Nokia launched the N8 as the first smartphone to showcase the updated Symbian 3 operating system, but the Finnish manufacturer has since added a number of other Symbian 3 based mobiles to the market, including the Nokia E6 and X7. You might face something of a conundrum when choosing between the three, so here is some analysis of what makes each tick and how the N8 stacks up against its slightly newer alternatives.
The Nokia N8 benefits from a premium level of design, available in a number of stylish covers finished in appealing colours and fashioned from aluminium. The Nokia E6 is a little less impressive in this department, opting for a chunkier bar phone design which is black and businesslike rather than being funky and fun. At the other end of the spectrum is the X7, which has a fairly outlandish frame with sharp angles and a distinct lack of the curvy friendliness which defines the N8.
The N8′s touchscreen display measures 3.5 inches across and has a native resolution of 640×360, using AMOLED technology to give it added vibrancy and improved contrast compared to the pokey 2.5 inch LCD offering of the Nokia E6. The X7 has a four inch screen which also uses AMOLED technology. However, it too shares the resolution of the N8, albeit stretched over a larger area. Thus the N8 is easier to fit in the pocket and has a crisper looking screen.
The real selling point of the N8 is its 12 megapixel camera with 720p HD video capture. At the time of its launch no other mobile had ever featured a 12 megapixel sensor and to this day the low light performance and video recording of the N8 is difficult to beat. The Nokia E6 and X7 do not even attempt to replicate the N8′s photography prowess, each packing eight megapixel snappers which are perfectly serviceable compared to rivals but pale in comparison with their predecessor. The N8′s Xenon flash is another of its assets not mimicked by the other mobiles under consideration here, so it takes the professional edge again and again in this department.
In terms of software and internal components the three Nokia phones are a little harder to separate. Each packs the same 680MHz processor, each has a secondary camera on the front for video calling and each can support microSD memory cards up to a capacity of 32GB. Symbian 3 runs largely unchanged on the three, although the Nokia E6 is a little hampered by its smaller display, which uses five homescreens rather than three to make up for the lack of room. The E6 is also incompatible with some apps available for its siblings due once again to size restrictions.
To be fair to the E6 and X7 they are targeted at specific audiences while the N8 is built to be an all-round smartphone star which benefits from broad appeal. While its photography features let it stand out, there is more to it than meets the eye.