Rumblings, Ruminations, and Retrospectives

Musings from the mind of the Beast.

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Smartphone Smackdown Part 2!

Back, by popular demand – and by popular, I mean by request of one reader…

Hey, I have a reader!

I recently did the Smartphone Smackdown, where I compared the upcoming Nokia Lumia 920 (to be released in just a few weeks!) against the new iPhone 5. I was asked to compare the Lumia 920 and the Samsung Galaxy S3, so, being one not to disappoint my reader, here it is – in the same format as the last post for easy comparison.

Once again, 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

The Skinny: The Samsung S3 is a sleek looking device, available in three colors – white, dark red, and blue. The phone is very similar to most other Samsung designs – rectangular with rounded corners – though the rounded edges of the S3 are more pronounced than the iPhone which separates the two. The S3 has a nice silver ring around the bezel that seems to give the phone a higher end look. Nokia breaks the mold of the rounded corners and has gone with a unibody rectangular design and curved back that looks great. The Lumia 920 is available in black, white, gray, red, and yellow – and more colors will be released in the future.

My Take: Once again, everyone’s taste in design is different, and this is wholly subjective. I really like the look of the S3. The colors are nice, and the look of the phone instantly makes me think quality. The Nokia Lumia 920 has a fresh new look, that matches the operating system underneath and it’s available in multiple colors which allows for a more personalized experience, especially to match the theme of the Windows Phone OS. The S3 loses a couple points due to it looking like most every other Samsung phone, and I just really like the look of the 920.

Design Winner: Nokia Lumia 920


Size and Weight

The Skinny: Here’s a rundown of the dimensions of each phone:

Lumia 920 Galaxy S3
Height: 130.3 mm 136.6 mm
Width: 70.8 mm 70.6 mm
Depth: 10.7 mm 8.6 mm
Weight: 185 g 133 g

My take: Just looking at the specs, both phones are almost identical in size; the Galaxy S3 is just a couple millimeters thinner, but it is significantly lighter. Again, 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, especially in this case where both phones are so close in size, it’s a wash.

Size and Weight Winner: Draw

DISPLAY

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

Lumia 920 Galaxy S3
Screen Size: 4.5″ 4.8″
Resolution: 1280 x 768 1280 x 720
Pixel Density: 332 ppi 306 ppi

My take: Finally. Two phones with awesome huge screens. None of this 3.5″ or 4″ stuff. Both the Lumia and the Galaxy go for it with top end size, and that means more stuff on your screen. I love it.

Here’s the deal with me for these two phones. The S3 has a slightly larger screen – but at less resolution than the Lumia. What this means comparitively, is that graphics and video will look better on the 920 – if you zoom to look at pictures or read web pages, those elements will look better. That, combined with the increased pixel density means your Lumia display will ultimately be sharper than the S3.

Oh yeah. You can still USE GLOVES – OR A FORK (why, I don’t know) on the Lumia display.

Display Winner: Nokia Lumia 920

PROCESSOR

The Skinny: Both phones use the Snapdragon S4 dual-core 1.5 Ghz processor.

My take: Not much to say here.

Processor Winner: Draw

INTERNAL MEMORY

The Skinny: The Lumia 920 comes with 1 GB of internal memory, while the S3 features 2 GB.

My take: More RAM is better.

Internal Memory Winner: Samsung Galaxy S3

STORAGE

The Skinny: The S3 comes in two different models with different amounts of storage: 16 GB and 32 GB. The S3 also features a microSD slot that allows up to an additional 32 GB of storage. The Nokia Lumia 920 comes with 32 GB of storage.

My take: The S3 has more storage options, and their top end is higher than the Lumia 920.

Storage Winner: Samsung Galaxy S3

CELLUAR AND WIRELESS

The Skinny: Again, I won’t bore you with a whole ton of technical specifications here, but both devices support GSM, CDMA, and LTE. Both devices have wireless networking built-in, supporting 802.11a/b/g/n. Both phones have Bluetooth support, and both phones also support 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.

Celluar and Wireless Winner: Draw

BATTERY LIFE

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

Lumia 920 Galaxy S3
Capacity: 2000 mAh 2100 mAh
3G Talk Time: 10 h 8 h
3G Standby: 400 h 250 h
Music Playback: 67 h N/A

My take: Like the iPhone 5 before it, the Lumia crushes the S3 in battery life with more talk time and nearly double the standby time. The Lumia 920 has almost DOUBLE the standby time as the S3. Both phones support wireless charging, although it is standard/built in to the Lumia 920, and the S3 requires an add-on back cover for this support.

Battery Life Winner: Nokia Lumia 920

 

CONNECTORS/ACCESSORIES

The Skinny: Both the S3 and the Lumia use industry-standard (oh hai, Apple!) micro-USB connectors for charging and data transfer.

My take: Not much to talk about here.

Connectors/Accessories Winner: Draw

 

CAMERA

The Skinny: Both cameras feature main cameras on the back of the phones and a secondary, front-facing camera at 1.9 MP for video calls. Both devices have a front-facing camera at 720p. The S3 rear cameras is 8 MP, the Lumia 920 8.7 MP, featuring image stabiliaztion and sport full HD for video. Both feature 4x zoom, while the S3 has an aperture of f/2.6 and the Lumia sports a more capable f/2.0 that lets in more light for better images.

My take: Like in the previous smackdown, the specs are again fairly close, but the Lumia 920 does feature higher camera resolution and a better aperture allows in more light for superior low-light performance. The other major kicker is image stabilization, which in demos I have seen online, the Lumia 920 has the S3 outclassed.

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 S3 and the Lumia 920 support audio playback to a number of devices and accessories, and include headphones for private playback. Both devices will also wirelessly send audio to NFC supported devices (tap to share), and both uses the DLNA standard (oh hai, Apple!) to stream video directly to your TV.

My take: I don’t think there’s much more I can say about these phones. They’re basically the same. If you’re heavily invested in one app/music store, that may help you make your decision.

Audio/Video Winner: Draw

 

OPERATING SYSTEM

The Skinny: The Galaxy S3 runs Android 4.0.4 (Ice Cream Sandwich), 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, as I’ve not had a lot of hands-on with the Android OS but I’m familiar enough with it.

Overall Operating System thoughts: Those familiar with the Android OS may be big fans. I happen to see the Android OS in two different ways, both a negative and a positive. The negative is that the OS looks almost like a copy of the iOS on the iPhone – it’s very much a screen of a grid of icons with a home row on the bottom that does virtually the same thing the iPhone does. The plus(es) are that Android allows you to add widgets to your home screen, like a live calendar, post-it notes, clocks, the weather, etc. For power users and geeks, the OS is infinitely more customizeable than other phone OSes, with support for widgets, themes, and more.

The Windows Phone operating system is simply more beautiful, elegant, and different with it’s Live Tile system (which are essentially widgets but in a standard tile fashion). Live Tiles will show you how many unread emails, phone calls, and text messages you have, the weather, calendar, weather, and apps like Twitter will let you pin Live Tiles to your home screen to show you how many mentions you have, DM’s waiting. Facebook will show you how many messages you have – all on your home screen. 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.

When I went looking for my first smart phone, I evaluated them all, and I have totally bought in to the Windows Phone Live Tile and Hub system, and the design elegance with its simplicity and excellent typography. Even though the Android OS is ultimately more customizable, there is so much to the Windows Phone OS that is just part of the standard OS that you don’t have to add widgets or apps for, it’s all baked in – and to me that makes for the better experience.

Operating System winner: Windows Phone (Nokia)

Overall thoughts: This contest is ultimately more close than the 920 vs iPhone 5 smackdown, but the Lumia still wins in more categories this time around. The OS category is obviously something that’s a personal experience and subjective, but even if you take away that category and the other subjective one – Design – the Lumia still wins more categories, 3-2. The S3 has excellent specs and is a very good phone, but the Nokia Lumia 920 outperforms the S3 in more categories.

Smartphone Smackdown Winner: NOKIA LUMIA 920

I think I’ll do a Nokia Lumia 920 vs. HTC 8X soon, to find out which phone is the ULTIMATE Windows Phone.

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