Nokia N97 vs. iPhone 3GS

Nokia N97 vs. iPhone 3GS

A lot of people will be asking this question, Nokia N97 or iPhone 3GS? But for S60 addicts like me and I believe, like most of the people visiting this site, the choice will be clear, Nokia N97! Although in more cases this seems to be a predefined choice, I think that it will be good to compare the two phones and see what are the advantages and disadvantages of each mobile phone.

So here is a quick walk through the appearance, form, features like connectivity, image/video capturing and software for the two mobile phones that will be on the wish list of many people around the world.

Appearance and form

Compared, the two phones are not that much different when it comes to style, both look really good and if image is the main concern when buying a phone, the battle will be tight. On the other hand the iPhone 3GS is thinner, but wider from the Nokia N97, lets not forget that the N97 has a slide out keyboard versus the on-screen keyboard.

Since both phones have 3.5'' displays having the keyboard out of the display helps a lot and improves writing speed significantly. I am not saying that there is something wrong with the on-screen keyboard, but a physical keyboard has it's advantages when it comes to writing emails and chatting with friends.
Having both phones in your hand, you will find the iPhone 3GS lighter, weighting 135g, while the Nokia N97 weights 15g more, rounding it up to 150g.

Hardware and specs

Although both the iPhone 3GS and the Nokia N97 have 3.5'' displays the resolutions is quite different. Nokia boosts 360x640 pixels, while the iPhone 3GS has a 320x480 display. The visual difference you will notice when using these devices is that the iPhone has a more natural image, but the N97 has a sharper cleaner image and a bigger resolution.

Powered by different operating systems, the needs for memory are different on both phones but anyway, the Nokia N97 has 128 MB RAM and 32GB internal memory, the iPhone 3GS has 256MB RAM and 32GB internal memory, twice as much as the Nokia.

The talk time on the iPhone is up to 12 hours and up to 300 hours of standby time. The N97 has up to 10 hours of talk time and up to 432 hours of stand by. But as you know the real time you have depends on how much you use the extras like Wi-Fi, MP3 and video playback , the quality of the network signal of your carrier and many other factors.

Both phones have a built in accelerometer, a proximity sensor and an ambient light sensor. The GPS capabilities of the phones are a bit different. While both of them have a built in GPS receiver on the iPhone 3GS you can use only Google Maps for now. The Nokia N97 built on the S60 platform gives you more choice when it comes to GPS and maps. Starting with the preinstalled Nokia Maps (Ovi Maps from recently) and finishing with a few commercial navigational software systems like Route 66 and Garmin Mobile XT.


Both phones have USB, GPRS, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g, Bluetooth, HSDPA and 3G capabilities. The difference is that the HSDPA on the iPhone 3GS goes up to 7.2 Mbps while on N97 it goes up to 3.6 Mbps and the Bluetooth version on the 3GS is 2.1 vs. 2.0 with with A2DP on N97. Also the Wi-Fi on the Nokia N97 supports UPnP.

Camera and video recording

This is where the Nokia N97 shines. Having a 5 megapixel camera (2584x1938) with Dual LED flash on the back and a secondary front VGA camera for video calls the iPhone 3GS with its 3 megapixel camera (2048x1536) and no flash, feels a bit inferior. Although in broad daylight there is not a big advantage to the N97, in night photos and in darker places when using the Dual LED flash the Nokia shows much better image quality. Also because of the bigger resolution of the sensor, the videos recorded on the N97 are a bit better then the iPhone 3GS.

Software and conclusion

This is a battle between the operating systems, the S60 5th edition vs the iPhone OS 3.0. There are a lot of things that can be said on this subject but in order to keep this article short we will mention a few keypoints only. The visual experience is better on the iPhone 3GS with all the effects, the Nokia N97 is a bit more conservative here. The built in browser on the iPhone provides better browsing experience, but the S60 browser is not far behind and it has a big advantage, you can see Flash. The choice of third party browsers available for the S60 platform opens new horizons for the N97.

The most important thing is that if you are not comfortable with the preinstalled software on the Nokia N97 you can easily find 3rd party applications that will do the job the way you like it. Unfortunately this is not the case with the iPhone 3GS even with all the software being written as we speak, the S60 platform as an older one, provides simply more choice.

I am not going to tell you which phone to choose, but personally I am a fan of the S60 platform and the Nokia N97 beeing one of the best phones built on this platform is a logical choice. On the other hand I must confess that I am impressed by the interface and all the effects on the iPhone 3GS, which make the phone fun to use. It makes me think that it is time for Nokia to start thinking a bit less conservative and make the mobile phones built on the S60 platform a bit more fun to use, especially the NSeries.

Read more on Nokia N97:




Found under: Nokia N97 or iPhone 3GS, Nokia N97, iPhone 3GS, Nokia N97 vs. iPhone 3GS

Nokia N97 vs. iPhone 3GS - permalink
Published on 21.06.2009 in Symbian Freeware Blog

Comments: Nokia N97 vs. iPhone 3GS

Posted by David on Friday, June 26, 2009 01:07
The real difference from S60 to iPhone 3G OS is that although the design of the user interface is more intuitive on the iPhone, I must say that it lacks one big features, the background processes which are deal breaker for me. So for now I will stick with S60 and Nokia
Posted by Dimitris on Sunday, June 28, 2009 22:21
Personal opinion is that iPhone is much more easy to use and has better design and it is more touch friendly then the Nokia, but as far as I am concerned the N97 looks more like a phone that a man would have while the iPhone is more feminine.
Posted by Boris on Wednesday, August 26, 2009 07:12
Hmmm.. there are numerous (over 7) different satnav apps for the iphone! The iphone OS platform in general has many more apps than does the S60 platform, with many more big software companies now producing iphone OS software, which is an important advantage!
Posted by axzzin on Sunday, November 01, 2009 02:33
if you are an internet addict, you should have the iphone, its faster than n97... but if you like more phone applications, games, multimedia things, better get the n97. it has a lot of uses...
Posted by llvllastel2 on Friday, November 13, 2009 19:26
The iphone is the best will always be the best even the 2g is better than any phone taht will ever come out zoom into ur pics
Posted by kc on Friday, January 15, 2010 08:29
hmm... To me, internet experience is pretty important for a phone. Safari is cool, but not as cool when it comes to flashlite support, not talking about flash. Not too cool especially when there's third party browsers for nokia like skyfire which the beta is already out for n97. Don't really fancy apples, got a macbook, but ironically, I cannot really use it if I don't run vista with parallel desktop. Beautiful interface, but not too practical.. Sorry Steve...
Posted by kc on Friday, January 15, 2010 08:36
As for best phone, although I do not think n97 is the best, it's not iphone either... I think talking about the best phone, if n900 claims itself to be the second best, iphone wouldn't have the guts to claim the champion would it? =X
Posted by Jos on Friday, January 22, 2010 10:17
See you conveniently left out the 833Mhz iPhone processor vs the meagre 434Mhz processor in the Nokia!!! and the Nokia is just lightyears away in terms of UI and touchscreen functionality.
Posted by bez on Wednesday, February 24, 2010 10:33
my problem is purely the apps. I teach guitar for a living and cant find any decent apps to compare with iphones guitar toolkit. Nokia has one on ovi called tunerific. Paid 8 pounds for it and it doesnt do the job properly. The chords are limited to one version of each etc. Does anyone know any sites outside of ovi where i might find a host of good apps for n97. Feel free to email me at
Posted by pete on Friday, April 23, 2010 07:54
Who wrote this? Nokia?
Posted by Icr on Thursday, May 27, 2010 18:57
I hope Nokia won't listen to your last phrase. Some people don't want a fun device, as if it were made by Playskool. They want something professional. Professional devices are not fancy, not cute, not fun. They are powerful only.
Posted by jeki dogzi on Sunday, May 08, 2011 08:13
i think nokia has creat incridible phone like c6 great application, themes, and nice wifi connection but it should have a high unti virus for its phones so keep on creating great performance phone
Posted by Jack Benton on Tuesday, July 05, 2011 09:04
Can you use both of the phones to browse PTC sites or any other online internet business apart from Facebook and email
Posted by Nizam Uddin on Saturday, March 24, 2012 11:27
Nokia N97 and Iphone is very goo for net in pak
Posted by Margarita on Tuesday, December 30, 2014 12:02
- Icon design is an imontrapt factor that comes into if I want to download an app or not it has to be eye catching but something that wouldn't look out of place on the start screen (metro is preferable) the icon should also have a transparent background so that the user feels that the app is more personal.- The marketplace provides a good way of advertisement itself with the panorama image that is chosen from the featured section. This depends on how good your app is and then you can enter for promotion and then when you get featured you get a random chance of being the background of the panorama- Facebook is a fantastic advertising platform for everything if someone likes your app then all of their friends will see that their friend has liked it and may check it out, seeing how most people have over 200 friends this is big advertising for free.
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Oh Lord. I don't know what to do as I have Lots of work to do next week semester. Plus the university exams are coming, it will be a torture. I am already freaking out maybe I should Contact to calm down a little bit. Hopefully it will all go well. Wish me luck.
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