Smartphone Smackdown!

Yes, Smackdown – for us wrestling fans – is one word. ;)

The smart phone industry has been abuzz recently as several companies have been announcing new devices for the upcoming fall and holiday seasons. A few weeks Samsung has announced the ATIV S. Two weeks ago, Nokia unveiled their new flagship phone, the Lumia 920 running Windows Phone 8, and last week Apple released the iPhone 5 on iOS 6.

This post will be about how the Nokia Lumia 920 (my phone of choice of the new devices) and the iPhone 5 (phone of the iFlock) stack up head-to-head.

I’ll compare the two phones in several categories, including design, included hardware/specs, and software features.

ON TO THE SMACKDOWN!

DESIGN

Nokia Lumia 920 iPhone 5

 

The Skinny: The iPhone design hasn’t changed since the phone was originally released in 2007, and while some manufacturers have adopted the iPhone look in some way with a rectangular design and rounded corners, Nokia breaks the mold and has gone with a unibody rectangular design that looks great. You can get an iPhone in any color you want as long as it’s black or white. The Lumia 920 is available in black, white, gray, red, and yellow – and more colors will be released in the future.

My Take: Of course, everyone’s taste in design is different, and this is wholly subjective. I like the look of the iPhone. I always have, but we’ve gone on 5 years and 6 versions of the iPhone with literally no change in the look of the device (although they did enlarge the screen). The Nokia Lumia 920 has a fresh new look, and it’s available in multiple colors which allows for a more personalized experience.

Design Winner: Nokia Lumia 920


SIZE AND WEIGHT

The Skinny: The one major change Apple made this year with the iPhone was the size of the screen – it’s now a 4 inch display. Here’s a rundown of the dimensions of each phone:

Lumia 920 iPhone 5
Height: 130.3 mm 123.8 mm
Width: 70.8 mm 58.6 mm
Depth: 10.7 mm 7.6 mm
Weight: 185 g 112 g

My take: The iPhone 5 is smaller and lighter than the Nokia Lumia 920 – because the Lumia has a larger screen and bigger battery. To some people, being smaller and lighter is a major factor in a phone purchase; I would have to hold each phone and see how they felt in my hand – size is not a major decision factor to me personally. It’s a wash.

Size and Weight Winner: Draw

DISPLAY

The Skinny: Here’s a breakdown on the displays of both devices.

Lumia 920 iPhone 5
Screen Size: 4.5″ 4″
Resolution: 1280 x 768 1136 x 640
Pixel Density: 332 ppi 326 ppi

My take: With the iPhone 5, Apple *finally* comes up with a respectable screen size – the 3.5″ screen size of previous iPhones was just not big enough. The Lumia has a bigger screen at 4.5″, but like size and weight, display size directly affects the size of the device, so it’s a personal decision on what works for you and feels good in your hand.

The big deal out of this is that Apple has been raving about that super high quality of their “Retina” display. The fact is the Lumia 920 has a higher resolution (true HD) while the iPhone 5 has a really odd resolution because Apple made the display longer, but not wider. The Lumia 920 also has a higher pixel per inch density, which means the there’s more dots per inch – the display is sharper, and combined with a higher resolution, the Lumia 920 has a superior display.

Oh yeah. You can USE GLOVES on the Lumia display.

Display Winner: Nokia Lumia 920

 

PROCESSOR

The Skinny: Both phones use dual-core processors. Apple uses a new A6 processor running at 1.066 Ghz. The Lumia 920 uses a Snapdragon S4 dual-core 1.5 Ghz processor.

My take: I think it will be safe to say that both manufacturers have tuned their processors and their OSes to run as best they can. Apple *says* the iPhone 5 is 2x faster than iPhone 4S, but that’s a relative term. However, going by specs alone, the Lumia 920 has a faster clock speed.

Processor Winner: Nokia Lumia 920

 

INTERNAL MEMORY

The Skinny: Both devices feature 1 GB of internal memory.

My take: Next.

Internal Memory Winner: Draw

 

STORAGE

The Skinny: The iPhone 5 comes in three different models with different amounts of storage: 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB. The Nokia Lumia 920 comes with 32 GB of storage.

My take: This one’s simple. The iPhone 5 has more storage options, and their top end is higher than the Lumia 920.

Storage Winner: iPhone 5

 

CELLUAR AND WIRELESS

The Skinny: I won’t bore you with a whole ton of technical specifications here, but both devices support GSM, CDMA, and LTE – the iPhone 5 supports LTE for the first time. Both devices have wireless networking built-in, supporting 802.11a/b/g/n. Both phones have Bluetooth support. The Nokia Lumia 920 also supports Near Field Communications (NFC).

My take: Both phone support a lot of different communication protocols and will accomplish pretty much everything the average user needs to do. The breaking point here is the Lumia 920 supports NFC and the iPhone 5 does not. NFC will allow for secure payments by tapping the phone to a payment terminal, playing games, streaming music, and a host of other functions that the iPhone will simply not be capable of.

Celluar and Wireless Winner: Nokia Lumia 920

 

BATTERY LIFE

The skinny: Here’s a chart on what you can expect for battery performance with the two devices:

Lumia 920 iPhone 5
Capacity: 2000 mAh 1440 mAh
3G Talk Time: 10 h 8 h
3G Standby: 400 h 225 h
Music Playback: 67 h 40 h

*Note: The mAh of the iPhone 5 is not verified by Apple, but the rest of the numbers are. I found the mAh number for the iPhone on a manufacturer site.

My take: This one isn’t even close. The Nokia Lumia 920 crushes the iPhone 5 in battery performance. The Lumia 920 has almost DOUBLE the standby time as the iPhone 5. The Lumia 920 also supports wireless charging through a number of official accessories, something the iPhone 5 cannot do.

Battery Life Winner: Nokia Lumia 920

 

CONNECTORS/ACCESSORIES

The Skinny: The iPhone used to have a proprietary 30 pin connector used for data synching and charging, used for both the iPhone and iPod. With the iPhone 5 Apple has changed this to another smaller, proprietary connector. The Nokia Lumia 920 uses a standard micro-USB connector for data and charging.

My take: Switchting to yet another proprietary connector is a giant mistake from Apple, and is a let down. Tech pundits had assume the change was going to be towards micro-USB like other manufacturers, but they switched to yet another proprietary format – breaking support for all your docks, radios, speakers, etc. But don’t worry – Apple will gladly sell you yet ANOTHER accessory to make them work together. I much rather prefer a standard – if I’m in a bind and need to charge my phone, I can grab a standard connector from a friend or any electronics store without paying the ridiculous price Apple charges for their accessories.

Connectors/Accessories Winner: Nokia Lumia 920

 

CAMERA

The Skinny: Both cameras feature main cameras on the back of the phones and a secondary, front-facing camera for video calls. Both devices have a front-facing camera at 720p, and main cameras sporting full HD for video. The main difference is the iPhone 5 camera is 8 MP, and the Nokia Lumia 920 is 8.7 MP.

My take: The specs seem to be fairly close, but they don’t tell the whole story. Most people think that more megapixels (MP) is better, but this is only the case if you have the sensor in the camera to make use of all that extra data, and this is where the Lumia 920 excels. The main camera sensor has no competitor in the way it handles low-light situations, and it’s image stabilization is off the charts. During the 920 demonstration, the presenter grabbed the camera, started recording video, and then shook the camera up and down really hard, jolting it all over, and there was NOT.ONE.PIXEL.OF.BOUNCE. It’s ridiculous. Nokia’s Pureview HD technology simply wipes the floor with the competitors. Apple made a big deal about adding panoramic support, but the Lumia already had that in it’s previous models. The Lumia also features a dedicated camera button the device, the iPhone does not.

Camera Winner: Nokia Lumia 920

 

AUDIO/VIDEO

The Skinny: Both phones support video and audio playback in a multitude of formats, and can access millions of songs and videos from their respective online stores. Both the iPhone 5 and the Lumia 920 support audio playback to a number of devices and accessories, and include headphones for private playback. The Lumia 920 will also wirelessly send audio to NFC supported devices such as a wireless speaker. The iPhone will stream video out to an Apple TV device. The Lumia 920 uses the DLNA standard to stream video directly to your TV.

My take: Both phones offer great audio and video playback in HD both on the phone and to a number of supported devices. The iPhone lags behind in video playback because you MUST buy further into the Apple ecosystem and purchase additional devices to access the video streaming feature while the Lumia 920 again supports a standard (DLNA) to send video directly to your TV without the need for an additional device. You can also stream audio wirelessly via NFC to a host of supported devices without the need of tying your phone down to a dock or cable.

Audio/Video Winner: Nokia Lumia 920

 

OPERATING SYSTEM

The Skinny: iPhone 5 will run on iOS 6, and the Nokia Lumia 920 will run on the Windows Phone 8 operating system. I am not going to go into the fine details of every feature of each operating system, but let’s at least look at the major feature changes that iOS boasts:

Maps: With iPhone 5, Apple has dropped Google Maps as the default mapping solution and adopted their own. Apple says the maps are more detailed, and features flyover, turn by turn navigation, and traffic information. Nokia includes their own mapping solution (Nokia Maps), turn by turn navigation and route info (Nokia Drive) – it even has speed camera warnings and speed limit information. Nokia Transport features live public transit information. Nokia City Lens also lets you point your camera down a street and the names of businesses, locations, and landmarks will appear on the screen.

My take: While iPhone Maps is good, Nokia Maps with Drive, Lens, and Transport is Maps on Steroids. Nokia is the clear winner here.

Voice Commands: Apple has Siri – which can finally handle application launching in iOS6. Windows Phone 7 has had voice activiated app launching since the OS launched.

My take: I suppose the mere presence of Siri should give Apple the nod here, but it’s STILL in Beta since the iPhone 4S, and even Apple users say it sucks, despite what the cute commercials say. Apple is still adding features that WP users have enjoyed since the OS launched. Siri is just an app, and there are two great ones (Assistant and Ask Ziggy) for Windows Phone what will give you (working!) Siri functionality. I’ll make this one a wash.

Facebook: Both OSes feature Facebook functions integrated directly into the operating system. You set up your Facebook account on the phone, and it integrates your Facebook contacts into your own, allows you to send messages, write on users’ walls, and share information with your Facebook friends.

My take: Again, Windows Phone has had this integration since the very first release of the operating system. Another wash.

Shared Photo Streams: iOS 6 allows you to share photos with your friends by selecting a picture in the Photos app and selecting Share. Friends using iCloud get the photos right away. If your friends don’t have iCloud, then can access a site on the web to see the pictures.

My take: This is a huge fail for Apple. Again, it’s a closed ecosystem. In Windows Phone OS, you can share to Facebook, email, post to Twitter, SMS, upload to SkyDrive, and send to a host of different applications. Windows Phone takes this one.

Passbook: Like a virtual wallet, Passbook allows you to store information on all your various loyalty cards: your Starbucks card, hotel cards, airlines, coupons, concert tickets, etc and call those up when required.

My take: This is a cool feature and this is where we’re headed with technology – everything stored virtually. Windows Phone 8 will feature something called Microsoft Wallet which allows you to store payment information and make purchases, but I’m unsure how it willl compare to the loyalty card, coupons, and other features. For now I’ll give this one to iOS until I hear more.

Facetime: Use your front-facing camera to make a video call to other iOS users.

My take: FaceTime sucks, it doesn’t work, and no one I know uses it. Again, it’s a closed standard only for the Apple environment. There’s a host of free apps (hello, Skype, anyone? Tango, etc) that can do video calling and no one I know would never buy an iPhone just for FaceTime. Nor would I. It’s just an add on that no one care about. Next.

Safari: Apple’s browser for the Internet.

My take: LOL. Anything it can do, IE 10 can do better. WP takes this one.

Find My Phone: If you’ve lost or misplaced your phone you can remotely lock it and display a message to anyone that finds it. It will also report it’s location to help you try and find it.

My take: Again, this is something that Windows Phone has offered since the beginning. WP also takes this a step further that if you’re absolutely sure your device is actually gone (ie: has been stolen, or say you left it in another city on travel) and there’s no chance of recovery, Windows Phone allows you to remotely wipe the phone so no one has access to your personal data. Again, Windows Phone is the winner.

Overall Operating System thoughts: iOS has some excellent new features, but for the most part they are simply catching up with every other mobile OS out there already has, and still features a grid of icons that do nothing but sit there. The Windows Phone operating system is simply more beautiful, elegant, and different with it’s Live Tile system. Native XBox gaming, Office support, and the deep integration and functionality of the Hub concept is something no other mobile OS can yet touch – and it’s only getting better with Nokia and Windows Phone 8.

Operating System winner: Windows Phone (Nokia)
Overall thoughts: It’s absolutely plain to see. The Nokia Lumia 920 is the Windows Phone 8 flagship phone and for good reason. It’s a gorgeous looking phone, and the specifications don’t lie – the Nokia Lumia 920 outperforms the iPhone 5 in almost every single key indicator. The superior hardware and its features, battery life, display, camera, operating system, and exclusive software make the Nokia Lumia 920 THE hottest smartphone in the industry.


Smartphone Smackdown Winner: NOKIA LUMIA 920

The only drawback is that I can order an iPhone 5 right now (if I so choose). I have to wait until November for the Lumia 920. But you can guarantee that the second this phone becomes available, there is going to be one with my name on it.