Smartphone comparison: Nokia N9 vs. Apple iPhone 4S

Which is the better phone: Nokia's N9 or Apple's 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.

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

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