|Aspect||Nokia N90||Nokia N93|
|Still photography||Pretty good 2mp focussed images, perhaps a little lacking in colour and with only average handling of extremes of light and dark||Better 3mp focussed and optically zoomed image, though still arguably lacking a little in terms of colour and automatic exposure|
|Video photography||Reasonably sharp VideoCD resolution (352 by 288 pixel) video at 15 frames per second, working out to around 4MB of disk space needed per minute of footage||Superior video capture at 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, with optional image stabilisation, working out to around 20MB of disk space needed per minute of footage|
|Closed form factor||Uniform monoblock, 112mm long by 51mm wide by 24mm thick||Rough monoblock, 118mm by 55mm wide by 28.2mm thick|
|Taking photos without opening the device||Possible through use of the cover display and twistable camera module||Not possible|
|Taking photos or videos at flexible angles||Possible by moving the N90 up or down and rotating the camera module to point in the right direction||Not practical, whole device has to point in the direction of the camera|
|Main display||Bright, 352 by 416 pixels||Larger and brighter display, though with lower pixel count, at 240 by 320. Extra trick of being able to use it in landscape mode in any applications, plus piping of the display to a composite device such as a TV.|
|On-device video editing||Video editor, integrated into Gallery, with cut, colour effect, slow motion||Video editor, integrated into Gallery, with cut, colour effect, slow motion|
|External controls||Just side navigator and shutter||Side navigator, shutter, zoom jog dial, flash mode and shooting mode|
|Third party applications||Wide range, 95% compatible with the high-res screen||Slightly limited range at the moment, S60 3rd Edition|
|Free RAM for applications||20MB||18MB|
|Cover UI||Display of status, text messages, alarms, plus viewfinder for still photos, changing profiles, changing music volume||Time, date, network status, changing profiles, music volume and stop/start/next track, plus visual equaliser|
|Comms||Usual Bluetooth/GPRS, etc.||Wi-Fi, UPnP make it something of a consummate communicator, despite the low, low RAM|
You might think that choosing between the N90 and the brand new N93 is a no-brainer - but a careful study of the attributes above should reveal that they're slightly different beasts and each have their strongpoints.
The N90 scores with its smaller size (what am I saying - the N90 'small'?!?), the more flexible cover display, the more flexible camera module, greater free RAM and better third party application compatibility.
The N93 mainly scores with its VGA video recording facility and slightly superior optics, with higher resolution, better hardware camera controls and flexible, brighter display with UPnP or direct cable piping to a TV or similar if needed. Plus Wi-Fi, of course. There's far more of a focus on the camera with the N93 though - the high-spec video recording and its playback is the whole point of the device.
The typical buyer of the N93 won't be that interested in running games or web browsing or listening to music. He or she will buy it to split duties between phone, camera and camcorder, and I'd expect them to use a 2GB card for maximum recording time, with no other files on the card. The N90 buyer, on the other hand, wants a good camera, it's true, but knows there's more to a smartphone than being a makeshift digital camera, and will be using office and PIM applications, games, music players and so on. It's a very different scenario for a very different device.
More thoughts on the N93 in my (and Rafe's) full review, coming shortly.
Steve Litchfield, 27 July 2006