox will look the same on the N900.

Verdict: A draw


None of the native twitter apps I tried are very good. Maeku doesn’t let you view @ replies or direct messages and kept telling me I had exceeded my rate limit when other apps worked fine.

Verdict: iPhone Wins

Google Reader

A side effect of the browser being so good is that some services don’t recognise it as a mobile browser, so won’t let you browse their mobile site. The Google Mobile suite of apps being a prime example. Visit http://m/ (or any of the mobile sites) and you get redirected to and as yet I havn’t found a workaround.

I tried to use the full site, but displayed on such a small screen, it doesn’t work very well.

Verdict: iPhone wins


The N900 uses Nokia’s Ovi for it’s mapping, and they look lovely, the N900 comes with a built in compas which lets the maps rotate as you move which is really nice, it helps so much with orientation. I was trying to find a building in Sheffield and the rotating maps made it much easier to work out where I was going. Admitidly, I only have a 3G iphone, not the newer 3Gs which also has the magnetometer.

Having said that, the directions are for driving only and the satalite view is much more detailed on the iPhone.

Verdict: In this limited test, the N900 won.


There are many posts about people struggling to get their phone synced to Google for contacts and calendar, but I had no problems when I followed these instructions

Verdict: A Draw


Ok, so these 2 are pretty frivolous, but I’m using them quite a lot at the moment, so I’ll include them here. There are no native apps at the moment, but they both have mobile versions of the site.

Gowalla causes a javascript error at the moment, so I can’t use the rest of the site and the Foursquare mobile site doesn’t seem to use GPS at all, I have to enter it manually.

Verdict: Harsh because it’s not the N900’s fault, but the iPhone wins

eBook Reader

I havn’t had chance to use the ebook reader yet.

Round 1

So at the end of the first post, the iPhone is ahead on apps, but that’s not really a suprise to anyone is it. Part 2 will compare the device & OS itself, and I expect a much closer contest.


9 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Comment by tony

On the iPhone, the mobile reader presents the article inline, you don’t have to click through to another page to read the article.

Am I right in thinking the N900 browser only works in landscape mode too? it doesn’t rotate when I turn the phone round.

Comment by Stuart Grimshaw

If you updated to the recent 1.1 firmware, the browser should enable portrait-mode support with ctrl-shift-O (IIRC, you better Google the exact sequence). Mine now does switch to portrait mode when I move it. The problem is that most other apps don’t support portrait, including the task manager, so you better go back to landscape before closing the browser. A few other apps that do portrait are gpodder, panucci, orrery, and the phone stuff.

Comment by Giacomo

Web browsing – n900 has flash which has to be an n900 win ;-)

Does stuff for Android run on the Nokia Linux port too? You may have Air – you may have a host of twitter apps on the way/there.

I thought there was a free gps maps system with the n900 too?

Just to ensure a fair test you’re only talking about free apps here too aren’t you? Not ones you’ve had to pay an Apple or Nokia tax for.

You planning on discussing footprint and mass later? Cuz from pictures, the iphone looks smaller with a comparable screen size.

Comment by Jon

There is no Air client for the N900. I doubt Android apps will work on the N900 because the interface and the API to talk to it is different.

There is a maps app, the one I used above is the default N900 maps app.

There were no pay for apps that I could find on the N900 that could do what the free versions couldn’t.

The next post will probably have something about the size difference etc, but it won’t be anything a tonne of people havn’t already mentioned.

Comment by Stuart Grimshaw

dunno about physical size, but the N900 is 800×480 while iPhone is 480×320. Which basically means pictures on the N900 look so much better.
This said, because of the different touchscreen tech, the N900 is a bit more fiddly.

The N900 is also bulkier, it’s the price you pay for having a physical keyboard and a replaceable battery (which is the same one as the Nokia 5800, btw). The next Maemo/MeeGo device will probably be slightly thinner.

Comment by Giacomo

[…] February 24, 2010, 5:40 pm Filed under: MobileTech | Tags: apple, compare, iPhone, n900, nokia Yesterday I gave my views on the apps and services I use most often on my iPhone and compared them to what […]

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