iPhone v Nexus One v Nokia N900: the top smartphones on Vodafone go head-to-head

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After news earlier today that Google’s Nexus One handset is to go on sale with Vodafone we thought we’d look at the top three smartphones available on the network. Apart from the Nexus, they are the iPhone (of course) and Nokia’s flagship phone the N900.

(Other top phones on Vodafone at the minute include the HTC Desire and the Sony Ericsson X10, but we thought we’d just look at one Android phone and had to plump for the Nexus).

It’s a closely-fought battle. On the camera, the Nexus One and the N900 are a tie: the camera on the N900 is 5 megapixels, so is the Nexus One and both have flash, the iPhone comes in a poor third with a flashless 3 megapixel camera.

As for storage: the iPhone 3Gs is available with 32gb of storage as is the N900 expandable up to 48 with a micro SD card, and the Nexus One comes with 4gb, again expandable up to 32gb with a micro SD card.

The processor on Nexus One handsets is a speedy 1ghz from Qualcomm, the N900 has an ARM 600 MHz processor and the iPhone 3Gs, a 833 MHz processor also by ARM.

The iPhone and Nexus have touchscreen keyboards, the N900 goes for a three-line slide-out QWERTY one – largely a matter of preference. Though it is worth noting that tests have proved the iPhone’s screen is the most accurate and responsive of all touchscreens out there.

The screen on the N900 is 3.5 inches diagonally across with 800 x 480 pixel resolution, the iPhone’s screen is 3.5-inch with a lower pixel resolution at 480 x 320 and the Nexus probably tops out here with the biggest screen at 3.7 inches and good resolution: 800 x 480 pixels. The Nexus is an Amoled screen as well and Amoleds are slimmer than LED ones, glow brighter, and display colours best.

Arguably the iPhone looks the prettiest, but it falls behind the other two on the hardware specs where the N900 wins out on features but the Nexus comes out top for the flashy more glamorous attributes like its big attractive screen.

UPDATE: 27/04/10

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This is where the Nexus and the iPhone leave the N900 at the starting line. Nokia’s Maemo Operating System is fine but without the deep fund of apps found in the iPhone and Android stores it’s just not that interesting, it’s the bread and butter of phone OSs. Fast internet is great, but just not as exciting as what’s going on elsewhere.

As for the Android v iPhone OS debate: well they’re both great, it just depends whether you prefer Apple’s smooth but closed experience or Android’s more open system and app store.

Disadvantages with the iPhone include the fact that it doesn’t support flash or multitasking. Android just isn’t as lovely an experience and has fewer apps (only 30,000, though it is fast catching up with iTunes’s 185,000+)

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Something to really look out for on Vodafone is limited data packages. Although 1gb a month is a lot of data, these creatures are made to eat bytes and it’s a shame if you have to curtail your video watching, augmented reality or maps apps to keep up within an allowance. Anyway, that’s how it is. Deals are pretty similar across the top Vodafone phones so here are the cheapest/most populist deals for each of the three handsets, though the N900 deal disappointly only includes 500mb data. (For more deals click on the links below).

Nexus One
£35 a month on a 24 month contract will get you the phone for free.
600 minutes – Unlimited Texts – 1gb of data per month

iPhone 3Gs
£35 a month on a 24 month plus an initial down payment of £179
600 minutes – Unlimited Texts – 1gb of data per month
See also deals from Tescos.

Nokia N900
£35 a month on a 24 month contract gets you the handset for free.
900 minutes – Unlimited Texts – 500mb data per month.

The N900 is a fast and good phone, and if you prefer QWERTY keyboards, and mostly check simple stuff on the internet (emails etc) and like lots of time to talk then the Vodafone deal isn’t bad. Otherwise the Nexus One and iPhone are streets ahead, though data-hungry apps on the Nexus may be limited by the restricted data allowance. I think the Nexus One is just a bit more exciting than the current iPhone 3Gs, so if you want Android, snap this up now. Apple fans, wait for the iPhone 4g to come out.


Anna Leach


  • Yeah… I completely agree… best phone of the year indeed… though these reviews often don’t work out well for the N900, mostly because it’s like comparing apples to oranges. Reviewers try and find common points to compare and forget about all the extra stuff N900 comes with. Here are some things you likely won’t get with other phones… Things like N900’s 2 CPU architecture, power for when you need it, battery savings for when you don’t… a keyboard, A/V out, 30 gigs of space, FM transmitter, FM radio, and a pair of good ear buds… lol… anyways I need to stop… but this is the best phone I’ve ever touched… and get a bit defensive when people don’t show it proper respect…

  • Hey, thanks for posting my comment, you guys aren’t as emotionally fragile as I had assumed.

    Some more info… I care becauese I shopped and compared these 3 phones long and hard before I settled on the N900… hope to help others make an informed decision.

    The N900 does not have a 1GHZ CPU instead it has 3 chips, the main one that runs the OS is 600mhz, another 430mhz that runs camera, audio, and data, and the 3rd chip is a GPU…

    The iPhone has 2 chips 1 833MHZ CPU underclocked to 600MHZ for the OS and a nice GPU chip as well… and

    The Nexus has a 1ghz processor and no GPU as far as wikipedia knows…

    On a side note N900’s 600mhz CPU has been overclocked upto 1.7 GHZ… not that I would recommend doing so.

  • This is crap… All False stuff stated here. Please do your review again with accurate facts and Re-write this post. Points to reconsider:

    – Memory Size
    – Processor Features
    – Web Browsing
    – And btw, when u get 500MB of Data Cap, you get 900mins of talk instead of 600mins for nexus and iphone (atleast levels all)

    For me – N900 wins over all. As for Apps, they are coming, even Nexus or Iphone started somewhere. N900 Just begun, by the end of 2010, im sure Nokia will beat all app stores.

  • This review is shortsighted… besides the factual mistakes others have pointed out, the statement “Otherwise the Nexus One and iPhone are streets ahead” is seriously flawed.

    No other phone even comes close to what the N900 can do. A lack of understanding for whom this phone is made should not give you the right to make ridiculously biased remarks. Yes I’m being biased as well, in hopes that it balances things out.

    Yes the N900 has it’s short comings, just like every other phone. But the things it can do that no other phone can, leaves all other smart phones feeling like expensive toys.

    a) You failed to mention or maybe failed to figure out how to use the all extra repositories on the N900. Which opens up a world of fun and useful apps you don’t have to pay a penny for. Document editors, games, servers, emulators(SNES, GBA, etc…), FireFox, Chrome(Android can’t even do that), and the freakin LAMP stack, through Easy Debian… let me if and when one those “streets ahead” phones can run LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP…. breakdown just in case ;-)

    b) As mentioned, you can hook it up and watch movies, play games, and browse the web on the big screen, pretty sweet when you want to give your eyes a break or entertain a company.

    c) The main point is… this phone saves me time and money, instead of sucking it away. Through Skype integration, amazing free apps, and the fact that you don’t need an app for every little thing that exists on the internet, you have real browsers in the phone…

    I guess if you’re looking for a flashy toy to drain your money through apps and minutes, yes iPhone and Android are the way to go. However if you want to get shit done, save some money, or just get your feet wet in some real Linux I highly advise the N900.

    Here’s a review that covers much of what this one has missed:

  • Hi… after submitting the comment I realized that starting my comment with “This review is a joke…” may keep my comment from being posted. So if you like, you can change that particular wording to “This review is shortsighted…” otherwise I’ll just post my comment as a review of this review on my blog, maeemo.com

  • As a N900 owner I would like to come with some comments:

    In Maemo you can have Phone/MSN/Skype/SIP/Google talk/ and more on the same contact? This is one of the feature I enjoy. Great when at home I can choose to call a contact on Skype if I see they are online when pressing the call button.

    The guys at FoneArena compared the web browser of the Nokia N900, the iPhone, Samsung OmniaHD, a Blackberry and an Android device. In my opinion, it’s a representative and competitive Smartphone’s group. The conclusion? They concluded this: “No Other phone can come close to N900 in the Browsing Department”.

    The FM transmitter is great for transmitting your songs in the car. Definatly a feature I would miss.

    Just to mention it, the n900 memory is expandable with up to 48 GB microSD card.

    Video playback file formats: .mp4, .avi, .wmv, .3gp; codecs: H.264, MPEG-4, Xvid, WMV, H.263

    I have a ps3 media server at home, the N900 found it automatically and could play its content. I found that impressive :)

    Btw this week I played SNes on my TV with a ps3 controller connected to the N900.

    I feel the weakness of Maemo is that Nokia havn’t fully shown its features and that OVI store is still working on payed content for the N900. The maemo repositories still have many great apps though :)

  • Not sure where you get your information from but I own a nokia n900 it does not have a Ghz processor but rather an arm cortex A8 600mhz processor. Also it has a 3 line keyboard not 4

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