Nokia N8 vs N900 or Symbian vs Maemo Pt2

Back in November 2009, I purchased a Nokia N900. Today still thinks it’s a good device and is listing it at $549, $150 more than the Nokia N8 and $60 more than the Nokia E7. Even the cheapest new one in the market place is $499.

In many ways it’s a shame that Nokia didn’t release more Maemo devices, and to use an Elop phrase, Nokia made a big bet on Symbian. So today, in 2011, could I in honesty, recommend someone pays $499 or more on a one off device like the N900 over an N8 or an E7?

This is the second of two posts on this and I’ll be comparing the the N900 and N8 hardware. Part one is here.

Hardware (N900 vs N8)

N8 and N900


The N900 is a bit of a heavy block, but it is in part needed to house the QWERTY keyboard.  Even so, you know it’s in your pocket.  It’s thick, boxy, and austere.  The Build quality is good, although it’s plastic, and you can access the battery

The N8 has its shiny metal body with rounded edges and is smooth and sleek, except for the camera bit sticking out on the back.  It’s exceptionally well built and solid, though the batter is not replaceable. Has a variety of colors too.

Verdict: N8 has this – top notch design and build quality, though N900 is very good too.


This one is easy -N8 all the way, it’s 12Mp camera is hard to beat and although the N900 does a decent job, it’s no match.  See my camera contest for samples.

verdict: N8, always.


The N900 has a few  things which the N8 does not, and the N8 has a few things the N900 does not so here they are:

The N900 has a resistive touch screen, a lens cover on the camera, flashlight using the Dual LED, infra-red capabilities (no apps natively), 32Gb of memory with upto 16 extra via SD card, stereo speakers, oh and of course, a QWERTY keyboard..

The N8 has HDMI out, USB on the Go, a capacitive touchscreen and 16GB memory expandable with SD card.

Verdict: Tie – the key features here would be the keyboard, more memory, HDMI out and the screen type.


Both devices perform well though I have had good long term experience with the performance on the N900 and saw a couple of issues using the N8.  The N900 seems to have longer battery life too.

Verdict: N900 is more reliable most of the time and has longer battery life.


Adding up the scores her we have N8: 3. N900 2.  And including the Symbian vs maemo result (9 -5) that becomes 12-7. A good win for the N8 then.  Still, it doesn’t do everything perfectly, and in the N900 and Maemo, Nokia got some things spot on, such as the task switcher and Skype/IM integration, and large areas of OS navigation improved in that device.

So if you are looking at a page on Amazon or any other mobile device website and you were looking at an N900 and an N8 or probably even an E7 and perhaps C7/Astound, get the Symbian 3 device. Unless you are wanting to take advantage of being able to develop code or manage servers, or you take a lot of calls via Skype, the Symbian 3 device is likely to be better for you, and especially if the N900 is priced upwards of $500.


About bluechrism

I am a software developer with most professional experience in the Windows .Net realm and I'm currently a WPF developer with Starkey Labs. However, I have wanted for some time to start the mobile developer journey properly and being an N900 owner, this was to be in the realm of QT. Job hunting, moving to Minnesota and changing jobs put my plans on hold 6-12 months but things are starting to settle now, just as I'm getting sorted to start some things, Microsoft and Nokia merge. This blog is about my novice mobile development experiences and hopefully will end up complete with links to download some apps on various platforms, but obviously by the name, Sybian, Maemo/Meego and Windows Mobile. In other stuff, I am English, I support Everton FC, I have visited Glastonbury music festival 5 times and recommend it to anyone. I am married and my wife and i have a dog called Friday.
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3 Responses to Nokia N8 vs N900 or Symbian vs Maemo Pt2

  1. Pingback: Nokia N8 vs N900 or Symbian vs Maemo Pt1 | The Micronokia Developer

  2. fibonaccist says:

    i love both, n900 and n8, nice comparison

  3. Divine says:

    I love the N900 phone though the N8 has HD video and 12 MP, the N900 is still my most preferred.

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