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Nokia Lumia 920 versus the Samsung Galaxy S3

Nokia Lumia 920 versus the Samsung Galaxy S3

The Lumia 920 is the flagship superphone for Windows Phone 8 – Microsoft’s latest upgrade to its mobile operating system. But how does it fair against one of the biggest Android powerhouses in the industry, the Samsung Galaxy S3?

We decided to pit the two smartphones against one another. Who comes out on top? Which smartphone has the better display? Which one is more fun to hold in your hand? Here’s our comparison of the Lumia 920 and the Samsung Galaxy S3.

The display

the display

The display is one of the first things you’ll notice about both the Lumia 920 and the Galaxy S3. Each phone uses a similar resolution (1,280×720 for the Galaxy S3 and 1280×768 for the Lumia 920), although the Lumia 920’s 4.5-inch screen is slightly smaller than the 4.8-inch screen of the Galaxy S3.

Each phone features a vibrant and colorful display. Vibrancy is obviously important for Windows 8, an operating system that is dominated by colorful tiles. It’s also important to note that the Lumia 920 has 332 pixels per inch (ppi) versus the 306 ppi of the Galaxy S3, although most people agree that it’s difficult for the human eye to notice differences beyond 300 ppi.

When comparing the two smartphones side by side, users will notice slightly different coloring. That’s because the AMOLED display of the Galaxy S3 doesn’t try to display true colors – it gives them a sharper and more vibrant appearance.

the display

The Lumia 920 uses ClearBlack technology and Puremotion HD+ to achieve the same effect. ClearBlack enhances the contrast of the screen, which means blacks look sharper and whites look cleaner. Meanwhile, Puremotion HD+ locks the screen to 60 frames per second. This is done to minimize latency when browsing between screens, and the effects are very noticeable.

We have to give the edge to the Lumia 920 in this category. Even if you’re not using your phone while outside, the ClearBlack and Puremotion HD+ is a joy to use. And when combined with the colorful tiles of Windows 8, it gives the Lumia 920 an appearance that’s unmatched in today’s smartphone market.

Winner: Lumia 920

The exterior and case design

All other things being equal, people buy new smartphones because they look cool. The Lumia 920 has been widely criticized for being too chunky, while the Galaxy S3 is famously slim. The Lumia 920 has square edges, while the S3 has rounded edges.

This one comes down to personal preference – the Lumia 920 is significantly heavier than the S3 (185g versus 133g), and this weight difference is immediately noticeable. If you prefer the feel of a strong, solidly-constructed smartphone versus the slim and light design of something like the S3, then you’ll like the Lumia 920.

Winner: Tie (Personal preference)

Storage space

Despite all its other strengths, the Lumia 920 has one major problem:  Nokia didn’t include an SD card slot. Most users will be perfectly happy with the default 32GB of storage space, although performance users will want to upgrade their phone with a high-capacity SD.

The S3 not only comes with an SD card slot, but it also includes 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB models. The S3 easily takes this category.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S3

Operating system

This is another category that comes down to personal preference. If you like Microsoft products and services (especially Windows 8), then you’ll love Windows Phone 8. And since the operating system seamlessly synchs with your Windows PC, Xbox 360, and other devices over your wireless network, the Lumia 920 simply makes sense if you already have lots of Microsoft products in your house.

Meanwhile, Samsung’s version of Android is good, but it’s not perfect. It features a lackluster keyboard and a few too many useless Samsung services. But Android itself is a powerful mobile operating system that can be customized to the heart’s content. And of course, if you don’t like the S3’s operating system, changing it is a simple matter of rooting the device and installing a custom ROM.

Winner: Tie (Personal preference)

Power, speed, and performance

All of the other categories mean nothing if the smartphone doesn’t have the hardware to back it up. This is where the Lumia 920 truly shines. Its hardware requirements go above and beyond what’s needed for Windows Phone 8. That means the Lumia 920 runs Windows Phone 8 flawlessly with plenty of room left over for high-performance apps.

The Lumia 920 includes:

-Dual core Qualcomm S4 Snapdragon CPU (1.5Ghz) with 28nm architecture

-1GB of RAM

-Adreno 225 GPU

The S3 features similar specs, with 1GB of RAM and a quad-core CPU. However, it uses 32nm architecture, which uses slightly more battery power than the 28nm architecture used in the Lumia 920.

The Lumia 920 takes this category. Mobile technology has come a long ways in the 8 months between launch dates for the Galaxy S3 and the Lumia 920, and this difference has a noticeable impact on performance. When using the Lumia 920, you can expect buttery smooth performance whether using apps or scrolling through the desktop.

Winner: Lumia 920

App store

In a head-to-head comparison, the Google Play Store’s 700,000 apps beat the Windows Phone Store’s 120,000 apps. But if you take a closer look, the difference isn’t quite as large as those numbers suggest. The Google Play Store does not have a verification process for its apps, while the Windows Store does. That means the Google Play Store has a higher quantity of apps, but so many of those apps are garbage. In terms of quality apps, the two stores are a little closer together. But we still have to give this victory to Android and the Galaxy S3.

Winner: Galaxy S3

Camera

Finally, we come to the camera. 8MP is the standard resolution among today’s superphones, and that’s the camera that both the iPhone and the Galaxy S3 use. However, Nokia apparently didn’t feel this was good enough, as they included an 8.7 MP camera on the Lumia 920.

But the camera isn’t just .7MP better than the competition. It also includes features like PureView image stabilization and Carl Zeiss optics. However, there is some debate over whether these camera features make a noticeable difference. One budding photographer decided to compare the two cameras in this article at Slashgear.

Judging by those pictures, it looks like the S3 has the advantage in indoor environments although the Lumia 920 is better at taking pictures outside – particularly when moving objects are involved or in low light environments. Judging by recorded picture quality alone, this one has to be declared a tie. Both cameras also have the ability to take 1080p video.

Winner: Lumia 920

Conclusion – which one is right for you?

Despite what you may think about Windows Phone 8, its flagship device – the Lumia 920 – sizes up well compared to the latest and greatest Android smartphones like the Galaxy S3.

Conclusion

There were more ties in this comparison than any other smartphone comparison we’ve done thus far.  The Lumia 920 was designed specifically to compete against superphones like the Galaxy S3. And it matches or beats the S3 in just about every category.

 

However, the Lumia 920 was also released about 8 months later than the S3, which means that the S4 will soon be competing head-to-head against the Lumia 920.  When that time comes, we think the edge will shift back in Samsung’s favor. Until then, all you need to do is ask yourself this question:

“Would I rather use a phone with Android or Windows Phone 8?”

Since these phones are equal in just about every other category, the operating system is the only major distinction you need to worry about.

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About the author

Andrew Tufts

Andrew Tufts is a tech writer from Canada. He currently owns a Samsung Galaxy S5 and can be yelled at on Twitter @emperoryogi

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11 Comments

  1. De-Anne Thomas
    December 26, 2012 at 11:46 am

    Have been looking at both phones in preparation to upgrade my contract and STILL have no idea which one I really want to go with. Both are awesome phones.


  2. Andrew Tufts
    December 5, 2012 at 12:26 am

    Thanks for the constructive criticism guys…totally didn't realize the app store I was using on the Lumia 920 had that many apps.


  3. Carroll Lee
    November 30, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    At least when they write the article comparing the wrong app store they go so far as to make sure they include the wrong picture also.


  4. Byron Miller
    November 30, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    Shhh.. don't correct him, he's a professional! lol..


    • Virginia Miller
      November 30, 2012 at 5:05 pm

      Someone made a good point. The batteries in the Nokia's are like the batteries in iPhones… glued in and doesn't last as long. What's the deal? Nokia's use to be know for their durability and battery life. I think they fell short on the battery life for sure. Though, this phone feels as solid as all the rest I have owned. Hope the battery has a long life. I would like to keep a hold onto this phone for awhile.


    • Byron Miller
      November 30, 2012 at 5:48 pm

      yeah, they need to fix that.. but its pretty common for multi core phones with huge ass displays.. for the most part I think battery life is because of all the apps that automagically set themselves to run in background


    • Byron Miller
      November 30, 2012 at 5:49 pm

      I was just poking fun at the fact he review the windows app store and not the windows phone app store :)


    • Andy Fishguy Kellett
      November 30, 2012 at 6:10 pm

      If any of these phones want to live up in the business world, they need removable batteries so your typical business bod can carry an extra one or two in their bag. Thats one benefit to the Samsung phones. That camera pic looks a bit dodgy, the S3 camera has a low light filter in it, so not sure why it came out so dull.


    • Byron Miller
      November 30, 2012 at 6:36 pm

      I never carry a spare battery myself, I do hope Nokia can further optimize performance to eek out more battery life but I recommend the phone because of its polycarbonate body and gorilla glass 2 screen – built like a tank and because of that, no user accessible battery. we also pay for the warranty so if it messes up, att better fix that bad boy! and nokia support is second to none right now, they have excellent concierge service and warranty repair/swap


  5. Kevin Carter
    November 30, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    The Windows Store you referenced was the Windows 8 Store for Desktops, Laptops and Tablets. The Windows Phone Store (Previously the Windows Phone Marketplace) has over 125,000 apps.


  6. Stefan Winberg
    November 30, 2012 at 10:49 am

    The Windows Phone Market place has had over 100 000 apps for quite some time.


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