Nokia Lumia 920 vs Samsung Galaxy S3

Vs Paul Briden 17:35, 6 Nov 2012

Nokia is aiming to take a chunk of the smartphone market with the Lumia 920, but can it muscle in on the Samsung Galaxy S3's turf?

We see how Nokia's new Windows Phone flagship, the Lumia 920, handles a fight with Samsung's Galaxy S3.

Form

Nokia Lumia 920 - 130.3x70.8x10.7mm, 185g

Samsung Galaxy S3 - 136.6x70.6x8.6mm, 133g

Nokia’s latest Lumia pushes forward with the company’s signature aesthetic established with its predecessors (the Lumia 800 and Lumia 900), which means a sharp, rectangular polycarbonate unibody with a slightly curved insert on the front panel to house the display.

It’s not all razor edges and angles, however, as the smooth sides sweep round into a curved back panel.

Build quality is top-notch, as we’ve come to expect from Nokia’s premium models. The Lumia 920 feels very solid in the hand.

The finish varies depending on which colour you opt for, some are matte while others are glossy. The glossy versions are a bit on the slippery side, while the matte ones are very satisfying to get to grips with.

While the build and design are both pleasing, it must be said the Lumia 920 is a bit of a beast proportions wise and can be difficult to handle.

It’s very heavy at 185g and the broad display is problematic to operate one-handed with just a thumb. Buttons and controls are well-positioned along the right-hand side and are easily accessed with either hand, while a MicroUSB port in the base makes the Lumia 920 ideal for charging docks and cradles.

If you don’t fancy that though, there’s always Nokia’s wireless charging plates which simply require you drop the phone on top to begin charging.

Despite also being a large handset, Samsung’s Galaxy S3 is far more manageable in both proportions and weight. By comparison to the Lumia 920 it feels very svelte in the hand at only 8.6mm and 133g.

While the shape is a nice, gently curving ‘pebble’-like design and the construction quality is reasonably robust, the plastic used has a cheapness to it and all variants have a slippery finish.

Our preference here has to be the Lumia 920, while the bulk does make handling tricky the design is stunning and fit and finish is unparalleled.

Winner – Nokia Lumia 920

Display

The Lumia 920 is equipped with a 4.5-inch IPS LCD multitouch display using Nokia’s ClearBlack technology alongside a new addition called PureMotion HD+.

ClearBlack is a tremendously beneficial technology which improves contrast, colour and black depth as well as making the Lumia 920 perfectly usable outside in bright sunlight.

PureMotion HD+ ensures there’s no display latency as the screen is synchronised to 60 frames-per-second – the same speed as the operating system.

The resolution is 1280x768 pixels and this gives a pixel density of 332 pixels-per-inch (ppi). Picture quality is incredibly sharp, even when zoomed in on photos and web pages. Text in particular is brilliant.

Brightness is decent and the auto-brightness adjustment is well-tuned.

The Galaxy S3 uses a 4.8-inch Super AMOLED capacitive multitouch display with a 1280x720 pixel resolution, producing a lower pixel density than its rival at 306ppi.

Having a pixel density of over 300ppi should mean the display looks nice and sharp to most users, but there is a noticeable difference in clarity compared to the Lumia 920. It’s also not as useable in the sunshine as things tend to get washed out.

Colour depth and contrast are still strong and the brightness is reasonable. Side-by-side both are visually pleasing displays to look at and rewarding screens to use, however, Nokia’s fast latency and slightly sharper image makes it preferable here.

Winner – Nokia Lumia 920

Storage

Samsung’s Galaxy S3 has options for 16GB, 32GB or 64GB of internal space plus MicroSD card capability for up to 32GB on top or 64GB via high-capacity SD.

Alas, this is one area where the Lumia 920 falls down, while its 32GB of internal storage is generally good enough for most users it does lack the flexibility of the Galaxy S3.

Add to that the lack of any card capability and you have a very open-and-shut scenario. Samsung takes this round.

Winner – Samsung Galaxy S3

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