Okay, so - I had been wanting to see what all the noise was about the iPhone. On my personal maiden voyage to London, I came across the iPod Touch. I’d heard it’s practically the same thing and since it was so cheap, I purchased it. So, I have now been carrying iPod Touch and my Nokia 5800 in my pocket for a good four weeks. Then I got the idea to review them against eachother, so here it goes; a comparison of Nokia 5800 and iPod Touch/iPhone, based on my personal experience.
What can’t be compared
Can’t compare that which is missing from the iPod Touch for it to qualify as a modern phone. This includes:
- Messaging (SMS, MMS)
- Calling (GSM etc.)
- GPRS, EDGE and 3G1
- A camera
I don’t want to go deep into the technical specs, so you can scoop the precise details about the display (and everything else) some place else. Instead, I want to focus on my personal User Experiences with the display.
In a sunny weather, while playing with the iPod Touch, I could actually see what was on screen! Cool! Nokia 5800’s screen does a really bad job in sunlight. It will show me almost nothing, and finding the angle where I can read the display is hard.
Other than that, can’t say anything about the display.
Music and Videos
They’re equal. No advantages one side or the other. The UIs and conventions used are pretty similar, user of one should be fairly familiar with the other. Only minor hick-up I had here was with iPod Touch:
Adding songs to a playlist was a new experience for me on the iPod Touch. First you have to select or create the playlist and after that select the songs, artist or what not you want to add to your playlist. I was used to the convention from popular computer music players, where you right-click a song and select «Add to playlist», which was how I did it on 5800. iPod Touch doesn’t work like that, so you will have to do some learning.
5800 has the functionality to work the same way iPod Touch does with playlist – which by the way is way more efficient, because you will do a lot less tapping when you first select the playlist instead of selecting the playlist a bazillion times – but I didn’t know about it until after I’d seen the way iPod Touch did it. 2
App Store is Apple’s store for iPhone and iPod Touch apps. It’s user friendly and bulking with apps, from fart machines to full-fledged navigators. The applications are easy to install and the experience is a breeze. Click install, watch it install itself and start the application (or go back to App Store for more). It’s so easy, I filled a whopping five screens full of apps in two days having the iPod Touch – most of them free. Altogether I’ve spent around 12 euros on App Store and had very much fun spending it! (Yes, fun!)
Ovi Store is trying to keep up with App Store, walking behind, stumbling a bit. The UI is at places confusing and has a few usability issues; because I use Ovi quite rarely, I always forget where the Ovi’s search is. I then try to find it, but it always takes a while because the search box is not distinct enough.
App Store makes it easy to install apps and Ovi Store tries to follow this philosophy, but doesn’t quite reach it. The installers pop-up a lot of questions and requests for permission to “install"Â or "access this and that"Â. It’s quite frustrating when you just want to test a load of apps.
Apart from Ovi, the S60 developer community has scattered all over the Internet and it’s not easy to find the best apps for 5800. Because most of them never reached Ovi Store and probably never will. So, you have to find the sites which will help you with that – my favorites are All About Symbian and Daily Mobile.
User Experience & touch UI
This is the most important part. So, I’ll make it short and sweet. iPod absolutely kicks the 5800 out of the ballpark. I’ve ranked the problems/irritations with 5800 as so:
- Complex, sluggish and non-touch friendly overall design - the S60 3rd legacy as I’ll call it. It’s as if they slapped a touch sensitive screen on top of S60 3rd, put it in and sent the phone to retailers in a nice box
- Choppy and laggy UI, unable to keep up with almost any finger movement or presses. Scrolling in Ovi Store for example is choppy
- Scrollbars, scrollbars, scrollbars. Only scrollbars to scroll the contents. For the love of god, there are better options than scrollbars for portable touch devices
- No kinetic scrolling (a.k.a. flick scrolling) at all
- Copy and pasting. It’s a drag to use. You need a stylus or something sharper (a knife) to use it efficiently
- Stylus is gay
- S60 5th feels like a platform for a phone with a keypad
- Unresponsive touchscreen. Requires way too much force. Loses connection with my finger, especially while dragging, making it skip or stop until I start dragging again more slowly and with more force
- Zooming. Various apps on the 5800 have various ways of zooming. Some have a slider for zooming, many zoom in and out by double tapping, but in the end, zooming feels very choppy and slow on the 5800
- Can’t reach the edges of the screen with your finger. I hate bringing up the stylus and I hate using it and I have to sometimes to reach the edge of the touch display
- Millions of useless questions and queries. Millions of finger taps counting up to moments wasted answering and selecting things I shouldn’t have to ("Opening a secure connection. Continue?” - I don’t care if it’s more secure, show the damn page with a lock icon already!)
- Development. The only sensible way to develop for S60 is with Symbian C++ and it’s freaking horrible.
- Email. The email client which comes with the 5800 is horrid. Nokia Messaging makes up for it, but crashes a lot and is generally very unresponsive.
Update: Especially points 1 and 2 here are important. It’s a touch phone and the resistive screen is utter crap, the touch screen acts as if I was operating it through a layer of cheese.
The iPod Touch/iPhone UI (the iPhone OS) has pretty much none of these issues. But what issues does it have? Well.
Where the 5800 triumphs
Every step up to this point, I kept thinking I’m pretty much just stomping on the 5800 heavy. Luckily, there are areas where the 5800 truly shines, which I’m proud to list here:
- Stand-by screen. Nokia’s phones have always had highly efficient stand-by screens with lots of info to quickly glance at (S60 legacy)
- Flash Lite. Sometimes, I need to see some flash bits while surfing the web, and when I do, I mean I really need to
- Camera. [Going into iPhone territory here, but iPhone 3G has a lousy camera and 5800 has a somewhat more decent one (I love Carl Zeiss)
- No artificial blocks. [iPhone territory]: The iPhone is locked to a specific carrier
- Input methods. The 5800 has four input methods: alpha-numeric keypad (with or without T9), mini qwerty, landscape qwerty and hand-writing
- Options. The input methods are a great example of the options the 5800 offers. The 5800 has options hidden underneath almost every stone you turn over
- 3rd party multi-tasking. 5800 supports full multi-tasking, where as the iPod Touch/iPhone only allows specific apps to be run in the background 3
- Removable battery. I’ve never bought new batteries for any of my phones 4, so I wouldn’t go blasting my guns about this one, but hey.. a win is a win!
- No iTunes. iTunes is horrible
What about the N97 ?From what I’ve heard and experienced:
- The bigger 3.5 inch screen really helps tapping those little buttons and scrolling them scrollbars
- QWERTY is nice and contrary to all the d-pad nay saying, I liked it
- Great camera
- Still same S60 5th edition crap
Software is where my game is at
Of all the phones I’ve had (all Nokias: 3110, 3210, 6110, 6150, N-Gage, N80, N73, 5800) the 5800 is probably the best of the pack. But since I got the iPod Touch, I’m thinking the grass might actually be greener on the other side. Lame, but feels so true. I would say, that based on my experience with the iPod Touch, iPhone is much better than the 5800 (and probably N97 too).
This is a fact - but it’s a fact I wish would change. Nokia has previously been an interesting company and I would love to see a touch screen smart phone from Nokia with Nokiaesque specs and a proper User Experience - and some Nokia InnovationTM. Nokia really hasn’t been innovating lately.
The specs are there for the 5800, but the phone software and the apps surely are not. And software is where my game is at. I require good software.
A friend of mine has been telling me that I shouldn’t get an iPhone based on these premises. He had one and he says it does not function well as a phone. But phone is not what I want. What I want is A device, that can do Skype, Messenger, Facebook, Twitter, has a proper email client & browser, plays music & videos AND doesn’t make me want to stab myself in the knee while using it. Oh, and also has to have a lot of cool software made by inspiring designers and developers! So what I want is essentially a mini computer with a good UI.
For the time being, I’m set on browsing the App Store for more great software, using the great piece of software that is iPhone OS and raising money for an iPhone 3GS – a well presented and capable miniature computer - aren’t I right ?
@Nokia get your game together, damn it, and start innovating again! Spend more money on UX design!
- I wanted 3G on the iPod Touch so bad that I got JoikuSpot for the 5800 and served 3G over Wi-Fi for the iPod Touch – it ate the 5800’s battery whole in around 3 hours
- There is only one way to do this on the iPod Touch/iPhone and at least two different ways on the 5800. The one way iPod Touch/iPhone does it is more efficient and smarter in my opinion, but you should not limit the user’s options, bad Apple
- These apps are: Mail, Safari, Music player and some others I can’t remember. Never been an issue for me with the iPod Touch, all the apps save their state upon exit
- Exception to the rule: when I bought the N-Gage, I dropped the battery somewhere on the way from the store to the car, while unboxing and couldn’t find it anywhere, so I had to buy one (found the original a few days after)