Google Nexus S vs. Nokia N8 – Review

by Jerry D on December 13, 2010

Take the Google Nexus S and throw it into the ring with the beefy Nokia N8. Which phone will come out on top? The N8 has the advantage of some terrific features, while the ‘S’-class Nexus rocks Android 2.3 and futuristic NFC technology. This could be a close one…


Need go-anywhere wireless? Who doesn’t? The Nexus S features 3G/HSDPA (7.2Mbps), 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR. The N8 packs an enticing combo of 3G/HSDPA (10.2 Mbps), Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP and 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi.

The specs suggest the N8 just edges it. But who bases their phone decisions on Bluetooth 3.0 versus Bluetooth 2.1? That’s right. Nobody. So we open with a tied score. (1-1)

See other big phone fights featuring these two handsets:

Size & Weight:

How chunky are these two handsets? To be honest, there’s not much between the two phones. The Nexus S is 123.9 x 63.0 x 10.88mm, the tech-stuffed N8 is 113.5 x 59.12 x 12.9mm. The N8 is the more compact handset. Neither phone is hefty. The Google Nexus S weighs 129g, while the N8 is 135g. (1-1)



The Nexus S’s camera boasts a 5.0 Megapixel resolution. Frills include: autofocus, an LED flash, geo-tagging, touch focus functionality and 720p video recording (which is fast becoming a standard feature). The highest resolution the camera supports is 2592 x 1944 pixels. It also features a second, front-facing camera.

The camera on the Nexus is certainly good. But the camera on the N8 is better. Way better.

The 12.0 Megapixel package here outclasses the Google phone. It supports a max resolution of 4290 x 2800 pixels and also includes: Carl Zeiss optics, a top-of-the-line Xenon flash, autofocus, geo-tagging, face/smile detection, plus 720p HD video capture and editing. A extra camera on the front is designed for video calling. (1-2)

Here’s how the raw technology of the cameras compare*.

1.0MP – 1280 x 960 pixels
2.0MP – 1600 x 1200 pixels
3.1MP – 2048 x 1536 pixels
5.0MP – 2592 x 1944 pixels
8.0MP – 3264 x 2448 pixels
10.0MP – 3872 x 2592 pixels
12.0MP – 4290 x 2800 pixels
16.0MP – 4920 x 3264 pixels

*These are typical resolutions. Actual resolutions may vary


The Nexus S boasts a touch-sensitive Super AMOLED display, measuring 4.0 inches on the diagonal and delivering a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels. In terms of pixel density, the pixels per inch (PPI) measurement is a creditable (if unspectacular) 233.25.

The N8′s touch-sensitive AMOLED display is less vibrant and also less roomy, measuring an iPhone-esque 3.5 inches. Unfortunately, it also boasts a lower resolution (only 360 x 640 pixels) than the Nexus S. Do the math again and the pixels per inch (PPI) rating of Nokia’s screen is 209.714. (2-2)



Performance-wise, the Nexus S uses a 1GHz ARM Cortex A8 ‘Hummingbird’ chip, while the N8 uses a slower ARM 11 processor, clocked at 680MHz. (3-2)


Google’s phone stands out from the crowd thanks to a pure Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) build. Nokia debuted its Symbian ^3 OS on the N8, but it’s no match for the little robot. (4-2)

Downloadable apps


The N8 and the Nexus S both come with 16GB of built-in memory. There’s no expansion slot on the Nexus S, so this base memory can’t be extended. Shame. The 16GB storage capacity on Nokia’s phone can be expanded, however. You can boost it up to a whopping 48GB via the microSD slot. (4-3)

Battery life:

As for staying power… the Nexus S weighs in with 6.7 hours of talktime; the N8 in comparison boasts 12.0 hours of talktime. In terms of standby times, Google’s phone can last 427 hours, while Nokia’s model boasts 390 hours. This round goes to the N8. (4-4)

Note: The Standby time specification is an industry standard that is only intended to allow comparison of different mobile phones under the same circumstances. Power consumption in a standby state is strongly dependent on factors including: network, settings, location, movement, signal strength and cell traffic.



It’s a tie going into this last round. Either phone could win it… In terms of extra whatnots, the Nexus S includes GPS/A-GPS, a dedicated GPU for faster gaming, haptic feedback vibration, a 3-axis gyroscope, digital compass, curved ‘Contour Display’ and integrated Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. Google is also selling the Nexus S unlocked, so it will work with any GSM carrier.

The N8 also features onboard 3D graphics acceleration, GPS/A-GPS (with free Ovi Maps), a digital compass, Web TV, an FM radio (with RDS) and an HDMI out with Dolby Digital Plus support. It’s certainly an impressive list. But the Nexus S just takes the round. (5-4)

The Google Nexus S wins!

Nexus S Google Nexus S vs. Nokia N8   ReviewThe Nexus S emerges as the winner of this fight and boy was it a close one (5-4). For starters, it has the most versatile OS – the Symbian software, despite a decent upgrade, is overshadowed by the talents of Android 2.3 (Gingerbread). The Nexus S also boasts a superior display (both in terms of size, vibrancy and clarity).

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