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 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.