Nokia N9 vs. Apple iPhone 4S: Smartphone comparison

Which is the better smartphone: the Nokia N9 or the Apple iPhone 4S?

Nokia has launched its N9 smartphone in Australia, the first and likely the last Nokia phone to run the MeeGo operating system. Although the Nokia N9 is slick and easy to use, the timing of its launch sets it up to compete directly with the Apple iPhone 4S.

Apple iPhone 4S review
Nokia N9 review

The Nokia N9 and the Apple iPhone 4S smartphones are similarly priced and are available through all three Australian carriers, Telstra, Optus and Vodafone. So, how do they compare?

Apple iPhone 4S vs. Nokia N9: Specifications

Feature Apple iPhone 4S Nokia N9 Verdict
Operating system Apple iOS 5 MeeGo (Harmattan) Apple iPhone 4S
Display size 3.5in 3.9in Nokia N9
Display technology Capacitive LED-backlit IPS Capacitive AMOLED Draw
Display resolution 640x960 480x854 Apple iPhone 4S
Pixel density 330 ppi 251 ppi Apple iPhone 4S
Multitouch Yes Yes Draw
Front camera VGA VGA Draw
Rear camera 8 megapixels w/single-LED flash 8 megapixels w/dual-LED flash Draw
Camera features Autofocus, touch focus, geotagging, face detection, video stabilisation Autofocus, touch focus, geotagging, face detection, Carl Zeiss optics Draw
Video recording 1080p HD @ 30fps 720p HD @ 30fps Apple iPhone 4S
FM radio No No Draw
GPS Yes Yes (with free turn-by-turn navigation) Nokia N9
Internal memory 16GB, 32GB or 64GB 16GB or 64 GB Draw
Expandable memory None None Draw
Dimensions 115.2 x 58.6 x 9.3 mm 116.5 x 61.2 x 12.1 mm Apple iPhone 4S
Weight 140g 135g Nokia N9
Application Store Apple App Store Nokia Store Apple iPhone 4S
Processor Apple A5 dual-core (800MHz) ARM Cortex A8 single-core (1GHz) Apple iPhone 4S
RAM 512MB 1GB Nokia N9
Australian 3G networks HSDPA 850/900/2100 HSDPA 850/900/2100 Draw
Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n 802.11a/b/g/n Draw
Bluetooth 4.0 with A2DP 2.1 with A2DP Draw
NFC (Near Field Communication) No Yes Nokia N9
HDMI-out No (Yes with Apple Digital AV adapter) No Apple iPhone 4S
Quoted battery life Up to 8 hrs Up to 7 hrs Apple iPhone 4S
Battery capacity 1420 mAh 1450 mAh Nokia N9
Adobe Flash support No No Draw
Australian carriers Telstra, Optus, Vodafone Telstra, Optus, Vodafone Draw

Nokia N9 vs. Apple iPhone 4S: Design

The N9 is the best looking and slickest smartphone Nokia has released in a number of years. It's a candybar handset constructed from solid polymer, the same material often found in ice hockey helmets. The company says the phone's polycarbonate casing is coloured all the way through in the manufacturing process, so scratches, dents or marks from everyday use will not show up.

The N9 has no keypad or home button on the front so it’s the first full-touch smartphone Nokia has ever released. The only physical controls are on the right side in the form of volume buttons and a lock key. The N9's design is attractive, comfortable to hold and different.

Nokia N9
The Nokia N9 is constructed from solid polymer, the same material often found in ice hockey helmets.

The Apple iPhone 4S on the other hand retains an identical design to the iPhone 4. It's constructed largely from aluminium and glass, is just 9.3mm thick and has an industrial look and feel with distinctive, sharp edges. The iPhone 4S also retains the iPhone 4's glass back that does look slick but attracts plenty of fingerprints. The iPhone 4S can be a little uncomfortable to hold without a case, but there is no doubting its build quality and premium feel.

Next page: Display, software, camera and more

Tags Apple iPhone 4Snokia n9android phonesApplemobile phonessmartphonesNokiameego

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Ross Catanzariti

Ross Catanzariti

PC World

39 Comments

Paul

1

N9 has also a Nokia's AV out video from 3.5jack...so...
And, ¿N9 wins on screen dimensions but didn't on dimensions of the whole smartphone? LOL...

Ross Catanzariti

Staff

2

The dimensions on the whole smartphone was mainly based on thickness. 9.3mm vs. 12.1mm.

Yes, the N9 can do AV-out but this is NOT via HDMI.

biased

3

dude , meego owns ios in terms of functionality. apple fanboys. How about the price factor? Nokia Wins? N9 is way better then that apple expensive crap.

Details guy

4

I think you may need a fact-check on the 'world phone' write up. The N9 supports WCDMA and is a pentaband 'world phone' according to its spec sheet. There shouldn't be a difference between the two there.

Counting pixel density and resolution seems a little like double counting given the marginal difference in screen size too.

As mentioned above, being able to plug into an HDMI port is great for the iphone, but a fair comparison would also point out that the N9 can do output via the older style standard A/V connector.

Finally the Gorilla glass should score a point, I lose count of how many people I see around with iphones nursing cracked or smashed screens.

Ross Catanzariti

Staff

5

@biased - Actually, the Nokia N9 and the iPhone 4S are almost the same price in Australia. The 64GB 4S is $999 and the 64GB N9 is $949. Hardly a big difference.

@details guy - The iPhone 4S works on US CDMA networks, namely Verizon Wireless. The N9 does not. Not a huge point unless you travel to the US alot, but it still stands.

N9 fan

6

The chart lists the N9's memory options correctly, but the body of the article incorrectly states 16GB and 32GB. The actual choices are 16GB and 64GB.

David

7

Nice Nokia has come out with a nice looking phone, but its got an orphaned OS. While my investment in apps on my iPhone 3GS is not too large in terms of money and time spent on the learning curve, I'd hesitate switching to MeeGo as the prospects of robust 3rd party app support is limited, and migration of purchased apps to a future Nokia windows phone is not assured. With Apple, my two plus year old phone can use (albeit with a speed hit) the newly released iOS5. Say what you will about the disadvantages of Apple's "closed" system, but getting a new OS and apps on an old phone is really nice, with confidence that the majority of my app investment can easily (in effort and on the wallet) be transferred to my next iPhone.

Ross Catanzariti

8

@N9 fan - Thanks. I have corrected the error in the article.

Craig

9

I find it interesting that you call the camera a draw when the Nokia sports Carl Zeiss optics. Pretty sure you would find the Nokia camera to be far superior. Personally I would wait for the Nokia Lumia 800, it has the same looks as the N9 but used the Windows Mango OS.

armando

10

Not bad, few mistakes though

whatsa

11

Few things to note:
N9 achieves 7mp at 16:9 wide format(not so with iphone)
pentaband - n9 winner
antenna????? N9 is a certified rural use phone for telstra...IT IS A MOBILE DEVICE COMPARISION!!!!
So Winner(this always seems to get left out with iphone reviews-hmmm)
Operating system? N9 has a full linux kernel (not so iphone?)

FM Radio -yes the N9 has it
see->//my-meego.com/software/applications.php?name=FM_Radio&fldAuto=488&faq=2

Robbie

12

@Ross
"The iPhone 4S works on US CDMA networks, namely Verizon Wireless. The N9 does not. Not a huge point unless you travel to the US alot, but it still stands."

The N9 will work on all US GSM carriers. The market is roughly 50/50 CDMA/GSM in the US so that is a draw. Actually, the US GSM networks have much faster data speeds and simultaneous voice and data capabilities.

Aman

13

A lot of fake information about Nokia n9.....

limon

14

nokia n9 i like it so much.

rayouna

15

oh MG ! i like this phone : i think that's nokia n9 is the best ^^ i'll bay it :)

smartphone

16

IPHONE 4S IS THE BEST AND THE NOKIA N9 IS A GOOD PHONE BUT NOT AS GOOD AS 4S ALL U NOKIA FANBOYS OUT THERE ARE JUST PICKING THINGS (MINOR THINGS) ABOUT N9 BUT ABOVE THAT 4S WINS!!!!!!!!!!!

Sam

17

N9 is equal and better in some ways to the iPhone. A pity the facts did not truely reflect this. The big negative for the N9 is the lack of apps and the future of the MeeGo OS. Nokia was starting to show some inovation & leadersship again - with out the help of MS, but its all a bit too late.

safwan

18

meego can rip android ans ios5

AppleFTW :)

19

Apple iOwn 4s winZ :P the design is waaaay better then the N9 aaand dunno there is just somethin in it that makes me like it more

Dennis

20

I cant believe the delusion going on.

The iPhone is such a better phone its not funny. Im a phone addict, I got the Nokia E6, the Samsung Galaxy S2 and 4S. The iPhone has the nicest music, game, syncing features of all of them, and feels the best in your hand.

I like the screen on Nokia but the RES on the iPhone kills it and to me is so important after the SGS2. Flash missing sucks for the iOS though.
Love it hate it iPhone wins hands down, really.

al mamun

21

nokia 9 is good but iphone 4s best

sakjam

22

nokia!!!!!!!!...... You are the winner. go nokia dont give up and beat other phone. I like nokia

Belle

23

How fast is the N9? I was told at phone stores today that "it's a phone for people with a great deal of patience" and "it is nowhere near as fast as other smart phones". Hard to tell though as the demo models aren't properly connected to the net. Any comments? Thanks.

PS

24

The Nokia N9 supports HDMI-out with a Nokia adapter. Somebody needs to get their facts straight...

Owen

25

Belle - I just got an N9 and it's much faster than the previous android phone I had (HTC Desire). You can get it to struggle by opening Navigation (GPS) and 3 other apps at the same time, but I would expect that! and once they are all running, it is fine, the task management and user experience in general is great. The build quality is fantastic and I'm guessing I won't be breaking the screen as often as my friends do their iPhone 4s....

But such a shame they are killing such a beautiful O/S!!

Yash

26

Nokia 1100 is best phone :-)

junaid

27

@Dennis nd other iphone supporters-
Nokia N9 has Dolby Speakers
Iphone cant even think of beating tht

crazy prices

28

i needed to renew my contract and i was turn between these two phones. the article is pretty spot on, i would have picked up the iphone but it was a little out of my price range. on south africa where i live, the n9 16gb retails for R5800 ($795 US) and the iphone4s retails for over R9 000 ($1230 US). i dont know why mac products are so expensive here, but that was what turned me off apple. still, i would have loved access to the istore.

STEAM accound

29

lolz bad informations of n9 . N9 is the winner MeeGo can launch android apps . Iphone is better only resolution section , but all other is better on n9.

LDLT

30

I think that in any device, the ability to have all sorts of apps to do different things is cool and everything, but I think that its way better to be able to use the device without having to have a bunch of apps, this is the case of the iOS, which comes sooo limited that you have to download app after app to be able to do something, and this is why the ios has so many apps. And although the meego app market is limited, the os really doesn't need a whole lot of apps since the ones that come with it are pretty useful

Sylv

31

I have a Nokia N9. Its a lovely phone BUT I am now buying the Iphone4S as I cant read messages etc very well on the N9 as they are so small and they dont have an app to make the letters larger like the Iphone.

Erind

32

Nokia N9 does have FM radio, you just need to install the app for it.

Sarah

33

Interesting how the N9 fans state their reasons and facts calmy, but the iPhone lovers don's seem to be co calm and somewhat more immature lol

@Sylv... Updates have changed that.

Alvin

34

Iphone have the worst music player ever. You cant even customise it and there is NO 3rd party player with good SQ editor in the app store...

martin

35

Hi all,

Too many mystakes for a serious job!

- IOS : free with n9, locked with 4S! That's a really big difference

- HDD : you do not have 16GO with n9 but 10GO max...

- HDMI out : available with n9!

- RAM/Processor : The N9 is much more efficient with it's 1 GB ram even with the single core processor that is more powerfull! It's also much more efficient to preserve the battery life!

- The gorilla glass of the n9 is better and less fragile obviously...

- what about N9 Swipe?

- what about no button on n9?

For such job, i'll be fired ;)

GrainySnapshot

36

The 4S does have CDMA which the N9 does not. However, my understanding is that unless you activate the 4S using a SIM card from a CDMA carrier, you cannot use the CDMA even if it is available. So, if you have an Australian purchased 4S and you activate the phone using the SIM from the Australian carrier, when you go the US, you will not be able to roam onto CDMA. I do not know whether it is possible to replace your Australian SIM with a USA CDMA carrier SIM while you are in the USA. It may be possible but it may require activating your phone again, which may have other consequences. So, while CDMA maybe could be some use to an Australian phone owner travelling in the USA it appears unlikely (based only on what I have read elsewhere) that you can get seamless worldwide roaming to CDMA networks.

Arya

37

Both are good in the other features mentioned above, but no one is good in the groud with the the battery charge saving....you should carry the charger plug with your self, all the time and all the way

rajni

38

the nokia n9 is way better than thhe iphone 4s.The iphone 4s is crop comepared to the nokia n9

ben

39

the n9 is better off than the iphone cos n9 has long battery life,support video cals to other phones and comes more handy

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