Nokia Lumia 925 vs Samsung Galaxy S4

Vs Paul Briden 15:57, 16 May 2013

We compare Samsung's Galaxy S4 to the streamlined Nokia Lumia 925 flagship with its PureView camera

Samsung’s latest and greatest, the Galaxy S4, is a bigger, badder flagship with a large 5-inch Full HD 1080p display and a powerful quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor. It features the latest Android 4.2 Jelly Bean software layered with Samsung’s own TouchWiz interface and a host of additional capabilities.

The Lumia 925 is Nokia’s re-invention of the Lumia 920 with a slimmer, lighter body shell, a refined 8.7-megapixel PureView camera for fantastic imaging and a new photo editing suite designed to make everything easier.

Samsung Galaxy S4: Key specs and features

The Samsung Galaxy S4 isn’t the only 5-inch Full HD 1080p handset on the market but it does just as well in the display department as competing flagships. The Super AMOLED screen sports a 1920x1080 pixel resolution at 440 pixels-per-inch (ppi) to produce stunningly sharp, clear imagery with robust colour and contrast, as well as decent brightness.

It’s up there with the Sony Xperia Z, HTC One and LG Optimus G Pro as one of the best screens on the market at present and there’s very little difference in clarity between these market leaders – at over 400ppi you’re looking at consistently excellent clarity which makes a phone very pleasing to use.

Never to put out a one-trick pony, Samsung’s Galaxy S4 is just as capable when it comes to performance and speed. Nestled in the engine bay is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 quad-core chip clocked at 1.9GHz – that’s the highest speed you’ll currently find this chip clocked at out of the box. It sports 2GB of RAM and an Adreno 320 graphics processing unit (GPU) and all of this contributes to an experience that is very impressive indeed.

Android 4.2 glides along effortlessly and the TouchWiz UI doesn’t hamper this smooth performance one bit. Screen transitions are fluid, there’s no hiccupping from multitasking and generally it’s very satisfying to use. Android 4.2 also has the benefit of Google’s latest set of features such as Google Now and currently boasts over 700,000 apps on Google Play.

Samsung’s 13-megapixel camera is a highly capable setup with a back-illuminated sensor (BSI), LED flash, HDR, 1080p video capture and stabilisation. It also features multi-shot, simultaneous video and image capture and you can use Dual Shot to capture images and video from both the primary camera and the 2-megapixel front-facing secondary (also 1080p video). Samsung provides a number of other capabilities including Sound & Shot (still images with recorded audio), Drama Shot (time-lapse collages) and more besides.

Onboard storage is currently 16GB for the UK market, although you only get to use 8GB, however, the Galaxy S4 has a big advantage in the form of microSD capability for cards up to 64GB. The Galaxy S4 has a sizeable 2,600mAh battery, full Wi-Fi connectivity, 4G and HSPA+ 3G connectivity, NFC, Bluetooth, microUSB, MHL TV-Out, GPS and an infrared port which lets you operate compatible TV sets from the phone.

Nokia Lumia 925: Key specs and features

The two most important things about the Lumia 925 are that it contains an improved version of the Lumia 920’s brilliant PureView camera and that this improved setup has been squeezed into a refined and elegant bodyshell. The Lumia 920 was simply too heavy, thick and bulky to take seriously despite its imaging prowess. Now though, users who are after what is unquestionably the best camera setup in a current smartphone can get it without compromising on a heavy, slab-like handset.

The Lumia 925 features an aluminium surround with attractive decorative detailing near each corner. It’s a highly angular shape just as with earlier Lumia models. The back panel is Nokia’s familiar matte finish polycarbonate and comes in white, black or grey while the surround has a bare metal finish. On the front is a glass fascia with a contoured display panel. The whole thing looks remarkably sharp and stylish and there’s no creak or flex in the chassis, but then we’ve come to expect as much from Nokia on both fronts. What’s significant is just how slinky a device it is – it’s a mere 8.5mm thick and weighs in at 139g.

The camera is based on the same 8.7-megapixel PureView technology as we saw in the Lumia 920. That means a Carl Zeiss lens, a back-illuminated sensor, dual-LED flash, 1080p video capture and optical image stabilisation. But, it has also been improved with a sixth glass lens layer and a new ISO capability which can go as high as 1,200.

The results are incredible to say the least with super-fine detail, crystal clear clarity, excellent low-light performance, rich colour and good levels of contrasts and exposure. The only thing better is probably the Nokia 808 PureView but that runs Symbian which is no longer supported and the phone itself is the size of a small battleship.

Not only has Nokia tweaked the already impressive PureView setup to an improved state, but it’s added a new editing suite alongside the existing Creative Studio and Cinemgraph apps. Nokia Smart Camera, as it’s called, allows you to edit your photos directly from within the gallery view. It’s quite powerful as the multishot capabilities mean you can choose best faces, remove unwanted people or objects, or generate time-lapse images, including the ability to add, remove and set levels of fade for individual frames.

The display hasn’t changed from the Lumia 920 but is still a decent offering. It’s a 4.5-inch AMOLED with a 1280x768 pixel resolution at 332ppi. It’s reasonably sharp, but the end result is of very high quality because of Nokia’s PureMotion HD+ and ClearBlack layers which improve colour depth, contrast, clarity and latency considerably.

Internal hardware and processing power is also the same as it was on the Lumia 920 but just as before this is still more than adequate for running Windows Phone 8 at a decent pace.

Direct spec comparison: Shootout

Device Samsung Galaxy S4
Nokia Lumia 925
Dimensions 136.6x69.8x7.9mm, 130g 129x70.6x8.5mm, 139g
Display 5-inch Super AMOLED,1920x1080 pixels,440ppi 4.5-inch IPS LCD, Nokia ClearBlack and PureMotion HD+,1280x768 pixels,332ppi
Camera 13-megapixel,LED flash,1080p video 8.7-megapixel PureView,dual-LED flash,Optical stabilisation,1080p video
Storage 16GB/32GB/64GB, microSD up to 64GB 16GB
Processor, RAM, Graphics 1.9GHz quad-core Qualcomm 600,2GB RAM, Adreno 320 GPU 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4,1GB RAM,Adreno 225 GPU
Operating System, Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean Windows Phone 8
UI  TouchWiz n/a
Connectivity microUSB,Bluetooth,NFC,Wi-Fi,Wi-Fi Direct,Wi-Fi Hotspot,DLNA,4G,GPS,MHL Bluetooth,microUSB,NFC,Wi-Fi,Wi-Fi Hotspot,DLNA,GPS,4G,HDMI
Battery 2,600mAh 2,000mAh

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