Monday, May 4, 2009

the rundown on 5800 and the iPhone ( 5800 vs iPhone )

The two phones are an amazing piece of technology which are both unbeatable in their own class. So there is actually no real choice between the two as they both cater to people of different needs. While the 5800 may bowl one over with amazing usability and versatility, but then, when it comes to looks, ease of use and the style factor, not to mention the respect that comes with the "i", there is simply no match for the iPhone ( and may not be one in the near future )

With that out of the way, there are many difference in the two and I'm going to highlight the things that really matter to me :

Why 5800 is better than iPhone :

Pricing :  At 32,00 INR the iPhone is almost double the moolah you pay for the Nokia 5800

Input : The 5800 features multi-input methods like single handed ( alphanumeric ), double handed ( full qwerty ) , plectrum ( mini qwerty ) and stylus ( handwriting )
  The handwriting recognition really works and has since become my preferred choice of input because of its unmatched speed and accuracy. This is the first phone where handwriting recognition is actually a viable method of input and not just a fancy show piece.

Screen : The screen is admittedly smaller than iPhone, but by a mere 0.3 inches, But where the 5800 shines is in having excellent resolution ( 1.5 times the number of pixels as compared to the iPhone). What this translates to is ofcourse - breathtaking video playback !!

GPS : The GPS is not restricted to just online maps. You got preloaded maps with realtime voice assisted navigation . You can also see the raw GPS data. Not to mention third party applications which can tap into the GPS allowing you to make best use of the phone GPS in a number of applications like tracker, exercise manager and much more.

Camera : The camera features a higher MP rating. Though the major improvement is the dual-LED flash, video recording and secondary camera for video calling and self portraits. Also a Carl-Zeiss lens results in highly quality images ( Albeit, only in sufficient light scenarios ).  Sadly, the iPhone doesn't even support video recording.

Video / Audio Playback : Support for a large variety of formats ( which can be easily extended by third party software ).  Stereo FM is also supported. And as mentioned, the video playback is simply superb.

Ringtones : I can use mp3 files as ringtones, even video ringtones are supported. And I can also simply copy some files from my PC and use my own ringtones. This really beats the iPhone hands down where I have to pay to download new ringtones.

Bluetooth : The bluetooh functionality of the 5800 is very extended as compared to iPhone as it can be used to send files, vCard data ( contact information), supports stereo headsets, and i can also use it as a modem.

Memory : 5800 has a small inbuilt memory but comes with a 8gb external memory card which can be easily upgraded.  The iPhone has the option of 8 or 16 gb, but no upgrade options available. The memory can also be used as a mass storage device to store your files upon, which is not possible in the iPhone

Other factors : The 5800 can be connected to a TV via the supplied AV out cables which is totally cool.
Also the support for 3rd party software is unparalled . This is further strengthened with the fact that the 5800 is binary compatible with Nokia's s60 v3 software.

Where the 5800 sucks :
( Why the iPhone is still the ruler )

  • The camera may support a higher resolution, but the camera is quite noisy in low light situations. The noise is reduced in the latest firmware upgrades, but it is still a standing issue.
  • The iPhone can be easily synced with your PC's music library, an experience which is not so good when it comes to the 5800. 
  • The 5800 may be binary compatible with s60v3 software, but then such software is not optimized for use with a touch UI and can be a pain to use at times. 
  • The 5800 available in India is a crippled one with certain features missing like sharing online with flickr and ovi.
  • The battery life of 5800 is extremely short. If you plan to use the GPS as a navigation tool, don't even dream to do it without a car charger. Although the claimed music playback time in 5800 is almost 10 hrs more than the iPhone, but then  you are not going to be doing nothing but listen to music for 34 hrs!!!In fact, the only point where the battery of 5800 excels compared to the iPhone is in the fact that it is replaceable, so you could carry spare(s) in case of a long outing.
     ( As pointed out by Shikar, this may be a one-off problem with my battery, So standby while I check it out )
  • The user interface doesn't seem optimized for touch usage and as such it feels bit odd navigating around the phone especially with the double taps required at certain points. In comparison, the navigation in the iPhone is a breeze.
  • The looks of the phone and the UI both could use a makeover.
The verdict :
Does the Nokia 5800 Xpressmusic dominate over the all-powerful iPhone.
It's a resounding NO,
 but Nokia with it advanced features and high availability of 3rd party extensions clearly dominates certain fields and as such with a few minor improvements like a better streamlined UI, cleaner camera ( image stability or maybe a larger surface area of CCD), and a reworked battery ; it would really take over the iPhone.