May 22, 2008

Nokia N95 vs iPhone GPS Shoot-out

Ever wonder how accurate your iPhone's faux GPS function (from firmware 1.4 update) in Google Maps "My Location" would hold up against a real GPS receiver? Better yet, how does it stack up against another smartphone with integrated GPS like the Nokia N95? I wanted to find out for myself so I took both devices out for a shoot out.

iPhone - in its typical fashion, performed quickly via AT&T EDGE network to provide my location. Regardless of where I stood nearby my NYC apartment (in the courtyard, by both sides of 23rd street), it would locate me at the corner of 24th and 10th Avenue.

Nokia N95 - I had the internet connection defaulted to turn off, relying purely on the integrated GPS. In an open space, I can normally get a good fix on the satellites within 2 minutes. This afternoon, however, I cannot even get connected; its possible that the buildings are too tall on my street which blocked partial satellite signals. I sampled it in the same three locations as mentioned above (courtyard, both sides of 23rd Street) and I can't rely on the integrated GPS alone to pick up my location. So I activated Nokia Maps to go online via AT&T 3G network which engaged the Assisted-GPS function (ie. using data network to help getting a location fix assisting integrated GPS receiver). Within 30 seconds, I got a fix. It showed me as if I were on the other side of 23rd Street. See the 3rd image for exact location test results.

There you have it. iPhone's simulated GPS works faster with lesser accuracy. Nokia N95's integrated GPS is slow (which is a known fact, and I've seen better GPS phones) but offers a bit more accuracy and obviously helps you track your location no matter where you move around once you have a fix.


ANTI-SPN said...

Dude you can't turn off the Data which helps get a quicker fix. Thats pointless. If thats the case then you should turn off the Iphones too. Which means no GPS for Iphone vs GPS for N95

andy said...

just want to clarify that this article was written pre-iPhone-3G days (05/22/2008). more specifically, this was to test how accurate the faux GPS in iPhone firmware 1.4 update when compared to the N95-3 which has real integrated GPS. Not to be mixed with today's (07-21-2008) iPhone 3G standard with integrated GPS. Although it'd be an interesting comparison which I might do again.

That said, my point was really to say N95-3 GPS is unbearbly slow when you turn the AGPS function off. For some people not interested in a data plan for N95, this is a good point to know!