Nokia N8 vs. Nokia N97 – Review

by Jerry D on October 14, 2010

The Nokia N8 is being seen as Nokia’s comeback phone. It struts impressively across the mobile landscape, stuffed to the brim with the latest high technology and rocking the new Symbian ^3 OS. It’s every inch the next-gen handset that the older, half-forgotten N97 should have been…


As you’ll know by now, the mighty Nokia N8 is superbly-specced and includes 3G/HSDPA (supporting speeds up to 10.2 Mbps), a triple slap of 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi plus Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP connectivity. The N97, meanwhile, boasts 3G/HSDPA (3.6 Mbps), 802.11b/g Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP. (1-0)

Size & Weight:

Get the tape measure out and the N8 measures 113.5 x 59.12 x 12.9mm, while the brick-like N97 is 117.2 x 55.3 x 15.9mm in comparison. The N97 is obviously the bigger phone. If weight is an issue, then the N97 is 150g, while the N8 is a more pocketable is 135g. (2-0)



The N8′s 12.0 Megapixel camera features a full resolution of 4290 x 2800 plus Carl Zeiss optics, a Xenon flash, autofocus, geo-tagging, face/smile detection, plus 720p HD video capture and editing. The N8 also features a second, front-facing camera for video chit-chatting.

The N97, meanwhile, boasts a lower-spec camera – a 5.0 Megapixel model with a max resolution of 2592 x 1944 pixels, plus Carl Zeiss optics, autofocus, dual LED flash, video light, geo-tagging and VGA video recording functionality. A extra camera on the front is also designed for video calling.

Yes. We know that raw megapixels is no indication of overall camera quality. But note the N8′s Xenon flash and its HD video capture capability, which easily bests the N97. (3-0)

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 (Nokia N97)
8.0MP – 3264 x 2448 pixels
10.0MP – 3872 x 2592 pixels
12.0MP – 4290 x 2800 pixels (Nokia N8)
16.0MP – 4920 x 3264 pixels

These are typical resolutions. Actual resolutions may vary


The N8 features a 3.5-inch touch-sensitive AMOLED display with a resolution of 360 x 640 pixels. The screen has 230,400 pixels in total, giving it a rating of 209.714 pixels per inch.

View the best mobile displays in The ‘pixel density’ league table

The N97′s touch-sensitive LCD screen matches its opponent for size, but loses out in terms of vibrancy and colour definition. There’s no difference in the resolution. Compared to its rival, the pixels per inch (PPI) rating of this screen is the same 209.714. (4-0)



In terms of usability and performance, the Nokia N8 is built around an ARM 11 chip, clocked at 680MHz. The N97 has a ARM 11 434MHz processor. The N8 runs the new Symbian ^3 OS, while the N97 uses the older second-generation Symbian software (Series 60). (6-0)

Downloadable apps


While the N8 only boasts 16GB out of the box, the N97 comes with a better 32GB capacity. The N8 also has a microSD interface, which can extend the overall capacity to 48GB. You can expand the memory of the N97 via the microSD slot. The maximum is 48GB. (6-1)

Battery life:

Juiced up overnight, Nokia boasts 12.0 hours of talktime for its N8, versus 9.0 hours for the N97. The standby times are 390 hours for the N8 and 408 hours for the N97. Second place for the N97 in this round. (7-1)



The N8 also includes onboard 3D graphics acceleration, GPS/A-GPS (with free Ovi Maps), a digital compass, Web TV, Flash support, FM radio (with RDS) and an HDMI out with Dolby Digital Plus support. The N97, meanwhile, incorporates a stereo FM radio with RDS, Visual radio, GPS/A-GPS, digital compass and a TV-out (7-1)

The Nokia N8 wins!

Nokia N8 Nokia N8 vs. Nokia N97 – ReviewThe N8 almost effortlessly emerges as the winner of this fight (7-1). Just imagine if the N8 had been launched to counter the Apple iPhone – then we would have truly had a big phone fight on our hands.

The N8 has a great specification and rivals leading handsets in terms of raw hardware. But we still have worries about the Symbian OS, despite its ^3 revamp. Like Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS, Nokia might have left its comeback too late. I don’t think anyone REALLY thinks it can catch the runaway the market leaders – the Android OS and Apple’s iOS.

Do you agree with the outcome of this fight? Leave us a comment below now…

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