Nokia N9 vs. Samsung Galaxy S2 (32GB) – Review

by Jerry D on July 26, 2011

You’ve got to feel sorry for the Nokia N9. Despite some nice hardware, Nokia effectively ruined its chances of success by installing the MeeGo operating system on it. And after jumping into bed with Microsoft and its Windows Phone 7 software, the future of the N9 looks bleak.

The good news? At least Nokia’s phone won’t last long against the horribly beweaponed Samsung Galaxy S2. Time for a big phone fight. Seconds away, round 1…

XXXX versus graphic Nokia N9 vs. Samsung Galaxy S2 (32GB)   Review XXXX

Round #1 – Connectivity:
Good wireless connectivity is vital. The N9 features 3G/HSDPA (14.4Mbps), 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP/EDR. The Galaxy S2, meanwhile, packs 3G/HSDPA/HSPA+ (21Mbps), Bluetooth 3.0+HS and 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi.

Score: +1 to both phones (1-1)

Round #2 – Size & Weight:
Get the spec sheets out and there’s not much between the two – the day-glo N9 is 116.5 x 61.2 x 12.1mm, the super-duper Galaxy S2 is 125.3 x 66.1 x 8.49mm. Overall, the N9 is the more compact handset of the two. That said, it’s also the heavier phone. Weighing in at 135g, the N9 is 19g heavier than the slimline Galaxy S2, which weighs 116g. See the graph below to see how they compare.

Score: +1 to Galaxy S2 (32GB) (1-2)


Round #3 – Camera:
First up, the N9′s 8.0 Megapixel camera features: autofocus, touch focus, advanced (and top-of-the-line) Carl Zeiss optics, a wide-angle lens, dual LED flash, face detection and 720p video capture. It has a max resolution of 3264 x 2448 pixels and also features a second, front-facing camera.

The Galaxy S2 also comes equipped with a 8.0 MP lens along with autofocus, a single LED flash, geo-tagging, touch focus functionality, face/smile detection, image stabilization and 1080p video capture. A second camera on the front can be used for video calling. Nevertheless, the N9′s technology just edges it in this round.

Score: +1 to N9 (2-2)

Round #4 – Screen/keyboard:
The N9 boasts a touch-sensitive AMOLED display, measuring 3.9 inches and delivering a decent resolution of 480 x 854 pixels. In terms of pixel density, the pixels per inch (PPI) measurement is 251.282.

rez comparison1 Nokia N9 vs. Samsung Galaxy S2 (32GB)   Review

In contrast, the 4.27-inch touch-sensitive, Gorilla Glass Super AMOLED Plus display on Samsung’s phone is better and bigger. Its 480 x 800 pixel resolution just loses out to the N9′s display. Although the resolution is effectively the same, compared to its rival, the pixels per inch (PPI) rating of this screen is much lower at 218.501.

Overall, the N9 has a smaller, sharper display. The S2 has more room and features better technology for superior colour reproduction, contrast and brightness.

Score: +1 to both phones (3-3)

Round #5 – Processor:
In terms of processing oomph, the Galaxy S2 uses a Samsung-built dual-core Exynos processor, rated at 1GHz. The N9′s processor is a single-core 1GHz ARM Cortex-A8 OMAP3630 chip.

Score: +1 to Galaxy S2 (32GB) (3-4)

Round #6 – Software:
As we’ve previously mentioned, the Nokia N9 uses MeeGo 1.2, which offers some good features but has very little future against Android and iOS. The Galaxy S2 launched with Google’s Android 2.3 software, enhanced (or ruined – your call…) with Samsung’s TouchWiz UI overlay and Swype text input.

Score: +1 to Galaxy S2 (32GB) (3-5)

Round #7 – Applications:
Which software platform has the most apps? In this fight, the Galaxy S2 has access to more downloadable apps than the N9. See below for details.

Score: +1 to Galaxy S2 (32GB) (3-6)

Round #8 – Storage:
While the Galaxy S2 (32GB) only boasts 32GB, the N9 comes with a better 64GB capacity. The N9 lacks an expansion slot so 64GB is all the storage you get, but let’s face it that should be enough for anyone. The N9 doesn’t take this round, however, as the Galaxy S2′s overall capacity can be increased to 64GB via its microSD memory card slot.

Score: +1 to both phones (4-7)

Round #9 – Battery life:
How long will the phones last? Good question. The N9 weighs in with 7.0 hours of talktime; the Galaxy S2 boasts 8.5 hours of talktime. In terms of standby times, Nokia’s phone can last 450 hours, while Samsung’s model boasts 610 hours. So it’s a last-place finish for the N9 here. Again.

Score: +1 to Galaxy S2 (32GB) (4-8)


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.

Round #10 – Extras:
The N9 also includes GPS/A-GPS, digital compass, that Gorilla Glass toughness, turn-by-turn mapping, Near Field Communication (NFC) and a TV-out via HDMI. Note: a 16GB version is also available.

In comparison, the Galaxy S2 features GPS/A-GPS, DLNA content sharing, Wi-Fi direct, a stereo FM radio (with RDS), optional NFC support, a digital compass, a gyroscope and an HDMI port.

Score: +1 to both phones (5-9)

BPF Verdict: The Samsung Galaxy S2 (32GB) wins!

See if these two phones make our Top 20 Best Smartphones list…

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