Nokia N9 vs. Samsung Galaxy S 2

Nokia's N9 — its first phone to run the MeeGo operating system — will be available on all Australian networks, as well as retailers including Harvey Norman, Dick Smith and JB Hi-Fi.

The Nokia N9's has an excellent 'all-screen' design, and its specs are certainly impressive. But when it hits Australia it will be up against tough competition. Not only it will be competing against Apple's iPhone 4, but it will also up against the multitude of Android phones on the market. Perhaps its toughest non-iPhone competitor it will face will be the Samsung Galaxy S II: A phone that may be the best phone on the market at the moment.

Techworld Australia feature: Nokia N9 vs. iPhone 4

Below we have compared some of the basic specs of the Nokia N9 and the Samsung Galaxy S II.

Nokia N9 vs. Samsung Galaxy S II: Specifications

Feature Samsung Galaxy S II Nokia N9 Verdict?
Operating system (OS) Android MeeGo
Display size 4.3in 3.9in Galaxy S II
Display technology Capacitive Super AMOLED Plus Capacitive AMOLED
Display resolution 480x800 pixels 854x480 pixels Nokia N9
Multitouch Yes Yes Draw
Camera 8 megapixels, LED flash, autofocus, geotagging, image stabilisation, face and smile detection 8 megapixel, dual-LED flash, autofocus, geotagging
GPS Yes Yes
Internal memory 16GB or 32GB 16GB or 64GB N9
Expandable memory microSD slot No Samsung Galaxy S II
Dimensions 125.3 x 66.1 x 8.5mm 116.45 x 61.2 x 7.6-12-mm
Weight 116g 135g Galaxy S II
Application store Android Market Ovi Store Galaxy S II
Processor ARM Cortex A9 dual-core (1.2GHz) ARM Cortext-A8
Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n 802.11b/g/n Draw
Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP 2.1 with A2DP Galaxy S II
Near Field Communications Yes - but not in Australia Yes

There is no doubt that both phones have extremely impressive hardware. The Samsung Galaxy S II has more screen real estate and as a result is slightly larger than the N9. On the other hand, the smaller N9 display has a higher pixel density. This should result in an extremely impressive screen, which is saying something given the quality of the Galaxy S II (though as impressive as that phone is, it still can't match the 'retina' display of the iPhone 4).

The N9 has an appealing design, combining a 'full screen' design — it has no buttons at all on its face — with a polymer body and a Gorilla Glass screen. While I love how light the Galaxy S II, especially considering the size of its screen, it has always felt slightly more 'plastic' than you would expect from a premium handset.

One of the big challenges for the N9 is its operating system: While it has access to the Ovi Store, it runs the MeeGo OS, rather than Nokia's usual Symbian platform (which itself is in danger of being sidelined by Nokia's Windows Phone 7 play). The iPhone still has the most advance app ecosystem, followed by Android. And the release of the Nokia N9 comes in the context of Nokia deciding that Windows Phone is its "principal smartphone strategy".

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MeeGo may seem to be on shaky ground thanks to Nokia, but Intel has maintained that it, at least, remains committed to the OS (which is a product of an Intel-Nokia partnership). Website Mobilmedia recently published rumours that Samsung was interested in purchasing MeeGo (one interesting aspect of this is that as well as releasing Android-based handsets, Samsung has its own Bada OS).

That being said, the N9 has an impressive-looking interface, and, most importantly, it can run Angry Birds.

Although it's a little hard to make an 'a' vs. 'b' comparison when it comes to the processing power of smartphones running different platforms without hands-on testing, the Galaxy S II has the edge, at least in terms of its ARM-based system-on-a-chip, which unlike the N9's is a dual-core model. On the other hand, a 64GB model of the N9 will be available — though, sadly, the handset has no expandable memory so you will be stuck with that (quite frankly, however, I still haven't managed to come anywhere close to filling the 8GB of storage on my HTC Desire HD — how many cat photos do people need to keep on their phones anyway???).

(The answer to that question is, of course, as many as possible.)

All up the Nokia N9 is going to be an impressive piece of kit. But, sadly, I think that MeeGo, interesting as it is, will not help Nokia move units — it has the brand recognition of neither the iPhone nor Android. And, quite frankly, Nokia's reputation as a purveyor of high-end smartphones is not what it could have been, thanks in part to some of its mediocre Symbian-based offerings.

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Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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