T-Mobile G1 and Nokia N95

T-Mobile G1 vs Nokia N95

I've recently got myself a Android T-Mobile G1, (HTC Dream branded by T-Mobile as the G1), aka the Googlephone. I've been using a Nokia N95 pretty extensively for a year, eagerly awaiting the release of the N97. But the release date of the N97 seemed to be eternally put further and further back, and with talk of some operators refusing to go with the N97 due to it coming pre-installed with Skype, I thought I'd give the T-Mobile G1 a shot. Here are my experiences going from the Nokia N95 to the T-Mobile G1. This might be of interest to you if you're considering a change to the T-Mobile G1.

Screen

Nokia's N95 is looking a little bit old fashioned now with regards to its smaller, non-touch screen. The G1's touch-screen is fantasically bright, colourful and sharp, and nice and big too (3.2-inch TFT-LCD flat touch-sensitive screen with 320 x 480 (HVGA) resolution).

T-Mobile G1 vs Nokia N95 Camera Comparison

Despite having been around for a couple of years longer, the Nokia N95's camera is far superior to the G1's. The Nokia's camera gives you settings for scene mode/night mode, flash settings/red eye reduction, self-timer, sequence mode, colour tone (sepia etc), white balance, exposure compensation, sharpness, contrast and ISO sensitivity. More details and sample images are on the Nokia N95 Sample Images page. The only downside to the Nokia's camera really, is the lack of a xenon flash, but other than that, it's pretty damn good for a mobile phone camera.

Googlephone closeup

Surprisingly, the G1's built-in camera application has NO settings to adjust at all. You can either take a picture or not take a picture, that's about all the options you have! The G1's camera isn't bad when there's enough light, and it's macro shots are actually pretty good. Unfortunately it doesn't have any visible focus point, so it's virtually impossible to make the camera focus on one point rather than to make its own mind up what you're trying to take a picture of. To the left is an example that took me about ten tries to focus on the barbed wire. The camera was convinced I wanted a picture of the horizon! There is the ability to install third party camera applications on the G1 though. SnapPhoto give quite a few extra settings and can be used instead of the default camera application.

 

Here are some camera specs and samples from each camera.

  Nokia N95 Camera Spec T-Mobile G1 Camera Spec
Pixels 5Mp 3.2Mp
Zoom Up to 20x zoom None
Flash LED Type Flash None
Geo Tagging No Yes
Video "DVD-Like" quality video.
VGA 640 x 480 @ <30 frames per second, mp4 or 3gp, AAC sound.
None
Nokia N95 Sample
Nokia N95
T-Mobile G1 Sample
T-Mobile G1
Here, the Nokia's example on the left shows much more realistic colours and more visible detail in the whites, whereas the G1's example on the right has very more saturated colours and overexposed whites. The G1's white areas seem to be so burned out that they bleed over. Click on these to view 3mp versions of each.
Nokia N95 Sample
Nokia N95
T-Mobile G1 Sample
T-Mobile G1
This is a 100% zoom in on the above images showing detail around the trees.
Nokia N95 Macro Sample
Nokia N95
T-Mobile G1 Macro Sample
T-Mobile G1
Here, both phones give a pretty good example of a close-up shot, but again the Nokia's colours are more realistic. The Nokia also displays a narrower depth of field.
Nokia N95 Macro Sample
Nokia N95
T-Mobile G1 Macro Sample
T-Mobile G1
100% zoom showing the detail is pretty close between the two.

Signal

Having tested and compared the the N95 and the G1 in particularly weak GSM signal areas, I've found the G1's signal significantly stronger. Wi-Fi reception on the G1 is also much better. The N95's Wi-Fi can be particularly frustrating when the signal strength isn't too good, as it requires you to choose the access-point every time you connect to the WLAN. If the required access-point isn't found, you have to go through the whole process again until it is found. Most frustrating. The T-Mobile's Wi-Fi implementation is much easier, and connects automatically, and finds a much stronger signal than the N95.

T-Mobile G1

Build Quality

I would say the Nokia N95 has the edge here. It has a very solid, good quality feel. It feels like it was built to last. The T-Mobile G1 on the other hand has a cheaper feel. The case is very plasticky and the machanism and trackball work well but feel a bit fragile.

Audio

The Nokia N95 has stereo speakers, whereas the T-Mobile G1 has a single pretty poor speaker on the back. The N95 takes a standard 3.5mm mini-jack headphone plug, but the G1 needs a stupid USB adapter for its headphones, but there is one included with it. Testing the same MP3s back to back on both devices reveals the superior sound quality of the Nokia. The supplied headphones are of similar quality, but the Nokia has loads of setting for adjusting the sound, but like with its camera, the G1 has no settings at all! Both devices have excellent music libraries and music players though, and I believe the G1 even supports OGG files. The G1 is much faster to refresh its playlist. I'd have to say the G1's music software is better, although the device lacks dedicated music player control that the Nokia has along the top.

Navigation

Both phones have good points here. The G1's big clear screen is great for google maps and navigation, but the mature Symbian operating system of the Nokia N95 has a wealth of excellent Sat Nav software out there. The best in my opinion is Garmin. There don't seem to be any proper stand-alone sat nav programs yet for the G1. I have found AndNav and Nav4All which run on the Android operating system, but both are server-based. This means they require a connection to the internet and the remote server to be working and not overloaded! The G1 has a built in compass where the N95 does not, but so far the Nokia's options for sat nav are far superior.

UPDATE: Ok, this page has been here for a while now, and there are loads of decent sat nav apps around for the G1 now. Take a look at the Android Sat Nav page for more information.

Appearance

The G1 is quite big, bulky and heavy, even compared with the Nokia N95! The G1 is slightly heavier than the N95, at 157g vs 120g, according to my scales. Neither are particularly stylish, but who cares?

T-Mobile G1 and Nokia N95 side profile T-Mobile G1 and Nokia N95 side profile

Software

There's loads of software out there for both phones. The G1's excellent new Android operating system has the Android Market built in to its menu system so it's really easy to find the app you're after. The Nokia's Symbian platform has at least as many cool apps available, but you have to find them yourself. Not really a problem.

Battery

Both the Nokia N95 and T-Mobile G1 have pretty poor battery life, but we can forgive them that for being so feature packed. It's impossible to compare the two directly but I'd say the G1 just has the edge with heavy usage.

Video Player

I used to use my Nokia N95 a lot for watching videos, mainly huge avi/divx files. There are a few Symbian applications available for the N95 to do this, namely Divx Player and Coreplayer. Unfortunately, I havent found an equivalent Android application.

T-Mobile G1 Keyboard

Conclusions

Overall, I rate the T-Mobile G1 and Nokia N95 very highly. The camera of the Nokia is in a different league to the G1's camera, but the Internet is so much more accessible and a pleasure to use with the G1's excellent browser and full QWERTY keyboard. I even wrote this page on the G1! The G1 is a generation ahead of the N95 now and it's a great leap forward, but it might not be a perfect substitute for the N95 as it's a step backwards in terms of its camera and sat nav capabilities.

But I'm more than pleased with my T-Mobile G1. :-)