Nokia N8 vs. Samsung Galaxy S – Review

by Jerry D on September 30, 2010

The Nokia N8 has been proving itself to be a major contender and has won a couple of big phone fights already this month. But how will it fare against one of the leading smartphones? The Galaxy S is one of the best Android handsets around and it’s a tough ask for the N8 to beat it.


Let’s consider the wireless options first. The stylish N8 boasts 3G/HSDPA (10.2 Mbps), 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP. The Galaxy S features 3G/HSDPA (7.2Mbps), 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP. Not much between the two. (1-1)

See more Nokia N8 fights or find other Samsung Galaxy S showdowns

Size & Weight:

Get the spec sheets out and the N8 and the well-reviewed Galaxy S measure 113.5 x 59.12 x 12.9mm and 122.4 x 64.2 x 9.9mm respectively. Overall the Galaxy S is the bigger phone, despite being less than 10mm thick. The N8 is slightly tubbier than the Galaxy S, weighing in at 135g. The Galaxy S is 16g lighter at 119g. (1-2)



First up, the N8′s 12.0 Megapixel camera features: Carl Zeiss optics, a Xenon flash, autofocus, geo-tagging, face/smile detection, plus 720p HD video capture and editing. It has a max resolution of 4290 x 2800 pixels. For video calls, there’s also a second, front-mounted camera.

Unfortunately for the Galaxy S, it boasts a poorer specification, namely a 5.0 Megapixel camera with autofocus, geo-tagging, touch to focus functionality, face and smile detection and HD video recording. No LED flash either, Xenon or otherwise. The maximum resolution of the camera is 2592 x 1944 pixels. Another camera located on the front is ideal for video calls. (2-2)

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 (Samsung Galaxy S)
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


Headlining the Nokia N8 is a 3.5-inch touch-sensitive AMOLED display with a resolution of 360 x 640 pixels. It has 230,400 pixels onscreen overall, which works out at a creditable 209.714 pixels per inch.

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

At 4.0 inches, Galaxy S’s touch-sensitive Super AMOLED screen has more room. It’s also got a better resolution – 480 x 800 pixels. With 384,000 pixels on the 4.0-inch screen, the pixel density is 233.25 pixels per inch. (2-3)



As far as performance goes, the N8′s core uses a 680MHz ARM 11 chip, while the Galaxy S uses a ARM Cortex A8 processor, rated at 1GHz. The Nokia N8 uses Symbian ^3 (the jury is still out on this one), while the Galaxy S runs Android 2.1 (Eclair). Is this a match-winning lead? (2-5)

Downloadable apps


The N8 matches Samsung’s phone by including 16GB of internal storage space. The N8 also boasts a microSD slot to increase the maximum capacity to 48GB. The 16GB storage capacity on Samsung’s phone can be expanded to 48GB via the microSD slot. (2-5)

Battery life:

Juiced up to full capacity, Nokia claims 12.0 hours of talktime for the N8, compared to 6.5 hours for the Galaxy S. Standby times are 390 hours and 576 hours respectively. The Galaxy S loses this one. (3-5)



The N8 also includes: onboard 3D graphics acceleration, GPS/A-GPS (with free Ovi Maps), digital compass, Web TV, Flash support, FM radio (with RDS) and an HDMI out with Dolby Digital Plus support. The Galaxy S features a stereo FM radio with RDS, GPS/A-GPS and a digital compass (4-5)

The Samsung Galaxy S wins!

Samsung Galaxy S Nokia N8 vs. Samsung Galaxy S – ReviewThe Galaxy S emerges as the winner of this fight (4-5). It has the most versatile OS, the better display and the bigger of the two screens. Despite losing out in the camera department, the Galaxy S runs the Android OS and is thinner and lighter than the N8.

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

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