Several days ago I read a post comparing the HTC Thunderbolt and Apple’s iPhone 4 and thought it would be interesting to try to compare the iPhone 4 with the upcoming Nokia N9.

Display

The Nokia N9 has a 3.9-inch Amoled capacitive touchscreen the resolution of which is 480 x 854 pixels (238 pixels-per-inch (ppi)). The iPhone 4’s display is smaller – 3.5-inch (LED-backlit IPS TFT capacitive touchscreen) – but it has a higher resolution – 640×960 (with 326ppi pixel density), so it should be cleared and probably brighter.

Both displays support the multi-touch input method, have accelerometer sensors for UI auto-rotate and proximity sensors for auto turn-off. The Nokia N9, however, used the Gorilla Glass technology to protect its touchscreen from scratches and has an anti-glare polarizer. The iPhone 4 has a scratch-resistant oleophobic surface on its screen.

Gorilla Glass is great, of course, but iPhone’s screen is not too vulnerable, too. Besides, it has a higher resolution, as I mentioned above, so it seems to be even a bit better than the display of the Nokia N9. But let’s not hurry to jump to conclusions and have a look at the other features of these two smartphones.

Hardware

Both devices have single-core 1GHz processors (Cortex A8 CPU with PowerVR SGX530 GPU and TI OMAP 3630 chipset will be found in the Nokia N9, and ARM Cortex-A8 processor with PowerVR SGX535 GPU and Apple A4 chipset make Apple’s iPhone 4 work).

The hardware features of the Nokia N9 and the iPhone 4 are equal overall, with only a few differences: Nokia’s chipset is slightly better, but the iPhone’s PowerVR SGX535GPU seems to be a bit more powerful.

So none of these smartphones is a winner in the hardware aspect – both are equal.

Storage

The Nokia N9 comes in two versions with different storage capacities — 16GB and 64GB. The iPhone also comes in two versions, but while the lower-end version is 16GB, as its rival phone, the version with the biggest storage is only 32GB – twice less than Nokia’s 64GB version.

Both versions of the Nokia N9 have 1GB of RAM and 512MP of ROM. Apple’s iPhone 4 comes with 512MB of RAM. Well, it’s not that bad, too, but still it’s behind the N9.

The N9 and the iPhone 4 don’t have microSD (or any other) card slots, which is very bad for both. But since the Nokia N9 has a higher maximum storage capacity and twice a bigger RAM, its advantage in relation to the iPhone 4 is obvious.

Platform

The iPhone 4 runs iOS 4.3, and the Nokia N9 runs a very “original,” if I can say so, operating system known as MeeGo. Let’s try to understand the main differences between them and find out which is better.

First of all, I have to mention what everyone first says when hearing about the iOS – it’s easy to learn, you can understand how it works without reading the User Manual even if the iPhone 4 is your first smartphone ever. It has many useful apps and features that are also easy to use.

Several changes were made in the new version of iOS, including the following: the Safari browser has become much faster, some multimedia utilities were upgraded and improved (Airplay and iTunes, for example) and much more.

As for apps, you can find many of them (more than 350,000) in the App Store. All those apps are verified by Apple, so you can download them without being afraid of infecting your smartphone with viruses or malware that usually come with downloadable apps.

As I said above, the Nokia N9 runs the MeeGo 1.2 ‘Harmattan’ build, thanks to which the device doesn’t have any hardware buttons – you’ll use the special gesture-based control and input method to go to Home, Menu or Back.

There are three homescreens in this OS – “Events,” “Applications” and “Open Apps.” The first one shows you different system notifications and social networking alerts. Maybe SMSs and mails will also find a corner on this screen, but I’m not sure about this yet. The “Applications” screen will give you the chance to organize your apps. There is a separate homescreen for open apps, but I can’t understand why they didn’t place the functions from this screen in “Applications.”

By the way, several social networking apps (Facebook, Skype, GoogleTalk, Gmail and Twitter apps) are coming pre-installed in MeeGo.

I don’t want to write too much about the differences between these platforms – or it will take the whole post. Soon I’ll try to write another post only about these two operating systems.

And from what I said above we can make the following conclusions. MeeGo seems to be rather good, but we must admit we don’t know much about it yet. Will it function well? Will it be easy to use? Will it have many bugs or problems? We’ll be able to find the answers to all these questions only after the N9 with its MeeGo is released. And before then, Apple’s iOS seems to be the winner, since it’s more “complete,” it’s tested and proven.

Camera

Nokia has always been famous with its good smartphone cameras (remember the Nokia N8!). The Nokia N9 is no exception – it’s going to get a cool 8MP camera with auto-focus, dual LED flash and Carl Zeiss optics. The camera of Apple’s iPhone 4 is much more modest – it’s only 5MP, with auto-focus and LED flash. Of course, the pictures it takes are smaller – 2592 x 1944 pixels against the N9’s 3264×2448 pixels.

Both cameras can capture video at 720p. As for the rest of the features, both cameras have geo-tagging and the option of choosing touch-focus. Nokia’s camera has face detection as well.

Both smartphone have secondary VGA cameras supporting video-calling (the iPhone 4 supports video-calling only via Wi-Fi, and nothing is known for sure about the N9).

The camera of Apple’s iPhone 4 is good. It takes good bright pics and decent videos. But the camera of the Nokia N9 is way better anyway.

Design

The design isn’t the most important feature in a smartphone, of course, but many people pay much attention to it when choosing one. So let’s try to compare the designs of the Nokia N9 and the iPhone 4, too.

The iPhone 4 is designed in the same style as all the older versions of Apple’s smartphones. It has rounded edges, and it’s slightly more compact than the Nokia N9, which comes in different colors, has a nice curved glass screen and is more “edgy.”

Design is a matter of taste anyway, so no comparison in this area can be objective. I personally like the appearance of none of them. However, there are many people who like how the iPhone 4 looks. And the Nokia N9 has its fans, too.

Prices

The retail price of iPhone 4’s 16GB version is $649.99 from Verizon, but you can also pay $199.99 to get it with a two-year contract. The 32GB version of the iPhone 4 costs $749.99 without a contract and $299.99 with a two-year one.

As for the Nokia N9, no exact prices are yet known. But there are several guesses: it can cost $869 (16GB) and $941 (64GB) in Russia and $686 in Khazakstan. But remember that these are just guesses – we’ll find out the real retail price of the smartphone only after it’s released, and I don’t think it will cost that much.

Conclusion

So what do we have here…

The Nokia N9 and the iPhone 4 have much in common, however, each of them has its own advantages and disadvantages.

The iPhone 4 has a better (though smaller) display with a higher resolution and a better-developed, a more “complete” platform – iOS. The Nokia N9 has more storage space, more RAM and a stronger camera. And it comes in different colors, which is very good for those who are tired of dull black smartphones.

Apple’s iPhone 4 seems to be more reliable, since it was released long ago and it’s tested. However, the Nokia N9 is also a great choice, especially for those who like testing new devices. The only minus of the N9 seems to be its OS, but if Nokia supports it the way it has promised, the N9 will turn into a great phone.