Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Nokia N91 vs Nokia N80 (Updated)

Update: Mike has posted why he thinks these phones aren't very good. See below for his opinions and why (I think) he's wrong.


Informed speculation: The N91 is coming out probably in a week or 2 in the UK. The N80 should be out about a week after (I guess). Pre-ordering the N91 ranges from free on a £45 contract up to about £200 on a cheap contract, which should go down to £100 or less in a month or 2. The phones themselves can be pre-ordered for around £500. Both definately available on O2, most likely all other major networks too.

Random note: phones that are free on cheap contracts should sell for £100 to £150 on eBay fairly easily. That means you could upgrade to the best free phone they'll give you, sell it and buy a new phone sans-contract.

Features on N91 and N80:

  • Symbian 9.1 OS with S60 Ver 3
  • uPnp (easily stream stuff if you have the right software / hardware)
  • USB mass storage profile
  • Bluetooth 1.2 (I think; means no A2DP - Bluethooth headphones)
  • Wi-Fi 802.11g
  • FM radio
  • CPU around 300MHz (I think)
  • Super-cool web browser with zoom and other exciting stuff (e.g. find as you type, frames, loads more)
  • FOTA (Firmware Over The Air) which means the firmware can be upgraded free without going to a Nokia center. I think.

Nokia N91 better:
  • 4GB hard drive vs expensive miniSD (128MB, max 2GB) on N80! Very important
  • 3.5mm headphone jack built in vs needing in-line remote on N80
  • Music playback keys
  • Shiny metal chromeyness

Nokia N80 better:
  • 4x screen resolution (352x416) of N91 (176x208)! Very important
  • 3.2Mp camera vs 2.0Mp of N91 (and presumably better video recording too)
  • Front video conferencing (0.3MB, VGA) camera vs none on N91
  • Infra Red (IrDA; not really used much but may be useful for remote controlling stuff if it's CIR)
  • More world network frequencies (not that I'm going anywhere)
  • Black hotness (unless you get the grey one)

Other alternatives (phones with Wi-Fi)

  • Nokia E70:
  • Business phone with mostly same software as N80, not so good camera but has fold out keyboard.
  • HTC Universal: Very feature-rich phone with everything you could want (tho only 1.3Mp camera) but is a huge brick.
  • Nokia N92: Just about every feature of N80. Slightly smaller resolution but larger size screen. Includes DVB-H for TV reception. Takes SD. Is a bit bigger. Won't be out for longer.
  • Sony Ericsson P990i: Touchscreen, silly keyboard though.
Ogg support
New Symbian S60 v3 phones don't seem to support ogg (vorbis) audio ou tof the box, even though they support AAC, WMA and MP3. Older Symbian phones can play ogg fiels with OggPlay, which has a codec for ogg so any audio program can play them. As far as I'm aware this does not exist for the latest S60 platform. Hopefully someone will write a codec for ogg on Symbian v3 soon.

N80 reviews:
http://www.sotovik.ru/catalog/reviews/Nokia_N80-2-rev.html

Update:
Mike's words are in grey (sometimes smaller when he goes off on a rant :-). My replies are black. View his post, which he copied from me without linking! Naughty Mike.

Symbian:
Like all phones before them they have an operating system.
All phones have an OS, but Symbian is very open - you can develop your own applications which use phone features very easily. Like Java but simpler (IMO) and can actually do phone stuff (e.g. access phone databases).

uPNP:
Rather specific don’t you think?
Not useful now as nothing supports it but it will prob be as common as Bluetooth soon + be very useful. Maybe not this year. Soon it will tho. Open spec for sending data to other devices.

Bluetooth:
Bluetooth is kind of useful for sending pictures and stuff between mobiles but I cannot remember the last time I used it.
I use it lots. Fair enough if you don't. I like the way phone manufacturers give us the option though.

GPRS vs Wi-Fi:
Do you need ultra fast internet on a phone? Current GPRS technology allows for quick download of text based news on my mobile and that is all I really need it for.
GPRS is very slow and limits you to text or small images. I want to send the 3MP photos I take to a server. I want to download TV episodes onto my phone. Wi-Fi also means you can access the Internet free at home. Also means you can transfer music to / from phones / computers very quickly. Finally, when VoIP gets bigger phones which support it will be huge sellers due to the 0-price calls.

FM radio:
I have FM radio on my phone!! Never used it though because you have to carry the silly headphones around.
Not particularly useful but I've never had one in a phone.

Processor:
Reasonable processer- the XDA 2 managed 400 Mhz but that was more of a mini computer rather than a electronic swiss army knife.
Symbian is more lightweight than Win Mobile so needs less CPU. Symbian phones are computers. Possibly more so than Win Mob.

Web browser:
Just download Opera [mini]. Does everything you shall ever need.
Opera mini is cool but doesnt have many features. I want videos, downloads, RSS, large web pages, java script and lots more. Ooh, streaming too. Opera mobile has more features than Opera mini but is slower.

FOTA:
Why would you have to go to a Nokia centre to download firmware can you not just get it online? Or is that the name of the Nokia website? If it is the first point I raised then it is another reason not to get a Nokia.
SE do this already Nokia are just starting. That means these phones having it is a good thing.

Nokia N91 hard drive:
Oh the joys of hard drives. I know you know what I am going to say and I know what you are going to say in return. Ease to break. Then you tell me how the N80 has passed XXX number of tests back at the Nokia factory which is a useless fact. Testing in the factory and testing in real life are completely different things. (Here comes the ubiquitous F1 comment). F1 engines are put through thousands of miles of simulations on the dyno back at the factory to simulate track conditions. However, 9 times out of 10, when they come to actually track test them they only manage 20 laps before exploding in a fiery mess. Given that a F1 engine manufacture spends $150 million just on producing 18 race engines (1 engine for each 2 GP’s) you would think they would be able to produce an excellent engine. Nokia however likely spend less on development per phone and therefore it should not be assumed that they are not fragile in the right conditions. And yes I do know that the N80 is not an engine and should not be compared to one but it is a just point and well made I believe.
The hard drive may make it more fragile but I bet it'll be less fragile than your SE K750i. I believe you have a Creative Zen with an older version of the same hard drive. Is that broken?

Clock-pen mp3-phone:
A very nice feature but I personally don’t listen to music on my phone for one reason- the clock pen! The clock pen combines two great things, a clock and a pen, into one device and it ends up being a heavy and horrible pen and a useless clock. The same can be said for any device which tries to take on more than one purpose- the device will usually do the task but not as well as a device that was designed specifically for just that purpose. In your case however it would make more sense as you don’t have a MP3 player, or not a very large one at least.
The thing is about the N91 is that the MP3 playing functionality is actually better than a Zen or iPod. More file formats, more expandability, more output, even better sound quality (seriously, check the SNR ratios). Anyway, don't you use your phone for SMS and photos? That's convergence. You accept that now, you'll probably accept that phones play MP3s sometime...

Music playback keys:
Very useful. Nothing more boring than having to go into the software to try and change track etc.
They both have music keys on the remote so it's not a big deal really, just slightly nicer on the N91.

Scratchyness:
But could it scratch easy? Don’t tell me it has been factory tested. Do they happen to test using it on the way back from Arena at 2am in the morning when you manage to scrape it against a wall?
It's just as resiliant as any other phone. Have you scraped yours on the wall coming back from Arena?

Small screen:
In terms of looking at pictures it makes a big difference but for video why bother on such a smaller screen, just end up hurting your eyes.
It may hurt your eyes but it doesn't hurt mine. I don't know why. Maybe I'm just lucky. The DS has a small screen.

Camera:
It is the clock-pen argument again. But now we are talking about 3 features in one. I have generally been impressed with the pics on my K750i but they are nowhere near as good as I would expect from a similarly spec’d digital camera.
It's because they can't fit / afford high quality lenses in them. Carl Zeiss lenses are coming soon. Much nicer.

VGA video conferencing phone:
Might as well have no conferencing as 0.3MB is weak. My XDA 2 was 0.3MB so I should know.
This is only for 3G video calls. It's the same resolution as your webcam.

Infra Red:
They still making IR?
Not used very much at all now. Still used on many laser printers in offices. Also lots of keyboards use IR because it uses lower power. TV remotes also use IR, so the N80 could be programmed to work with any TV / DVD player etc.

Entering this domain of knowledge is an unwise move for me, just as if you entered the F1 domain- I would bring the smack down swiftly. I do think though that there is a lot of silly stuff that should not be on phones, like infra red, video conferencing and whatever this uPnp is! Take my advice and avoid the N91- hard drive will break.

These phones are better than than many of the devices they converge upon. It's also easier than taking 2+ devices.

6 comments:

SemiLOOSE said...

isnt it simple...

its just a question of what you want,

n91 is a music player
n80 is "office" functions

if u dont have an mp3 player get the n91, if u do get the n80

David Hulbert said...

The question is simple but the answer isnt. Ideally I want both. I can't really decide between them.

I have a very cheap 256mb MP3 player.

I think if large miniSD cards are affordable then I'll definately go for the N80. I can put up with the lack of headphone socket and music keys. I mainly just want the storage.

If only phones worked with USB memory sticks. Ideally wirelessly. Or USB host.

Hannah said...

Good grief you people are boring... No offence!

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