Android and Symbian are the two biggest and best open source mobile operating systems on the market today. And Nokia and Samsung are two of the top handset manufacturers worldwide. So, what happens when you bring the best of Google Android up against the best of Symbian? One heck of a clash of the titans. Check out this blow-by-blow review of these two excellent phones.
Both phones are touchscreen only with excellent workmanship. The Samsung Galaxy S is thinner, at 9.9mm thick while the Nokia N8 is 12.9 mm. The Nokia N8 is crafted from aluminum, giving it a certain amount of heft, while the Samsung Galaxy S is made from plastic, making it lightweight, without feeling cheap.
Winner: Toss up. The Samsung Galaxy S is smaller and lighter, but is that what you’re looking for? If you like the distinguished feel of a weighty, all metal phone, then the Nokia N8 will feel more at home in your hand and your pocket.
No contest here—the Samsung Galaxy S sports a 480x800 pixel Super AMOLED display, while the Nokia N8 phones in with a regular AMOLED display with a 360640 pixel resolution. The Samsung Galaxy S has higher contrast ratio, great viewing angles and better visibility in direct sunlight.
The Android Samsung Galaxy S has a home button, plus a back and menu button. This is actually pretty useful, since the permanent buttons help you keep your bearings and save up screen real estate for content. The Nokia N8 also has a home button, but no back or options key. Instead, these are integrated into the touchscreen.
In spite of the iPhone’s stubborn “one button to rule them all” philosophy, including at least three permanent buttons seems to be the norm moving forward. Samsung Galaxy S wins again.
Navigation and User Interface
Both of these mobile operating systems are excellent smartphone platforms, with mobile web browsing, pinch to zoom, navigation and maps, excellent keyboards and multitasking. However, Android tends to do this with a little bit more finesse and eye candy. Nokia’s Symbian platform is functional, but Android is just more fun and visually appealing.
The Nokia N8 takes home the trophy on this one. With a 12 MP camera and a powerful Xenon flash, the Nokia N8 takes sharper, more detailed pictures and excels especially well in low light. Nokia loves to tout its Carl Zeiss lenses, and in the Nokia N8, you can really see it at work.
The major disadvantage for the Nokia N8 and all Symbian phones is the uncertainty of Symbian’s future. Whereas Google’s Android is gobbling up market share like a pack of hungry, hungry hippos, Symbian is on a steep decline. Microsoft just signed a deal with Nokia to provide it with Windows Phone 7, which means that Symbian’s biggest backer just got diluted big time. All signs indicate that Google’s Android platform is the future—and it makes sense to switch now so you’ll be ready for upgrades and other exciting developments in the platform. While the future is always unclear, Symbian may be on track to become an antiquity.