Fight of the Giants: Nokia N96 vs. Samsungs i8510 INNOV8

21. February 2009 at 12:29

n96 vs. innov8

The Nokia N96 and the Samsung INNOV8 are both the latest multimedia devices on the market based on S60 3rd Edition Feature Pack 2. Both devices feature almost everything you can find currently on the market. However, which device is better in the head to head comparison?

Camera:

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On the back of both devices you can see the cameras. However, N96’s camera has ‘just’ 5 megapixel camera with Carl Zeis optics whereby the INNOV8 has a mythy 8 megapixel camera. Of course both have autofocus and a flash. All in all the 8 megapixel could really impress.

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The quality as well as the functionality of the INNOV8 are indeed ways better than the N96 can offer. Things like panorama shot or smile detection are functions the N96 never saw. The flash of the INNOV8 is better too but the N96’s flash is bright as well.

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On the right long edge of the INNOV8 you can find a dedicated camerakey which let’s you switch from video to imaging and to gallery-mode. Besides the imaging function both devices record video in VGA quality and again here the Innov8 offers way more functions. You can device between autofocus (initial), close up or disabled autofocus.

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More over you can activate a slow motion of 1/8 or 1/4. However, although the Innov8 offers a video-light it isn’t as bright as N96’s video-light. The quality of both devices is good and depending on the setting and light condition is sometimes the N96 better and sometimes the INNOV8.

Here two comparison pictures. However, expect a other post with more comparison pictures soon: Left N96 and right the INNOV8:

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Music:

The INNOV8 won the camera point, but how about the music point? This point goes clearly to the N96. With 16GB internal memory it offers enough space for your music library and if this isn’t enough you can expand with microSD cards. The same with the INNOV8 but here you have 8GB on board only.

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Other than that you have a 3.5mm audio jack on N96’s top which allows you to plug in every headset you like and so to improve the audio quality with decent headphones. The main music higlight of the N96 are its dedicated music keys on the front and when you press the slider down. So, you have full control from everywhere you are, being in the webbroser, menu or anywhere else. Having the INNOV8 you need to jump to the musicplayer all the time if you want to skip a song pause it or close the music player. The N96 makes overall a better music player like appearance with its music keys, the 3.5mm audio jack on the top and the switch-keylock. The quality and volume through a stereo speakers and a Panasonic headset are quite good and you can improve it by activating another equaliser mode.

Design & Build quality:

Let’s start with the build quality first. Holding both devices in the hand I really felt the difference. The INNOV8 feels a little bit more nobly and solid which is driven by the fact that it is build out of steel and not only out of plastic like the N96. Especially the back of the INNOV8 feels good and not so plastic. All in all the whole appearance of the INNOV8 is rather nobly. However, when we talk about design it’s hard to judge. The N96 looks on the front rather like a multimedia monster whereby the INNOV8 shows its real face on its back. Anyway, I’d say that the N96 looks more sexy.

Size & weight:

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In terms of size both devices almost measures the same. 106.5 x 53.0 x 17.2mm that’s what the INNOV8 measures and N96 comes with 103 x 55 x 18mm. As you can tell this ain’t a big difference.

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When you slide both devices up you see that the INNOV8 is a little bit bigger as the keys need more space. Anyway, both devices fits in almost every pocket but they aren’t as small as you can hide them in your hand. Looking at the weighing instrument it says that the INNOV8 (136g) is heavier than the N96 (125g). This is caused by the fact that the INNOV8 is made out of metal which is obviously heavier than plastic.

Gaming:

Of course the N96 is pre-loaded with the N-Gage client which offers you a whole bunch of games (you need to buy). Other than that the N96 has dedicated gaming keys which really give a good gaming experience on this device.

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The INNOV8, however comes with FIFA 08 and Aspahlt and I have to admit that the the quality of the games isn’t as bad as I expected. The FIFA game is actually the same as we find on the N-Gage although the INNOV8 isn’t a N-gage device, strange. Anyway, the N96 offers more games and also a better gaming experience. Nevertheless you can have some fun playing games on the INNOV8 too.

Display, TV-Out and more:

Things both devices feature are Wi-Fi, GPS, good office and PIM functions, TV-out functions and more. However, there are some differences. The N96 comes with Nokia Maps whereby the INNOV8 comes with Route66 pre-installed. For Route66 you need to buy the maps before you can get started and the N96 need to be activated for live navigation before you can live-navigate. The webbrowser is the same, both view it like we know it from the desktop at home and flash-videos are no problem as well. A little gimmick is the optical mouse the INNOV8 offers. So you don’t need to press the d-pad but just move your finger on the touch sensitive central key to move around the page or the menu. As Nokia works pretty close with S60 most Nokia-S60 apps like Sports Tracker, Nokia Maps, Podcasting and such don’t work on the INNOV8. Turning on the INNOV8 is simple as you need to press the red-end-key just 3seconds. However, turning it off isn’t that easy. You need to press it 6 seconds which is actually a little bit to much as a lot user press and hold it for 3 seconds, sees that nothing happens and try another key to turn it off. Samsung should try to improve it. Both devices feature TV-out but Samsung doesn’t provide a TV-out cable so you need to buy one or need to use the cables Nokia provide. You can charge the INNOV8 over USB what is really convenient, the N96 however doesn’t support this feature.

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Both QVGA (240 x 320 pixles) displays are 2.8” which is pretty big for a non-touchscreen device. However of the N96 isn’t as bright and colourfull as INNOV8’s screen (picture above). All in all INNOV8’s display is more brilliant.

Verdict:

No doubt, both devices are excellent multimedia devices. They offers almost everything from a good camera, GPS, music player to full internet. However, of course every device has its own advantages. In our case the INNOV8 is the camera-device whereas the N96 is clearly the music- and gamingmonster. There is no way to say that the N96 or INNOV8 is better. Both are multimedia monster with different advantages. What are your thoughts?