Review: Nokia N8 vs Sony Ericsson Xperia X10

Lets begin with this note, this is not a cellphone review as much as it is a cellphone camera review. We recently had the chance to play with both of these phones simultaneously and the main reason for so doing was to compare their camera abilities. The Nokia N8 in one corner with a 12MP sensor, Carl Zeiss lens which offers an f/2.8 aperture. In the other corner was the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 with 8.1MP camera which one would hope borrows a great deal from Sony’s Cyber-shot experience, but does it? Read on

Xperia X10

Boy Walking taken with Sony Ericsson Xperia X10

We will let the older X10 go first in this dual shall we. As mentioned in the intro, the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 has a 8.1MP Camera at its heart. I have not been able to confirm if it is CCD or CMOS but can tell you that its not the Backlit Exmor R sensor technology which is in almost everything Sony produces these days as I wouldn’t have a hard time finding it out, it would be plastered all over it.

I should mention here that between my wife and I there used to be a bit of a fight over the Sony Ericsson C902 (a Cyber-shot branded phone) which had a 5MP sensor it was used almost more as a camera than a phone. So it was with this in mind that I began using the X10, sadly I was disappointed.

Let me be specific. I found the image quality on the X10 was not that bad, it was not a huge improvement on the old C902 but it was  an improvement. Where I felt let down was on the user experience. The X10 has a terrible delay in most circumstances and lacked some of the user controls and speed of access to setting that we were accustomed to with the C902  or even the Nokia N8 for that matter. If there is one thing that stood out for me on the X10 as feature I would like in a future Compact or DSLR, its the 4-inch Capacitive Touch screen… that would be a dream on a conventional camera.

Nokia N8

Bottle in School Bathroom - Taken on Nokia N8

It has been declared over and over again by Nokia that the N8 makes a great camera replacement. As a phone – I know we said this is not a phone review but I cannot help myself, I had some issues with two units in a week – the N8 could be a better device. The screen is ok but the X10 felt a bit more responsive though in the N8’s defence I was therefore more conscious when typing on it and made fewer mistakes.

Where the N8 falls a little behind is on apps for the cameras. There are some interesting one’s like a panoramic one, but without a service like PicPlz sharing images is not as quick as it could be. This  is sad as the camera is really very good, exceptional in fact.

When shooting pics with the N8 you will find it  to be rather responsive, part of this we put down to the physical shutter that it has. Sure it is not as quick perhaps as some of the higher end compact cameras today but it seldom left me  with a undesirable image because it didn’t shoot when I told it to. I might add here also that the video camera is good offering 720p and there seemed to be surprisingly versatile video and photo editing applications on the N8.

The simplest way to put it is that the N8 felt like a  compact camera trapped in the fixed lens body of a cellphone… I am almost tempted to say that had Nokia not taken it back, I would have kept it has my primary device just because I need a decent camera phone that often…  it would be a very good replacement for the old Sony Ericsson C902.


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