Monday, March 01, 2010

The iPhone, Nexus One, N900 Shootout. Part 1

Again lemme play safe here - I think these phones are not supposed to be compared with each other. They are made for different people. iPhone as you know is iPHONE. A Nokia should be compared to another Nokia or an LG/Samsung with similar capabilities. An Android phone should only be compared with another Android. Said that; recently I had the privilege of using an N900 (Thanks to the nice guys at Nokia Womworld) and the Nexus One (We got it for the design team at work). I have already used an iPhone before so I thought it would be nice to jot down a quick list of points that came to my mind when I used them. Also Nexus is the first Android phone I'm using (I've looked at the Droid and Motorola Cliq previously) so most of the features I'm talking about might be an Android feature and not necessarily a Nexus feature.

Nexus One

WOW Factor

N900 lacks in this dept. There is nothing in the phone which will make you swoon for this phone. The phone looks like a brick and the UI is just a combination of a computer with Nokia's icons with some touch goodness.

iPhone had generated enough wow factor when it was released but later on they just added features into it, not wows.

Whereas Nexus One does have enough scope to make you go WOW. The beautiful hardware, a display that pops, voice input, live wallpaper, the notification panel, Google Skymap and other apps which add on to the oohs and aahs.

Winner: Nexus One

Hardware

N900 loses out completely. Its heavy and clunky. I found it's physical QWERTY keyboard unusable. It has a wrongly placed lock/unlock screen 'hardware slider' and another button when pressed will give a slide to unlock on the screen.... Aaaargh. It has a TV out and a FM transmitter though.

iPhone is the best in this category. Looks hot. It has just one home button. Makes it simple.

Nexus One looks cool and feels good to hold but has no grip. It may easily slip out of your hands. Be careful when you point out your phone to the sky using Google Sky Map. Four hardware buttons and a roller ball makes it look complex. The four hardware buttons have a purpose and it helps a lot once you get used to them, but on Nexus they are not placed well. The touch areas are out of place and they get accidental pressed when I use the phone with one hand.

Winner: iPhone

Screen

All three phones have screens I don't have a crib about. N900 has a resistive touch screen which is very responsive and smooth unlike N97. Has kinetic scrolling, but no flick. Graphics are high end; I really like the way the home screen and menu transitions. Large touch friendly graphics so I dont make mistakes. Only bummer is that the phone is supposed to be used only on landscape mode. It becomes portrait mode only when the phone app opens. Can get really confused.

iPhone has the best responsive screen I've ever used.

However Nexus One has a Mmmuah screen display coz of its high resolution (480 x 800 pixels) AMOLED capacitive touchscreen. You have to see it to understand what I mean by the Mmmuah display. Its that good. But responsiveness is only next to iPhone. Flick scrolling is smoother and better than iPhone. Nexus has multi touch too. Also has long press which simulates the "right click menu" option.

Winner: Again Nexus One. It needs to work on the responsiveness part.

Activation

N900 doesn't need an Activation as such as its not tied in to any online service. But they have Settings all over the place. I got lost at times trying to search for some settings.

iPhone asked me to download iTunes first on my comp and then connect and activate. I dont use iTunes and forcing me to do all that made me really pissed. Think about it, you bought a phone but you need to wait till you download iTunes and then connect to see your phone working. iPhone has the simplest Settings though.

Nexus asked me to login with my google id and tada my contacts, calendar, gmail and everything got synced. Setting up work email was easier with a simple wizard. However work calendar didn't come in which was a bummer. I can get it if I sync my Outlook calendar with Google Calendar; but didnt do it. Nexus has an elaborate Settings screen but quite nicely grouped.

Winner: As a Google fan I will vote for Nexus for making my transition smooth.

To be continued...
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