View Full Version : Smart in the Real World - the Nokia N95 takes on allcomers


slitchfield
22-07-2008, 01:13 PM
Looking at real world usability of the current (smart)phone flagships...

Read on in the full article (http://www.allaboutsymbian.com/features/item/Smart_in_the_Real_World-the_Nokia_N95_takes_on_allcomers.php).

GSi-R
22-07-2008, 01:20 PM
There is an error in your link Steve.

slitchfield
22-07-2008, 01:28 PM
Spec-sheet comparisons are all very well, but how good are the Nokia N95 8GB, the Apple iPhone 3G and the HTC Diamond in real life? The AAS team has come up with a dozen things that we all like to do with our phones and Steve was then set to accomplishing all of them on all three devices. Can the sheer usability and likeability of the iPhone triumph over Nokia's N95 design and S60? Is the HTC Touch Diamond a competitor here? Find out in the full usability feature.

Read on in the full article (http://www.allaboutsymbian.com/news/item/7700_A_dozen_Real_World_Tasks-the_N.php).

lynchem
22-07-2008, 01:57 PM
I generally use my phone for... er.... making phone calls ! I had a shoot out with my iPhone wielding friend and gunned him down easy with my N82.

Another category you should have included is "Fitting the phone in your pocket alongside your wallet". :)

Enfors
22-07-2008, 02:34 PM
As far as I know, S60 doesn't have any sort of push email support, only poll (automatically though, every X minutes). Correct me if I'm wrong. Marketers often call this setup "push email", but it isn't. It's automatic polling every X minutes.

Push email is when the client (read: phone) never asks the server if there is any new mail. Instead, the server contacts the client (pushes the mail to it), telling the client that a new mail has arrived.

Burcrim
22-07-2008, 02:43 PM
Install SkyeQuiKey ot T9 Nav and you can get an alarm set or a new meeting in a lot less clicks.

Nexus1974
22-07-2008, 03:12 PM
S60 does support push email via Mail for Exchange and I use with our Kerio email server on my N95 8GB and it works well.

You do however require the server to support push email (Kerio, Exchnage Server etc) which is more important.

In my mind its not really than much better than poll every 15 mins as long as you have an unlimited data contract.

Unregistered
22-07-2008, 04:05 PM
I have been a nokia fan for last 15 years. but i think nokia has lost this battle hands down to apple. I will switch to 3g iphone as soon as unlocked version is available.
BTW i am not a fan N95 as i find the design cluncky and too gimicky to be practical.

Nemoi
22-07-2008, 04:23 PM
thanks a lot for that comparison. I am thinking right now about getting a new mobile phone (or computer really, since what I do least on it is using the phone function ;), and for a while, as a long time Macuser, I was set on the iPhone. Then a friend of mine got it, and I really did not get a long with the touch keyboard at all. Now I finally understand why some people put so much emphasis on the 'use it with one hand' aspect. I also did not find web-browsing that much more convenient than on my e51 (except the screen size, of course).
Anyway, the game for me is now between the N95 8Gb and the upcoming N96. I hope you do a comparison on those two as well. But it probably comes down to the price of the N96, which might be a deal braker...

m_vitaly
22-07-2008, 04:51 PM
My N95 does support IMAP IDLE on GMail.
And there's almost no difference between IMAP IDLE and Push email.
It has to be supported by your server, though.

Tzer2
22-07-2008, 04:55 PM
I have been a nokia fan for last 15 years.

Really? Since 1993? What was your first Nokia phone?


But it probably comes down to the price of the N96, which might be a deal braker...

I would wait a month or two after it launches, like most phones the price is probably going to drop very steeply after the early adopters have bought theirs.

Menneisyys
22-07-2008, 05:47 PM
Playback is a little jerky at times, but watchable, full-screen.

Yup - while Flash Lite 3 is much better than the full Flash 7 on Windows Mobile (see my Youtube Bible for more info if interested - http://www.allaboutsymbian.com/forum/showthread.php?t=72048 ), it indeed doesn't deliver stuttering-less video.

Going via YouTube's mobile site failed miserably, with the streaming 3GP version failing to get past my Wi-Fi router. Plan C is YouTube's very own S60 client, Java-based - this installed fine but then (despite correct RealPlayer settings) it too failed to stream its video through my router's firewall.

Yup, but that isn't the problem of these clients. About 70-80% of cellular connections will work. Not that the 3GP "quality" would be worth writing home about. (See my RTSP and quality comparison-related comments in my articles, also discussed in the above Youtube Bible.)

Plan D (you can see where this is all going, can't you...) was to fire up the third party freeware Mobitubia, which managed to get Dancing Queen playing on-screen in 48 seconds from a cold start. Impressive, but - again - your average user may not know about such a useful piece of software. Score: 12 (uninspiring without going third party)

1. Mobitubia isn't strictly freeware any more - much as you can get it for donating as low as $1 (I've donated $10). Or, wait for the latest version become free.

2. CorePlayer is far better at playing back some (not all!) videos than Mobitubia. THere're some videos that are VERY jerky when played back in the latter. Its, as of version 1.2.5, only downside is the restricted number of hits, which isn't an issue with Mobitubia.

Menneisyys
22-07-2008, 05:49 PM
Apple iPhone 3G: Next. There's no support at all for shooting video from the iPhone's camera. This is a showstopper for some, I'm sure. Sorry.... Score: 0

...


But what's fascinating is that this margin of 28 would be wiped out if the iPhone had had a decent camera that shot video clips.

There're third-party apps for the Apple to take videos.

Menneisyys
22-07-2008, 05:57 PM
It's (the Diamond) a powerful Windows Mobile 6.1 business handheld shackled by a clumsy, slow and inelegant add-on UI

I don't think it's a business phone. Most (if not all) WM business phones have a thumbboard.

The Diamond is targeted at the same folks as iPhones and "toy", "elegant" phones. That is, an Average Joe knowing almost nothing about phones will most likely buy a Diamond (if he/she goes for WinMo, that is) and NOT some other WIndows Mobile device.

sdeetz
22-07-2008, 05:59 PM
OK, as comparisons go that was pretty fair. However, since I am one of the lucky few that actually owns a iphone 3G and a Nokia N95 8GB, I have a couple of notes here.

(I actually have a Samsung Blackjack and a HTC Kaiser too, but they are just about retired for me. I hate the stylus need on the Kaiser, and the Samsung just isn't as nice as the N95 or iphone)

First, on the Maps / GPS evaluation, you had a ipod Touch. I know that, as you said at the beginning of the review, the software is the same. However, the hardware is not. The iphone 3G DOES have built in GPS, and it picks up signals FAST. In a side by side comparison here in Los Angeles, the iphone picked up my exact position and was ready to start tracking my walking a full 60 seconds before the N95 was. And it is very accurate as well. Even though there is no pedestrian mode, it followed me down every street with surprising accuracy.

Next, I tested out the downloading of high res images off the internet that you described. I chose a full 5MP image that I have posted on my personal web page. It saved fine to the photo library, and opened up no problem on screen. Let me rotate it, zoom in and out, etc. I did not experience any of the glitches you mention at all. Not sure if that's a ipod touch issue or not.

Although all 3 Apple devices run the 2.0 software, there are different builds for each device. For example, the iphone 3G runs build # 5A345. My old iphone that was updated to 2.0 software runs build # 5A347. I don't have a ipod touch, so I'm not sure which build it runs. So that picture issue doesn't seem to hold true on the iphone 3G at least.

Also, I agree about your Safari comments, but you have to take some of that with a grain of salt. The whole point of Safari is to take you to the REAL internet pages, not a mobile version. So of course, there will be some sites that are easier to navigate with a stripped down mobile version, but do you want that for every site?

I would prefer the full desktop web pages all the time. That's why some sites do develop web apps when deemed necessary, or they deveop a full native app as you showed. In my experience, the iphone web apps and full native apps are optimized far beyond what a typical mobile web site does anyway, and are faster to use.

So I prefer having the full desktop websites by default, and the option to use native or web apps for the few things that I do often that need detailed navigation through a site. (Like book flights, etc)

With those three things accounted for, the Nokia N95 is still ahead by a little though. It is a great device, and I love it.

For me there are two determining factors in your review that would dictate which device would be best for a user. ..

One is video. If you need it, obviously you want the N95. Period. I don't shoot video at all on my N95, so this is not a consideration at all for me. Since this one category was a difference of 19 points alone in your review, if a user doesn't care about video, the two devices score virtually the exact same number. (coupled with the above points I made on GPS, Safari, and photos)

Second is the keyboard. I type a ton of emails on my phone while I travel, and the lack of a keyboard on the N95 means it stays in my bag more often, and I reach for the iphone to do my emails. This is the big one for me.

If you only read emails on your phone, or only type short responses, then this is not a consideration and the N95 is your baby. But if like me you type a lot, you probably require a qwerty, and lugging around a bluetooth keyboard is an option for some, but I don't like having extra stuff when I travel. I like to travel lite.

I use both devices because both are a pleasure to use. Clearly the best two mobile devices on the market today. But for day to day uses, I find myself reaching for the iphone more often than anything else. We'll see if that changes when the S60 touch interface comes out, and we see how the keyboard data entry works. If it's even close to the iphone, that will probably become the new device for me.

brendan
22-07-2008, 06:05 PM
seems fair enough to me.

something you have written about but one cant really score is how much one likes a device. I have a e90, n95, n82 and now the iphone 3g. I like the iphone the most by far even though the other phones do more.

A small thing that nokia have really slipped up but isnt mentioned much is the deskstand. I always like them and having a deskstand for the iphone is great. why dont nokia do them? Does anyone else like them?

Antoine of MMM
22-07-2008, 06:25 PM
Hello Steve; I don't want to come off too harsh concerning your article. I think its quite a timely and appropriate evaluation. However, my issue is with your scoring system, rather than the outcome or even the process.

You use a system based on a 20 point system. However, you don't really mention how those 20 points are weighted. If you will, it allows you to just throw points out there for whatever reason and then we the readers have to guess at whether 16 points for the #1 item is the same as 16 points in #9. Is it possible that you can explain the methodology behind the 20 point scoring system. For me personally, it would add considerable value to this evaluation from the scoring perspective, and then (possibly_ provide a chart for you/AAS to evalute devices on a similar scale in later compairsons.

If that's not possible, as that's not exactly a simple request; may I make the recommendation that your scoring system be simplified to a simple 1-2-3 kind of format. The item that wins gets a 3, the item that is worst gets a 1. A simplified scoring system, with some measureable metrics (for example, in #1 you mention time to complete, keypress amounts, and efficient user interfaces as measured items; the first two are consistent based on the fact that it is just you testing them, and the last one is opinon; this makes your scoring system hold value in the eyes of those who might not be as fast, but see the interface as more efficient).

In the paragraph you mention "other relevant factors" which may very well be the case that there are other factors, but without a breakdown of how those effect your 20 point scoring system, it (again) becomes very subjective to the tester (not the user).

Again, please do not take this as being a harsh critism; I think this is probably one of the better types of comparative reviews that I've read from you. However, the validity of the review is marred because of your imbalances in the scoring. In such a high profile review, I'm not sure that AAS should have to answer to any biases because of testing methodology inconsistancies.

Tzer2
22-07-2008, 07:01 PM
A small thing that nokia have really slipped up but isnt mentioned much is the deskstand. I always like them and having a deskstand for the iphone is great. why dont nokia do them?

They did do stands a few years ago, one of them let you make videophone calls on 3G models that didn't have a front camera, another had built-in stereo speakers so you could use the phone as a hi-fi. Presumably they didn't sell very well because there haven't been any new official stands since then, though there might be some third party stands on ebay etc.

However, if you just want something to prop the phone up, there is a built-in stand around the camera lens on the N96, and the Nokia internet tablets come with much bigger built-in stands along their full length.

Unregistered
22-07-2008, 07:16 PM
I think the aspect you missed is how fast does each device render a full web page?

It has to be said the n95 browser renders full pages very slowly, it's painful. You really need Opera Mini as well. It works good on mobile sites, though.

Tzer2
22-07-2008, 07:19 PM
It has to be said the n95 browser renders full pages very slowly, it's painful. You really need Opera Mini as well. It works good on mobile sites, though

Have you tried it on wi-fi or 3.5g? It's pretty nippy with those kinds of connections, especially on the latest firmware.

The Opera Mini thing is another debate altogether of course, should phones render pages at all? There are good arguments on both sides...

Unregistered
22-07-2008, 07:23 PM
why are you even including an s60 phone in the comparison?
For one thing, the contacts section sucks. So does calendar. As does messaging. Dont tell me I am abnormal for wanting to do all these things.Also got to pay $$ for all the stuff other people take for granted. Someone has already mentioned skyequikey (simiilar functionality available in latest SEs at no extra cost). Same goes for sms/call managers, a list of recently text'd contacts(WOW). Etc etc
Real people buy s40 or uiq phones.
It is not about cost either.
If you have ever used a p1i or a z8 or a 6270(as you have, steve), you'll know.
- a former e90 user.
P.s. I havent been a nokia user for 15 years, but I have been one for seven years. JUST GIVE ME A PHONE. I have an n800 for all the other stuff.

bartmanekul
22-07-2008, 08:19 PM
Here here, with smartphones becoming mini computers, lets see a return of deskstands.

Williamoni
22-07-2008, 10:21 PM
Nice test Steve.

One point though - using the phone to make phone calls is very important and I would be interested to see how the devices compare on that too.

notmicro
22-07-2008, 10:45 PM
Really wish that you had compared syncing Calendar / Contacts via both USB and Bluetooth. So far I haven't found a single iPhone 3G review which mentions if it finally supports sync via Bluetooth. Even an ancient, long-gone Nokia of mine could sync everything over Bluetooth no problem.

Other "fun categories" for comparison would be Voice Dialing, Ringer Profiles, Tethering, Voice Memos, Java support. The iPhone inexplicably continues to do a total face-plant in several of these categories.

fbloise
22-07-2008, 10:54 PM
For RSS reading you use Google reader...

And since this is a S60 based website, you will (believe me!) always make nokia win.

I do have the nokia 6120 classic, but right know the iPhone 3G is way better than the N95. Why?
Because people wants hassle free stuff, with the nokia you need to learn the good 'ol way.
but with the iPhone, even my granma can use it.

Your metrics aren't fair, since nokia (and winMo) aren't the easy to use as you keep guys saying.

iPhone wins hands down.

Mr Fabulous
23-07-2008, 01:17 AM
I own both the iPhone 3G and the N95 8GB. And I enjoy using both on different occasions.

Steve, one very real 'real world' gauge ought to be the sheer pleasure of using the device, regardless of what you may be doing... the way one interfaces with this device that resides somewhere on their person almost all waking hours of the day, and how they experience hitches and slowdowns on the device.

iPhone: 19
N95: 12
HTC: 8

A fair assessment?

kesu
23-07-2008, 06:14 AM
why are you even including an s60 phone in the comparison?
For one thing, the contacts section sucks. So does calendar. As does messaging. Dont tell me I am abnormal for wanting to do all these things.Also got to pay $$ for all the stuff other people take for granted. Someone has already mentioned skyequikey (simiilar functionality available in latest SEs at no extra cost). Same goes for sms/call managers, a list of recently text'd contacts(WOW). Etc etc
Real people buy s40 or uiq phones.
It is not about cost either.
If you have ever used a p1i or a z8 or a 6270(as you have, steve), you'll know.
- a former e90 user.
P.s. I havent been a nokia user for 15 years, but I have been one for seven years. JUST GIVE ME A PHONE. I have an n800 for all the other stuff.

I totally agree with you!!!!!!

ashu
23-07-2008, 07:05 AM
Hi Steve,

You missed out on the push mail point. You don't even need to go to GMAIL Apps on your mobile on Nokia N95. You can download Seven on your mobile and it works like the Blackberry Push mail service with support for attachments.

I use it on my Nokia N82 and have got my Work mail, gmail, hotmail (surprise, surprise! not even supported by Blackberry), and yahoo accounts configured on Seven. It gets pushed into my inbox automatically without a second't delay. You can compose a mail from any of your accounts and add attachments.

I suggest you guys do a review of Seven's push mail technology.

You will feel I am bit biased but no, it is absolutely fantabulous....

Menneisyys
23-07-2008, 07:30 AM
Other "fun categories" for comparison would be Voice Dialing, Ringer Profiles, Tethering, Voice Memos, Java support. The iPhone inexplicably continues to do a total face-plant in several of these categories.

Yup, iPhone is still lacking a MIDlet Manager - in which particularly the N95 is very strong (support for far more JSR's; higher speed etc), much stronger than the Diamond. Now that Apple / Sun announced forthcoming support for Java, the situation may change, however.

BTW, as far as tethering is concerned, you all may be interested in my latest Bible: http://www.allaboutsymbian.com/forum/showthread.php?t=74018 . It compares Windows Mobile and Symbian VERY thoroughly, also elaborating on the third-party products like WHS and Joiku.

Menneisyys
23-07-2008, 07:32 AM
For RSS reading you use Google reader...

And since this is a S60 based website, you will (believe me!) always make nokia win.

I do have the nokia 6120 classic, but right know the iPhone 3G is way better than the N95. Why?
Because people wants hassle free stuff, with the nokia you need to learn the good 'ol way.
but with the iPhone, even my granma can use it.

Your metrics aren't fair, since nokia (and winMo) aren't the easy to use as you keep guys saying.

iPhone wins hands down.


You're right the iPhone is way easier to use than either of the two competing systems. However, the latter are far more featureful at most areas and, in cases, have better hardware (for example the N95's excellent camera compared to the mediocre one in the iPhone and the acceptable - but in no way excellent - one in the Diamond).

Menneisyys
23-07-2008, 07:33 AM
Nice test Steve.

One point though - using the phone to make phone calls is very important and I would be interested to see how the devices compare on that too.

This could also include recording calls - something Symbian has always been very strong (and WinMo very weak) at.

mattrad
23-07-2008, 08:41 AM
Nice shootout Steve :)

@notmicro

The iPhone version 2 firmware doesn't support Bluetooth syncing of contacts and calendar items, and I doubt it ever will.

You can sync contacts and calendar over Wifi (using MobileMe) or contacts, calendar, music, video, photos over USB using iTunes.

TomJ
23-07-2008, 09:02 AM
2 quick points:

On Rail Enquiries. May I heartily recommend the excellent traintimes.org.uk to anyone looking for, well, train times int the UK. I was alerted to it a few years ago by the NTK newsletter as a less bloated way of accessing the National Rail timetable data than the then horibly and unecessarily script-ridden official site. Therefore, while it's not avowedly mobile oriented, it makes great sense for a mobile user. It also has some dead handy features, like bookmarkable URLs (eg http://traintimes.org.uk/hitchin/cambridge will take you to the next few journeys from Hitchin to Cambridge, while http://traintimes.org.uk/hitchin/cambridge/10:00/next-tuesday/16:00/next-wednesday specifies the out and back times; other modifiers are available...). Possibly the coolest new (since Feb this year) feature for an S60 user is the "add to calendar" feature; once you've picked the best journey, simply click "add" and each leg of the journey is added as an entry to your phone's calendar. It's been put together and developed by one of the mysociety.org chaps and is as fine a piece of work as any of the much lauded mysociety pages.

On Podcasting. Given you mentioned the other S60 options for YouTube, I'm surprised you didn't mention the excellent free Nokia Podcasting app...

Rafe
23-07-2008, 09:23 AM
Just going to add a few comments here (I imagine Steve will add his too later). Steve and I had a conversation / brain storm over what to include. It quickly became apparent that it is very difficult picking typical tasks because everyone is different. So you do have to take this into account. I note plenty of comments say 'what about etc' and yes there are other things you could include. The reality is we all use our device in different ways, so something like this can only ever be considered one point of view (that said we did try to do a reasonable cross section). Interestingly we threw out some ideas as we knew, before doing any testing, they would hopelessly favour one handset.

Again, please do not take this as being a harsh critism; I think this is probably one of the better types of comparative reviews that I've read from you. However, the validity of the review is marred because of your imbalances in the scoring. In such a high profile review, I'm not sure that AAS should have to answer to any biases because of testing methodology inconsistancies.

Antoine - all feedback is good :) I suspect Steve will weigh in himself here, but a few things to note. The 1-20 scale allows for gradations which a 1-2-3 scale does not. It is therefore more accurate not less as you suggest (IMHO). For something there's little difference between two device and for others there is a big difference. Surely its fairer if a device loses more marks for doing something very badly? Indeed ideally people would mark how important something is to them and we'd weight the scores accordingly and give you a personalised score.

Designing fair comparisons is very difficult as I note above because everyone is different. For some touch is essential, for other its a decent camera... Other will put up with a mediocre function because it is compensated elsewhere - someone else wont make that compromise etc etc. We try to be as objective as possible in our evaluation across the whole site.

People inevitably regard this site as being pro-S60, pro-Symbian, but we like to think we do our very best to maintain balance. Just because we primarily cover Symbian stuff doesn't mean our objectivity goes out the window. If you think we've been unfair somewhere please let is know - we value everyone's opinion.

why are you even including an s60 phone in the comparison?
For one thing, the contacts section sucks. So does calendar. As does messaging. Dont tell me I am abnormal for wanting to do all these things.Also got to pay $$ for all the stuff other people take for granted. Someone has already mentioned skyequikey (simiilar functionality available in latest SEs at no extra cost). Same goes for sms/call managers, a list of recently text'd contacts(WOW). Etc etc
Real people buy s40 or uiq phones.
It is not about cost either.
If you have ever used a p1i or a z8 or a 6270(as you have, steve), you'll know.
- a former e90 user.
P.s. I havent been a nokia user for 15 years, but I have been one for seven years. JUST GIVE ME A PHONE. I have an n800 for all the other stuff.

That's what makes these things difficult to do. Everyone has a different opinion of what is good or what they need...

Nice test Steve.

One point though - using the phone to make phone calls is very important and I would be interested to see how the devices compare on that too.

Plenty of comments like this - and i agree - but there's only so much space. Actually calling functions is one area where the N95 excels (IMHO).

abruenin
23-07-2008, 09:24 AM
Good comparision, Steve! This is what it comes down to, how good can I do what I want on which device.

I am right now considering the N95-8GB, the E71 or the iPhone as my next phone. As movie recording is not an issue to me, they are much closer for me.
My killer apps are mobile internet and time management.
One important pro for the iPhone that is missing IMHO is the screen resolution. For mobile browsing, the QVGA resolution of Nokia devices is quite limiting. And Q9 does not help at entering URL's, so the iPhones on-screen-keyboard is quite an advantage.

But an important con for the iPhone is IMHO missing to:
"Buy the device at the dealer who will give you the best price (choose from many) and get a contract that fits your needs best (choose from many providers)"
iPhone: maybe 5 points, in case that you like the contract, the iPhone is offered with in your country.

slitchfield
23-07-2008, 09:28 AM
Some replies(!)

@sdeetz:"the iphone picked up my exact position and was ready to start tracking my walking a full 60 seconds before the N95 was. And it is very "

Your N95 can't have the latest firmware then, my N95 gets a GPS lock in under 10 seconds a lot of the time, and always under 20. And my comparison already credited the iPhone as having a fast lock, I believe.

>>Next, I tested out the downloading of high res images off the internet that you described. I chose a full 5MP image that I have posted on my personal web page. It saved fine to the photo library, and opened up no problem on screen.

Hmm... yes, I guess this might be Touch firmware issue - my conclusion though, that Apple still have some work to do, and that the downsampling to VGA was still a huge problem, are valid.

>>Also, I agree about your Safari comments, but you have to take some of that with a grain of salt. The whole point of Safari is to take you to the REAL internet pages, not a mobile version. So of course, there will be some sites that are easier to navigate with a stripped down mobile version, but do you want that for every site?

I'd rather a browser worked with both. As S60 Web does. 8-)

>>One is video. If you need it, obviously you want the N95. Period. I don't shoot video at all on my N95, so this is not a consideration at all for me. Since

Absolutely. But anyone with a family or active hobby will surely want to shoot video at some point?

>>Second is the keyboard. I type a ton of emails on my phone while I travel, and the lack of a keyboard on the N95 means it stays in my bag more often, and I reach for the iphone to do my emails. This is the big one for me.

To be honest, neither are great for long emails. That's what Bluetooth keyboards are for, as you noted. I keep mine in the car glovebox, so it's always to hand when I'm out and about. Pity the iPhone can't use them yet, but..... 8-)

@brendan: Absolutely, and many will agree with your scores. But this was a task-based feature, not a subjective 'likeability' thing, so...

@Antoine: good points, but the feature was already many, many hours work - I haven't got time to break the 12 points down into even smaller score increments. The scores I gave were based on performance and my own 'expert'(!) opinion - bear in mind that I've used almost every device on the market and hopefully my own gut feel ratings carry some weight. A simply 1,2,3 wouldn't have worked, since in some cases one device was light years ahead of another, while in other cases they were very close. I wanted to give a lot of room for variations.

@Williamoni: all the devices here made phone calls very well. What is there to say?

@fbloise: "And since this is a S60 based website, you will (believe me!) always make nokia win."

Not at all. After completing the first few categories, I thought 'Heck, the iPhone's going to run away with this....' As it turned out, I hit enough showstoppers after that (video was always going to be one of them of course) that the N95 still won comfortably.

@TomJ:"I'm surprised you didn't mention the excellent free Nokia Podcasting app..."

Yes, good point, although the existing solution is good enough and I'm still not convinced that the average user will use Podcasting. The user will find a feed in a web page and think 'now what do I do with this?' etc.

Steve Litchfield

Bassey
23-07-2008, 09:49 AM
Seems like a pretty fair comparison to me. I'd only make two points. One, as you mention, the N95 8GB has been out a while and had several firmware updates since it's release. The other two are brand new. Lets not forget the original N95 was almost unusable for certain things. It took a good couple of updates for it to become as good as it is. The Diamond has improved massively from ROM 1.35 to 1.37 and more updates are on the way.

The other thing is the "take a picture and send by email". I can do this in less than 15s. What were you doing? It pops up with a button on-screen giving you the option to send it by email as soon as a pic is taken. Once in Pocket Outlook you start typing the name of the person you want to send it to and it starts listing those names that match. There are no "fiddly controls" or menu options. Is this maybe just a case of you being very familier with S60 and less so with WM?

I could go on about the point of WM being flexibility and the ability to customise the experience to suit you by adding your own shells, apps etc but I actually don't think that applies to the Diamond. I think HTC have taken the view that this will be bought by people looking for an "out of the box" experience.

Rafe
23-07-2008, 10:01 AM
I could go on about the point of WM being flexibility and the ability to customise the experience to suit you by adding your own shells, apps etc but I actually don't think that applies to the Diamond. I think HTC have taken the view that this will be bought by people looking for an "out of the box" experience.

Agreed. I think what a lot of power users forget is most people use the device largely as it comes. This I think hurts Windows Mobile most, then S60, then Apple (in general). Related to this is most people still buy a device through an operator and that has impacts upon availability, pricing etc etc.

Just another aspect of why it is difficult to say one device is better than another.

macwhu
23-07-2008, 10:08 AM
I cant believe you put the N95 above the iPod touch/iPhone for music transfer.
c'mon itunes/iTMS is 1000xmore seemless than WMP/nokia music store/pc suite.

also bluetooth headphones, who ACTUALLY uses them to be an issue. as they are mostly terrible at the moment.

- the video test was unfair and skews the results. it's like adding in touch screen sensitivity as a test.

- contacts app on the N95 is a pile of smelly pants. how about adding the following test - look up the address of a contact. As on N95 you have to edit the address field to view it. nice nokia!

- you are a power s60 user - most 'normal' users would struggle to match your times. The calendar test took me over a minute on my n95. I sold my iPhone so cant comment on how long it would take me on that.

- use www.traintimes.org.uk - always!!! enjoy.

I like both phones, but comparing them is kinda pointless.
that said its an entertaining and polemic post.

slitchfield
23-07-2008, 10:19 AM
>>I cant believe you put the N95 above the iPod touch/iPhone for music transfer. c'mon itunes/iTMS is 1000xmore seemless than WMP/nokia music store/pc suite.

Nope, I disagree. Windows Media Player integration with modern S60 handsets is superb and seamless. And faster than iTunes. iTunes only starts winning once you factor in people wanting to BUY DRM-ed music online.

>>also bluetooth headphones, who ACTUALLY uses them to be an issue. as they are mostly terrible at the moment.

I used them yesterday to listen to Pink Floyd while out fast-walking. Sounded pretty good to me.

>>- the video test was unfair and skews the results. it's like adding in touch screen sensitivity as a test.

I agree it skews them slightly, but taking at least basic video clips is a FUNDAMENTAL for a phone these days. Which is why the task was included. If the iPhone can't do it then I'm afraid it deserves the 'zero' here etc.

>>- contacts app on the N95 is a pile of smelly pants. how about adding the following test - look up the address of a contact. As on N95 you have to edit the address field to view it. nice nokia!

Agreed that this is sub-optimal. But only an occasional annoyance, at least in my life. Still, would be nice if Nokia fixed their screen-wrapping!

>>- you are a power s60 user - most 'normal' users would struggle to match your times. The calendar test took me over a minute on my n95.

Nah, I'm average. I get lots of emails actually, saying how slow I am at texting. Trust me, my speeds are average.

Steve

jdushe
23-07-2008, 10:33 AM
You can turn off Touchflow 3D on the HTC, it is just a homescreen plugin.

daos
23-07-2008, 10:36 AM
In spite of titanic work done by AAS, i think this comparison is irrelevant 'cause the main feature of any smartphone, is its ability to install 3rd party (native, java, widgets etc.) and therefore to adjust, optimize the device for your needs. You write about it yourself all over the article by mentioning those widgets, java clients etc. What is the point to compare, let's say, windows, mac os and linux without the bulk of software comes with each of them. Especially when you can almost 100% mimic each one on each one (same in smartphone world). So a winner in my opinion is a device, which i can adjust in most possible ways including even tethering with hardware inside (processor speed, bluetooth stack etc.), changing UI for whatever i desire and having most possible software choice available for today. The winner is obvious.

davidmaxwaterma
23-07-2008, 10:41 AM
"Nokia N95 8GB: 50 seconds using built-in Messaging, accessing GMail via IMAP push email, slowed by the speed of Messaging and the clumsy access point selection etc."

Steve, what were you doing? Did you go for a cup of tea or something?

I just measured it on my E90 and it was a little under 30 seconds.

Aso, what do you mean 'clumsy access point selection'? If you have selected an access point in the settings, then it isn't 'IMAP push'. The whole point is that it needs to be connected constantly, so you need to set the automatic retrieval setting to a little less than the server's timeout (or other causes of disconnections) so that it remains connected.

In my test, I :

1) made sure Messaging was connected to the server by checking the 'Options' menu says 'Disconnect' (and not 'Connect').
2) send myself an email from another account (yahoo or something)
3) wait a few seconds for the server to tell Messaging it has a new email
4) start the timer
5) select the message (D-up) and click on it (D-middle)
6) wait for message to download and display - this is where it takes time
7) reply - Options/Reply->To Sender
8) wait for compose screen to appear
9) send - D-middle/"Send"
10) wait for return to message list
11) stop the timer

For me, that took a little under 30 seconds. I don't know what you were doing for the other 20 seconds.

BTW, using IMAP in Messaging is *NOT* the same as 'push email', even if you do manage to make it stay connected the whole time. This is because Messaging does not automatically download the message body when the IMAP server tells it there's a new message - only the message header.

This difference is more significant for people who don't check their messages immediately and/or network connections aren't consistent. IE, when they come to check them, the network may not be available, so, although they can see the new messages' headers, they can't see the body. Even if they do still have a network connection, they have to wait for the body to download (the whole point of 'push' is that you don't have to wait).

If you do it 'my way' it'd bring the time to approximately the same as the iPhone, IMO.

Max.

Menneisyys
23-07-2008, 10:53 AM
also bluetooth headphones, who ACTUALLY uses them to be an issue. as they are mostly terrible at the moment.

Note the world "mostly". There are quite a few excellent A2DP headphones out there; for example, the Plantronics Pulsar 590A. I *really* recommend my related articles (and, for that matter, ALL of my articles) I've posted to the S60 forum (and, mostly, the N95 subforum) here; for example,
http://www.allaboutsymbian.com/forum/showthread.php?t=72962

All in all, A2DP now is a VERY good alternative to wired headphones - without any quality degradation.

davidmaxwaterma
23-07-2008, 11:28 AM
Some replies(!)

@sdeetz:"the iphone picked up my exact position and was ready to start tracking my walking a full 60 seconds before the N95 was. And it is very "

Your N95 can't have the latest firmware then, my N95 gets a GPS lock in under 10 seconds a lot of the time, and always under 20. And my comparison already credited the iPhone as having a fast lock, I believe.


I agree. My E90 just locked on in somewhat less than 30 seconds and I'm *inside*.

I recall that it used to take minutes (sometimes *many*) to lock on before I applied the recent firmware upgrade. I suspect the N95-8GB is a similar speed before/after.

bertolt
23-07-2008, 11:34 AM
Steve,
Isn't the Samsung Omnia worth including in this comparison? :)

davidmaxwaterma
23-07-2008, 11:49 AM
One, as you mention, the N95 8GB has been out a while and had several firmware updates since it's release. The other two are brand new. Lets not forget the original N95 was almost unusable for certain things. It took a good couple of updates for it to become as good as it is

I don't get this point. Is it relevant what the device was like when it first came out? Surely what is relevant is what it's like *now*.

Perhaps you could expand on the point you were trying to make.

Thanks.

Max.

Menneisyys
23-07-2008, 12:18 PM
Steve,
Isn't the Samsung Omnia worth including in this comparison? :)

It might be but I seriously doubt it'd change the outcome much. (Besides, it doesn't have a built-in YouTube Player, unlike th Diamond.) Prolly only with the somewhat bigger on-screen keyboard (because of the slightly larger screen of the Omnia) that there would be a bit more favorable scores.

And, of course, the camera, which is on par with that of the N95 - unlike that of the Diamond.

Menneisyys
23-07-2008, 12:20 PM
I don't get this point. Is it relevant what the device was like when it first came out? Surely what is relevant is what it's like *now*.

Perhaps you could expand on the point you were trying to make.

Thanks.

Max.

The issues Steve listed can't really be fixed with minor bugfixes, only with major OS revision upgrades (for example, with the scmallscreen & touch-friendly Windows Mobile 7 to be released early next year).

However, it isn't even known if any new OS versions are released for the Diamond / iPhone.

macwhu
23-07-2008, 12:25 PM
>>I cant believe you put the N95 above the iPod touch/iPhone for music transfer. c'mon itunes/iTMS is 1000xmore seemless than WMP/nokia music store/pc suite.

Nope, I disagree. Windows Media Player integration with modern S60 handsets is superb and seamless. And faster than iTunes. iTunes only starts winning once you factor in people wanting to BUY DRM-ed music online.

Steve

I use OS X with nokia n95 - the integration is beta at best. In fact for music/video upload i just take out the memory card and copy it across manually. (just as well i dont have an 8gb) its just easier.
and of course n95 and cover art is a random beast at best.

at least the experience of iPhone is equal for windows / mac users. and they dont have to use WMP - which is bloody terrible - i know i used it for some time.

the music and video usage on the iPhone blows the n95 out of the water.

its not like i don't generally agree over all - i'm just being picky

i've gone back to n95 after a year of hacked iPhone useage.
because my main no1 use is the camera. and iPhone fails big time in that dept.
i found myself carrying two phones all the time so i would have a decent camera.

i would say the results stand in order - but theres alot of people that wouldn't give a fig as the iPhone is the only phone for them.

macwhu
23-07-2008, 12:29 PM
You can turn off Touchflow 3D on the HTC, it is just a homescreen plugin.

can and should - though to be fair, its being sold on the back of touchflo 3D

i had a diamond for 2 days, before it went on ebay - its terrible.

though in the winter it will be useful for warming your hands/house/small south american country.

boy it ran hot.

jah
23-07-2008, 02:20 PM
I think the following are real issues with the iPhone for me:

1. No A2DP
2. No HID BT profiles
3. No Profile app
4. No file system
5. No Exchange Sync for To Dos & Notes
6. No inherent ability to edit Office documents (like many E90 users, Office doc editting is actually very useful)

And finally, the iPhone is very difficult to use one-handed.

The point is the iPhone is a media content playing & viewing device, it is not a device for creating content, unlike many WM & Symbian Smartphones. So I see a lot of people carrying 2 devices, a good Nokia/SE Smatphone and an iPhone!

Bassey
23-07-2008, 02:53 PM
I don't get this point. Is it relevant what the device was like when it first came out? Surely what is relevant is what it's like *now*.

Perhaps you could expand on the point you were trying to make.


Hi Max. Fair point. No, it doesn't matter to someone in the market for an N95 now if the N95 used to suffer from problems that have since been fixed. However, someone in the marker for a smartphone should be aware that;

a) early firmwares are usually not great (and that goes for most manufacturers)
b) some manufacturers have a better record than others of releasing fixes in a timely manner.

Also, Steve said he went to great lengths to make the comparison as fair as possible. Whilst I'm sure this is true, it wouldn't come as a great surprise to many that a device that has been out for quite some time and is based on a very mature operating system is quicker and more stable than two devices released 10 days ago and based brand new or only recently updated OS's.

I'm not saying it wasn't a fair test, I'm just pointing out that the products aren't exactly at the same stages of their development life-cycle (something I believe Steve has written about before) and that this may be worth keeping in mind. The N95 is at it's peak and about to be replaced. The iPhone and Diamond are in their infancy and "could" improve in the short-medium term.

You may regard either of those positions as an advantage/disadvantage, dependant on your point of view :)

slitchfield
23-07-2008, 03:24 PM
Good points - I'll be sure to schedule another test in 6 months time! Probably iPhone 3G vs Nokia N96 vs HTC Touch Diamond Pro (or whatever it's called), of which the N96 will be the least mature 8-)

Bassey
23-07-2008, 03:46 PM
Good points - I'll be sure to schedule another test in 6 months time! Probably iPhone 3G vs Nokia N96 vs HTC Touch Diamond Pro (or whatever it's called), of which the N96 will be the least mature 8-)

Not if the Raphael/Diamond Pro (or whatever) keeps being delayed it won't! Still some serious issues with that keyboard from what I hear. And, in any case, have you SEEN the size of that thing? I've seen slimmer desktop PC's! :0

neilhoskins
23-07-2008, 03:59 PM
Excellent, balanced, and objective, if I may say so, Steve. To extend, I'd like to take the tests in different directions; as you've pointed-out yourself, there is no one 'perfect' phone because everybody has different requirements. My own suggestions for taking the tests in different directions:

- Receive an MS Word doc in email, proof read it, make some corrections, add, "The quick, brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" at the bottom, and email it back. (QWERTY-less handsets are allowed to use bluetooth keyboards, but the time taken to set them up must be added to the results.)

- Make a recurring calendar entry, using only the out-of-the-box calendar, for an event that occurs on the fourth Tuesday of every month.

- Repeat all tests one-handed.

- Walk down any UK high street with the handset in your jeans pocket without getting any funny looks.

- Find an application for a particular obscure task of your choosing, download it, install it, pay for it.

- Return from a day out, walk into the living room, and show the rest of the family all the photos and video you've taken on either the TV or computer monitor, using whatever is quickest and easiest (bluetooth, cable, streaming, etc)

slitchfield
23-07-2008, 04:27 PM
ROFL. I think I can see where you're going with that task list!!!!!!!!!!!

leoni1980
23-07-2008, 05:24 PM
steve,

it's very easy to run through a comparison test as the owner and day to day user of one of those handsets and perform tasks easily which on the other devices you struggle with. this is familiarity. luckily I am the owner of both an n95 and a touch diamond and am easily able to compare some of the tasks you underwent.

basing the capability of a browser on how quickly it allows you to fetch a train time doesn't really strike me as a thorough test. the fact is that despite their lack of flash lite both the Iphone and touch diamond browsers allow access to the internet in a much more fulfilling way than the n95 does. for quick access to information over the net I'd probably go with my n95. I think for many people the difference in quality between the full web on the diamond/iphone and the n95 is as crucial as a good camera.


with regard to email, I use googlemail and have no problems with either my n95 or my diamond. both phones offer thumbpad t9 options although the diamond has the nice option of a qwerty thumbpad for more drawn out text input. I've never had to use the stylus on the diamond to reply to a text or email and am perfectly capable of submitting posts such as this one using the diamond on screen keyboard - hell I even have an enter key so I can do paragraphs, something impossible to achieve on the n95.


the diamond is not perfect, but it's very usable as a phone, has a superb bropwser and fits very snugly in the pocket. a2dp is flawless and email (for me at least) has never been a problem.

I love all these devices, but I do love my diamond the most at the minute...maybe you have a different one to me steve!

sjhong
23-07-2008, 08:16 PM
You can turn off Touchflow 3D on the HTC, it is just a homescreen plugin.

Then instead of being called Touch Diamond it should be called "Tap with the Stylus" Diamond.

- the video test was unfair and skews the results. it's like adding in touch screen sensitivity as a test.

No, it's not. While shooting a video is a regularly used feature in phones, the touch screen in the Touch Diamond and the iPhone are ways to enter data in the device, the same as the keypad on the N95.
Adding touch screen sensitivity is a ridiculous suggestion even as an example. And, as we're talking nonsense, I could also add the following tests:
- Quality of the physical keypad (N95: 20 / iPhone: 0 / Touch: 0).
- Quality of the stylus (N95: 0 / iPhone: 0 / Touch: 20).

macwhu
24-07-2008, 08:38 AM
I generally use my phone for... er.... making phone calls ! I had a shoot out with my iPhone wielding friend and gunned him down easy with my N82.

Another category you should have included is "Fitting the phone in your pocket alongside your wallet". :)

n82 is an uber fatso brick compared to the iphone. 17.3mm vs 12.3
thats a third thicker!! in other dimensions they are similar
except the iphone is wider by 12mm

n82 camera is SWEEEEEET though. its 'rice' keys ruin it for me.

* Weight: 114 g
* Length: 112 mm
* Width: 50.2 mm
* Thickness (max): 17.3 mm

Size and weight1

Height: 4.5 inches (115.5 mm)
Width: 2.4 inches (62.1 mm)
Depth: 0.48 inch (12.3 mm)
Weight: 4.7 ounces (133 grams)

00tony
24-07-2008, 10:04 AM
I agree with fbloise
even my granma can use it

Nokia is clearly the more featured phone but Nokia has forgotten that one of the reasons they are so successful is that their phones have always been easy to use. Not any more

sapporobaby
24-07-2008, 01:48 PM
>>I cant believe you put the N95 above the iPod touch/iPhone for music transfer. c'mon itunes/iTMS is 1000xmore seemless than WMP/nokia music store/pc suite.

Nope, I disagree. Windows Media Player integration with modern S60 handsets is superb and seamless. And faster than iTunes. iTunes only starts winning once you factor in people wanting to BUY DRM-ed music online.

This is simply incorrect and misleading. I use both Amazon and iTunes for my music purchasing needs and they are both flawless. If I want to rip a CD and import it to iTunes, I simply point to the CD, rip and the files are automatically placed where I want them to go (if I created a smart playlist). The same with any songs that I buy from Amazon.

>>also bluetooth headphones, who ACTUALLY uses them to be an issue. as they are mostly terrible at the moment.

I used them yesterday to listen to Pink Floyd while out fast-walking. Sounded pretty good to me.

This is half right and wrong. I have had a few pairs of BT Stereo headsets and they have been fair to partly cloudy. Right now I am using a pair of Shure SE 530's and well nothing can compare to them that I have tried. All of the BT headset I have used invariably suffered from droppouts due to not enough music buffer or simply my body getting in the way. However, the iPhone does lose out in this respect.

>>- the video test was unfair and skews the results. it's like adding in touch screen sensitivity as a test.

I agree it skews them slightly, but taking at least basic video clips is a FUNDAMENTAL for a phone these days. Which is why the task was included. If the iPhone can't do it then I'm afraid it deserves the 'zero' here etc.

Yes, the iPhone loses here for sure. It simply does not have the native application needed. However once again, you make a general assumption and then use this to justify your conclusion. I have an N82 and hardly ever, and I mean hardly ever use the video cam function. If you can post some results from some research showing where you are correct, this would give a bit more credibility to your results. As it stands, the iPhone simply loses because it does not have the vid cam.

>>- contacts app on the N95 is a pile of smelly pants. how about adding the following test - look up the address of a contact. As on N95 you have to edit the address field to view it. nice nokia!

Agreed that this is sub-optimal. But only an occasional annoyance, at least in my life. Still, would be nice if Nokia fixed their screen-wrapping!

At least you quantified your answer here rather than leaving it as a general response.

>>- you are a power s60 user - most 'normal' users would struggle to match your times. The calendar test took me over a minute on my n95.

Nah, I'm average. I get lots of emails actually, saying how slow I am at texting. Trust me, my speeds are average.

Steve

To be honest and this is my opinion, I have a hard time really trusting the fairness of your comparisons. This test was rigged for the N95 from the start so the outcome is not surprising at all. In retrospect, I do tend to take the opinion of Rafe more seriously as he seems to be more neutral in his discussions. In most your reviews I have never seen a product or application that you didn't like or say something along these lines: " This is not a great product, however it is worth giving a try, yada, yada, yada." This is having your cake and eating it too. If you do not like something then say so, but when you speak out of two sides of your mouth, the first thing out is credibility.

I really do like this site but I have long given up on gaining anything substantive from your reviews or articles. For the most part I simply look at the topic, scan a few lines and then decide read further or to just pass by. Lately I have been doing the latter.

While I do not agree with fbloise that this site is completely biased and rigged to let S60, and Nokia win, I would go as far as saying that most of your articles, comparison, opinions do.

Rafe
24-07-2008, 11:09 PM
Personally I find both Windows Media (with S60) and iTunes (when used with iPod Touch) to be a bit annoying. The Nokia tools haven't been good either - the new beta Music PC Client shows promise (especially given integration with store). However I tend to dump a bunch of music on the phone and change it only infrequently. As such I often use mass transfer. I am non typical in this regard I suspect, though I guess it shows how people do things in different ways.

I think there's another factor to consider - with music there's significant switching cost for a music (i.e. it is annoying for a user switch to another music management system). If you're an iTunes user you want to stick with it and the same for other systems. I wonder if this gives Apple an advantage given the dominance of the iPod in the MP3 player market.

A2DP is another interesting one. I do use a headset quite frequently (often in the car or when out walking - situations where I dont want wires in the way). I will also use a wired headset. However I also use A2DP with an audio gateway (connecting to a HiFi stereo). Some in-car systems use it in a similar way.

Anyway this comment thread has shown a great variety of different opinions - great stuff - and thanks to all who have contributed.

Antoine of MMM
29-07-2008, 06:28 PM
Hey guys; thanks for the answer, I forgot that I had posted my response to this. Maybe 1-2-3 isn't granular enough, but knowing a bit more about the weight that a 10 has versus a 15 would help is what I'm just suggesting (few variants makes the case that something could be more or less biased, but that line is clearer).

Looking forward to the next installment of this test, though I'd think the Samsung InnoV8 would probably be a better one to pit as the S60 representative given its better featureset?

KroniK
09-08-2008, 06:42 PM
As the Iphone 3G and N95 8GB are both the highest end flagship devices from their respective companies shouldnt the HTC be a flagship phone and preferably the Touch Pro not the Diamond? Before you call foul that the full keyboard gives it an advantage think about the fact that the Diamond lost points in almost every catagory due to text entry and the iphone has a built in *touchscreen* QWERTY as well. The Pro which has a decently sized QWERTY would most likely be able to vanquish both of the other two phones. (before you call me a WM fanboy im actually a s60 fan and my current phone is the Nokia E90 which has been a blessing since my last Windows device). Both the Iphone, and the n95 have an advantage area: youtube for the iphone, as it was half their marketing campaign in the early days of the iphone, and camera which is an obvious instant win for the n95 seeing as how it was also alot of the phones marketing, so pitching the Pro against them and adding, say a text entry category would even out the results a bit more.

langweishan
08-09-2009, 01:55 AM
Thanks for this site very helpful.