Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc vs. Nokia N8

by Jerry D on January 16, 2011

Sony Ericsson and Nokia are the oldest of enemies and this fight pitches the Xperia Arc against the Symbian ^3-powered N8. Two flagship handsets. But which one is the best?

Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc versus graphic Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc vs. Nokia N8 Nokia N8


The core connectivity options on the Xperia Arc include 3G/HSDPA (7.2Mbps), 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP. As for the N8, Nokia has specified 3G/HSDPA (10.2 Mbps), Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP and 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi as standard. (1-1)

Size & Weight:

Browse the rest of the specs and the Xperia Arc and the N8 measure 125.0 x 63.0 x 8.7mm and 113.5 x 59.12 x 12.9mm respectively. Overall the Xperia Arc is the slimmer phone; dramatically so. The N8 is also heavier than its rival, tipping the scales at 135g. The Xperia Arc, meanwhile, weighs 117g. (2-1)



Sony Ericsson has built a 8.0 Megapixel lens into the Xperia Arc together with features such as autofocus, an LED flash, image stabilization, geo-tagging, face/smile detection and 720p video capture.

The 12.0 Megapixel camera on the N8 is superior to the lens on the Xperia Arc. It also includes an array of features including: Carl Zeiss optics, a high-end Xenon flash, autofocus, geo-tagging, face/smile detection, plus 720p HD video capture and editing. Another camera located on the front is ideal for video calls. It easily wins this round. (2-2)


Display size is key and the Xperia Arc features a 4.2-inch (480 x 854) touch-sensitive LED-backlit LCD (dubbed a ‘Reality Display’). The resulting pixel density of this handset is a decent 233.333 pixels per inch.

N8′s touch-sensitive AMOLED screen is smaller at 3.5 inches. In this battle, it suffers from a criminally poor screen resolution too, namely 360 x 640 pixels. With only 230400 pixels onscreen, the pixel density is a lowly 209.714 pixels per inch. (3-2)

Horizontal Home Screen on Nokia N8
Creative Commons License photo credit: themarina


Under the hood, the N8 uses an ageing ARM 11 chip, rated at only 680MHz. The Xperia Arc’s processor is a newer 1GHz Qualcomm MSM8255 Snapdragon model, complete with an Adreno 205 GPU to speed up the graphics performance. This nudges the Arc further ahead… (4-2)


The Xperia Arc runs the newest Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) OS. The Nokia N8 uses Symbian 3.0, which sounds good on paper (it’s faster, has a redesigned UI, multi-touch support, multi-tasking and multiple homescreens), but Android still has the edge. (5-2)


While the Xperia Arc only boasts 8GB of space as standard, the N8 comes with a better 16GB capacity. The Xperia Arc also features a microSD slot to boost the storage to a roomier 32GB. It’s good. But the 16GB storage capacity on Nokia’s phone can be expanded to 48GB via its own microSD slot. A vital point to the N8. (5-3)

Battery life:

Charged to the max, Sony Ericsson says that its Xperia Arc can deliver 7.0 hours of talktime. But the N8 again strikes back with 12.0 hours. Meanwhile, standby time is quoted as 400 hours and 390 hours respectively. The Sony Ericsson phone comes a distant second in this round. (5-4)

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.



Lastly, the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc also includes GPS/A-GPS, DLNA content sharing, Sony Mobile BRAVIA Engine pixel processing, a stereo FM radio with RDS, HDMI port, noise cancellation and a digital compass.

The N8 features onboard 3D graphics acceleration, GPS/A-GPS (with free Ovi Maps), a digital compass, Web TV, an FM radio (again with RDS) and an HDMI out with Dolby Digital Plus support. Let’s call this one a draw. (5-4)

The Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc wins!

Sony Ericsson Xperia arc Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc vs. Nokia N8 So where was this fight won? In a straight fight between Android 2.3 and Symbian ^3, the Xperia Arc wins every time. Android arguably has a far brighter future than Nokia’s OS.

Sony Ericsson’s phone also grabbed points for having the best display, the biggest of the two screens, the superior processor and for being the lightest and thinnest of the two. Even then, the N8 struck back in key areas: note its luxurious 12MP camera with Xenon flash and the 12 hours of battery life.

See if these two phones make our Top 10 Best Smartphones list…

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