Apple iPhone vs Nokia N97

| December 3, 2008 | 14 Replies

Apple iPhone vs Nokia N97

[image from Robert Scoble]

The recently announced N97 is most definitely attempting to appeal to the iPhone crowd. What are the major differences between the two?


The Nokia N97 has a potential space of 48GB, of which 32 is built in and 16GB from the expandable micro-SD card. iPhone’s maximum at the moment is 16GB, but who knows what it will be by the time the Nokia N97 has arrived, or what the maximum size micro-SD will be available by then.


[Image from Robert Scoble]

The iPhone is smaller and lighter than the N97. Much of the gained weight on the N97 can be attributed to the presence of physical QWERTY keyboard

117.2 x 55.3 x 15.9-18.3 mm 150g

115 x 61 x 11.6mm. Weight: 135g

Side by side there doesn’t seem to be much difference. I wonder though how much closer the N97 would have been was it to simply be a touch screen only phone.

Physical Keys:

It’s the old debate that sprung up once we heard about the iPhone. Millions of iPhone users have coped without one, although there equally millions of other users who require a physical keypad. The N97 offers you both (at a slight compromise on size) with having touch input and a real QWERTY keyboard.


Both have 3.5” display, however, the iPhone’s is shorter and fatter whilst the N97’s is taller and slimmer. This is because the iPhone has an aspect ratio of 4:3 whilst the N97 has true widescreen aspect ratio of 16:9. My personal preference is the 16:9 not because it’s Nokia but because I find 16:9 to be the optimum ratio for displaying media. Videos/photos/webpages. By example most computers and tv’s we’re using now are more or less 16:9.

Another difference to their screens is resolution:

The iPhone has a respectable 480 x 320. That’s 153600 pixels. The N97 has 640×360, and that’s 230400 pixels. That’s 76,800 more pixels on the N97, much like having an extra 320X240 screen stuck to the iPhone. But N97 not only more pixels but because of the similar screen space, you’ve got higher pixel density for crisper, sharper details, great when viewing photos but even better when viewing text such as on webpages/eBooks/documents and the like.


The iPhone has been tried and tested as more or less the best touch screen experience you will ever have on any mobile device. The Nokia N97 however, is not. Demonstration of S60 touch back in February didn’t look to promising. What’s worse is that with news that the N97 is lacking Dual-CPU support that the N95/N82 had for separating telephony from other functions, as well as no 3D support, it doesn’t spring much confidence in the N97 delivering a smooth, quick and responsive UI that you’d expect as a bare essential for any flagship handset.

The Operating system:

The iPhone uses iPhone OS X whilst the N97 uses 5th Edition S60. Both are pretty stable platforms that have their own strengths and weaknesses.


Apple has a plethora of easily accessible and reasonably priced applications that are simple and easy to install at the Apple Store. Symbian’s S60 also had a strong feature in that it had a huge library of applications that would add more functionality and dimension to your phone, but it’s not all available in one place and because of that, it’s harder to get them and their prices vary a lot.


The iPhone has 2MP whilst the N97 has 5MP with dual LED flash. You’ve also got native support on the N97 for “DVD-like” video capture whereas you’ll require an application to achieve a substandard video recording rate on the iPhone. For me, I’ve made the transition of using the N82 as my main compact camera – always there, ready for any situation and reliable enough to know that it has the capability to capture in detail (5mp) and at any lighting situation (with it’s XENON flash). It’s also equally good on video recording, good compression rates so it doesn’t eat up ridiculous amounts of memory whilst still providing good detail and smooth video rate in most lighting conditions.

There’s more differences I want to discuss, and other features I wanted to discuss in more depth, but I have a lecture to go to now. I’m not even dressed to go yet 🙂 If you have any other differences, feel free to add.


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Category: 5th Edition, Nokia, S60, Versus

About the Author ()

Hey, thanks for reading my post. My name is Jay and I'm a medical student at the University of Manchester. When I can, I blog here at and tweet now and again @jaymontano. We also have a twitter and facebook accounts @mynokiablog and Check out the tips, guides and rules for commenting >>click<< Contact us at tips(@) or email me directly on jay[at]