Basically Samsung Galaxy S4 and Nokia Lumia 920 are totally different devices. They bring different OS and hardware specs are quite different but it will be certainly interesting to see a comparison of these two flagship cell phones.
Nokia Lumia 920: Key specs and features The most prominent feature of the Lumia 920 is its 8.7-megapixel PureView camera, which is simply better than anything else you’ll find in the smartphone space (aside from Nokia’s own 808 PureView on the now defunct Symbian platform).
A big contributing factor for why this setup is so good is the use of optical image stabilisation rather than the digital equivalent, which ensures the shutter can stay open for longer and capture more light.
It also has a back-illuminated sensor (BSI) with Carl Zeiss optics, dual-LED flash and an f/2.0 aperture – all of which help produce some fantastic still images and 1080p HD video.
Build quality is also top notch with Nokia’s flair for polycarbonate unibody shells providing a very sturdy slab of premium plastic. Aesthetically, the Lumia 920 is quite pleasing to the eye thanks to its robust, angular shape and bright colour options.
A black display insert gives a bit of contrast (unless you choose the black variant, of course) and creates the illusion of a very narrow bezel on all sides, while on the rear things are kept minimalist, save for a tasteful metal camera surround which also doubles as the Nokia brand medallion.
There are some downsides to the build, however, which we’ll cover in more detail later.
The Windows Phone 8 operating system is a definitive aspect of the Lumia 920. It’s a very different animal from Android or iOS with its own quirks and foibles.
Positive aspects include the bright and colourful interface with plenty of customisation options and the unique Live Tiles which act as miniature widgets with a feed of app-specific information. Windows Phone 8 is easy to get to grips with and quite straightforward, providing a viable ‘no fuss’ alternative to iOS.
The People Hub is also a fairly well-implemented communications aggregation suite which really puts phone, messaging and social networking functionality as a focal point.
Again, this is also an area with some negative points which we will cover in a later section.
The display is a reasonably capable offering, it’s a 4.5-inch IPS LCD with a 1280×768 pixel resolution at 332 pixels-per-inch (ppi). This uses Nokia’s ClearBlack technology for better contrast, colours and depth of blacks and dark tones.
PureMotion HD+ technology also improves display latency and smoothness and Nokia has included some magic which allows you to use the touchscreen even while wearing thick gloves.
Samsung Galaxy S4: Key specs and features The Samsung Galaxy S4’s vast 5-inch display is a major pulling point for the device, it’s a Super AMOLED touchscreen with a 1920×1080 pixel Full HD resolution at 440ppi delivering excellent colour, contrast and clarity.
At present, we only know that the Qualcomm Snapdragon 600-powered version will be coming to the UK, known as the I9505. This is clocked at 1.9GHz with 2GB of RAM and an Adreno 320 graphics processing unit (GPU).
Benchmarks peg this as one of the fastest setups currently around and it should have no problems running any app you can throw at it alongside a bunch of others through Android’s brilliant multitasking.
Speaking of which, the latest build of Android, version 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, is loaded onto the Galaxy S4.
This ensures you’ve got the fastest, smoothest and most reliable Android experience available and with extra features such as Google Now, expanded notifications and many more besides.
Naturally this is overlaid with Samsung’s TouchWiz UI and being the flagship there are some additional capabilities Samsung has added into the mix.
Chief amongst these are the camera tweaks which give the upgraded 13-megapixel BSI primary and 2-megapixel front-facing secondary some distinctive functionality.
As well as being able to capture simultaneous 1080p HD video and still images the Galaxy S4 can capture footage through both front and rear cameras at the same time, while an built-in software layer allows you to merge this together easily.
Likewise, multishot has been expanded to capture up to 100 images and as well as a best picture picker it features a time-lapse collage mode.
Storage space is a strong-suit of the Galaxy S4 as it has both 16GB and 32GB onboard storage variants (there is a 64GB model but whether this will hit the UK is as yet unknown) each with microSD capability for cards up to 64GB.
Points to consider: Practical use Both phones are quite large and those with smaller hands may have a hard time with either.
However, the Lumia 920 is far bulkier, being very thick and weighing considerably more than its rival. It weighs about the same as the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, but is thicker and not as well-balanced, making it even more cumbersome.
The Lumia 920 does have better build quality on the whole using a unibody construction, although the finish is different depending on which colour option you go for – some are glossy and feel similar to the Galaxy S4, while others are matte which has a more premium feel like the Lumia 800 and Lumia 900.
Samsung’s removable back panel and tacky plastics may have a similar level of durability in practical use but the consistent shiny tackiness is really offputting.
Android on the Galaxy S4 is as rewarding as ever, and while Windows Phone 8 on the Lumia 920 does have its perks the platform has not made decent progress in terms of app and content choice since its launch.
It has some major pitfalls in app load speeds, a selection of clunky interface elements and a lack of true multitasking.
Samsung’s Galaxy S4 introduces some innovative new camera features but these are largely overshadowed by the raw imaging power of the Lumia 920’s PureView, which is simply stunning.
However, the trade-off is that the PureView’s tech is largely responsible for the Lumia 920’s bulkiness.
If you’re really into high quality imaging then this might be a compromise you’re willing to make, but if you’re just after something that’s still really rather good with more ‘ease of use’ features the Galaxy S4 could be a better choice for you.
Conclusion While we find Samsung’s continued use of the Galaxy S3’s shape and build quality in the Galaxy S4 more than a little underwhelming, as a usable day-to-day smartphone we think it’s the better bet here.
Nokia’s Lumia 920 is largely let down by two factors – its bulky frame and the fact that Windows Phone 8 is only a viable operating system choice if your use of typical smartphone functions isn’t substantial.
If you’re okay with Windows Phone 8’s limitations, are really into your photography and don’t mind a brick-like phone then the Lumia 920 might be worth a look. Its camera setup is unparalleled and its build quality is excellent.
Otherwise, however, the Samsung Galaxy S4 has a richer operating system experience, a decent enough camera, more storage space and a faster, more future-proof processor.