The Nokia N8 v Nokia C7 Debate

The Nokia N8 has been available for just two weeks and there’s already a new Symbian^3 handset that’s hitting the market in the form of the C7. Both of them run the same OS, share the same guts and are priced pretty near to each other. So if you are in the market for a new Nokia, which one should you be looking at?

The Nokia N8 v Nokia C7 Debate

What’s same:

  • The internals. Both devices have the same processor, GPU, pentaband chips and so on. This means that there will be no performance differences between them.
  • They also share similar capacitive touchscreens which are roughly 3.5″ in size.
  • They also have the same 1200 mAh BL-5K battery, which in the C7’s case is user replaceable.

What’s different:

  • NFC. The C7 has some hidden hardware. It packs a NFC chip that the N8 doesn’t, but as of now its just lying there serving no purpose. May be a future firmware enables it, but considering the fact that there won’t be many NFC use cases in the near future, its not a major win for the C7 in my book.
  • Dimensions. The C7 is also slimmer at 117.3 x 56.8 x 10.5 mm compared to the N8’s 113.5 x 59 x 12.9 mm. Its also lighter by 5 grams, 135 g on the N8 to the C7’s 130 g. This might not seem much, but the C7 does feel a lot thinner in the hand and the pocket bulge is virtually non existent. That being said, the N8 has reasonable dimensions itself and feels great to hold in the hand. Plus the metallic feel adds a premium element to it.
  • HDMI. The C7 is also missing the N8’s HDMI out slot. It still features the ability to use TV-out via the 3.5mm jack.
  • Price. The Nokia C7 is just about 3000-3500 INR ($70-80) cheaper than the N8 in the real world and that’s as far as Nokia can probably push the price difference on bill of material costs alone. The only major things they save on are the camera module, HDMI port and the part plastic construction as both phones have practically the same guts.
  • Storage. The C7 comes with 8GB on inbuilt storage, compared to the 16GB on the N8. Both have support for microSD cards of upto 32GB.

Camera:

  • The real toss-up for most people would be whether to go for a slightly cheaper, thinner C7 with its 8 Megapixel EDOF camera or pay a little more for the metallic N8 with its best in class 12MP auto-focus camera. EDOF stands for extended depth of field, this means that most images taken from the C7 will be in perfect focus provided you are not taking close-up shots. It will also mean that the shot to shot time on the C7 will be pretty good because the camera is not having to focus everytime you take a shot. More on EDOF cameras by Nokia’s camera boss Damian Dinning right here.
  • Both devices shoot video in 720P HD at 25 frames a second and the quality should be comparable. But because the N8 has an auto-focus camera, it is possible that future firmware updates or even hacks bring the ability to focus during video capture at objects up-close. The C7 will never be able to do this.

If you are not going to be taking pictures of documents or other objects placed close to the camera, the C7 will do just fine. It doesn’t have the N8’s wide angle lens or huge sensor so don’t expect great shots in low light but compared to the competition, the C7 will do just fine.

Personal Observations:

Having played with both devices, I may be one of the few people in the world who doesn’t like the C7’s design too much. Based on that alone, I would pick the N8. Its far better looking, feels great in the hand, because of the aluminum has greater resistance to scratches and in black looks outright classy. The C7 with its slightly plastic design and plentiful curves isn’t bad, but why get the second best, when you can have the N8. That being said, if you like the way the C7 looks, feel free to ignore this paragraph, the C7 too, after-all does feel solid in the hand.

The Nokia N8 v Nokia C7 Debate

To sum up, lets see what does the extra $70-80 get you:

  • A far superior camera, capable of some great results.
  • HDMI out, turning your smartphone into a virtual DVD/Blueray player replacement. Not to mention the Dolby support.
  • Premium design in an aluminum construction.
  • An extra 8GB of onboard storage.

In my book, all of those together are easily worth the extra money. No point compromising for such a small price difference. It is only when the difference reaches about $120 that you should weight your options, otherwise the N8 wins, hands down.

23 thoughts on “The Nokia N8 v Nokia C7 Debate”

  1. Hi Vaibhav,

    Thanks for this comparison. But I heard that C7 has a new display tech called Clear Black Display. Is it also available on N8. If not could you comment on the difference

    Sai

  2. The C7 reminds me of the E71, which now feels a bit outdated in look and so I don’t find it to look to special either.

  3. I’m struggling with the same problem. I think that the price difference between the two devices (C7 & N8) is just too low.

    Here’s a few more advantages of the N8 for your list what can extra 70$ get you. N8’s sales package* includes some thing that the C7’s sales package does not include:
    -The N8 comes with better earphones
    -The N8 has a cable for USB OTG
    -Adapter cable for HDMI (N/A for C7 but C7’s sales package doesn’t include a connectivity cable for TV which in my opinion would be somewhat equivalent with the HDMI adapter cable)
    -N8 comes with a longer USB-micro USB cable ๐Ÿ™‚

    ((Ok, I admit it. These things are not that important – especially the last one on the list. But if you would for example need a cable for USB OTG for your C7, that’s 10$ extra. What’s your opinion?))

    I don’t buy a new phone that often so I’m actually pretty interested of the C7’s NFC chip. Maybe in a year or so it might actually have some use. But is it really worth when considering the advantages that the N8 brings? Maybe the price difference is just too low…

    *at least in Europe

  4. The review pretty much concentrates solely on the hardware. I mean, it’s a good comparison, on the hardware.

    But, are there differences in the shipped software?

  5. There are many errors in this article. For example the N8 uses the Nokia BL-4D battery. The C7 uses the BL-5K. Both batteries have 3.7V and 1200mAh.

    Additionally the C7 has a larger phone memory (350 MB vs. 135 MB in N8) and a larger NAND memory (1 GB vs. 512 MB in N8).

  6. > Both devices shoot video in 720P HD at 25 frames a second and the quality should be comparable.

    I really don’t think you can say that. I think the N8 will be clear stand out winner in video as well as stills shots, due to the much better lens, camera module, firmware etc. We know how much work went into the N8’s camera module by Dinning and the team. That work did not go into the C7, or any other device ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. In India at 3K or 3.5K difference between the two phones, especially in the 20K to 25K price band, I don’t think why anyone would even think about the C7.

    NFC? Come on, we don’t even have 3G yet ( coming next week though ) and good use of NFC is still over a year or two away. N8 wins by a huge margin if you ask me.

  8. c7 has more rom than n8 also phone storage memory is 350 whereas n8 as 135. whats your say on that.
    apart from Camera and design C7 equals N8 & perhaps exceeds in the memory department

  9. @richs

    Phone memory (C:) and ROM (Z:) are not as important features as RAM (D:) and internal storage (E:)

    Nice that C7 has 350mb on C:, but that’s actually not needed. Most of your stuff is on E: anyway or on the memory card. ROM, you won’t even have to bother about it.

    “C7 equals N8 & perhaps exceeds in the memory department”

    No, N8 has 16gb inbuilt, and C7 only 8gb. So N8 wins even here.

  10. thks manoj for the info,
    but does this assure that lack of nand and C drive mem on N8 will not affect its performance as compared to C7.

    kindly revert, as i’m supposed to choose between these two phones.

  11. Nokia N8 Vs Nokia C7 Vs Nokia E7

    If you are going to buy a fully loaded Nokia Smart Phone with the latest technologies, we will help you to compare these Smart Phones including the Price. If you buy any of these phones without knowing the features of the device, it may make regret in you. If we buy Nokia Smart Phones among them without any comparison between them, sometimes by giving a little amount more, you will get the most technology in the device.
    Here we consider Nokia N8, Nokia C7 and Nokia E7 models which are available around Rs. 20000 INR. Nokia N8 is more power full by its 12MP Camera with HD recording in the most ever clarity in camera given by Nokia. If you do not consider the few thousands more from C7 and E7, then itโ€™s better for you. You can get the extreme in this device.
    If you are looking for a bigger screen size then Nokia E7 may be your choice it has 4 inch wide display which is too large enough to handle, but the other two handsets are easy to handle and have wide display of 3.5 inches (not wider than Nokia E7). Nokia E7 is a business Smart Phone where as Nokia N8 is fully enabled for entertainment. You get a 4 inches wide display at low cost among these Smart Phones.

    more at http://tm-in.blogspot.com/2010/11/nokia-n8-vs-nokia-c7-vs-nokia-e7.html

  12. Aircel To Launch 3G In Jan 2010
    Telecom service operator Aircel is planing to launch its 3G services across India in 13 circles. They have license of 3G spectrum got 13 out of the 22 circles all over India this year. Other operators like Tata Docomo become the first private operator to provide 3G services in India over 9 circles on this Diwali. Later Barati Airtel also launched at the end of 2010.

    Aircel has got 13 circles including Delhi (Metro), Mumbai (Metro), Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh , Maharashtra & Goa, Rajasthan , Punjab, UP (West) and UP (East) in the 3G auction held this year.

    more at http://tm-in.blogspot.com/2010/11/aircel-to-launch-3g-in-jan-2010_24.html

  13. dont buy the n8 , it have a lot of problem , power problems , c7 is the best , buy c7 im going to get its same sym^3

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