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Nokia Lumia 920 vs Samsung Galaxy S3

on January 21, 2013 – 3:59 pmNo Comment

As a part of the in depth comparison series featuring the Nokia Lumia 920, we now have the first feature that compares the Nokia Lumia 920 with the Samsung Galaxy S3. Without further ado, here’s the in-depth comparison video of the Nokia Lumia 920 vs the Samsung Galaxy SIII -

As we all know, the Nokia Lumia 920 is Nokia’s flagship running Windows Phone 8 while the Samsung Galaxy S3 is Samsung’s flagship device currently running Android 4.1 Jellybean. So, there is a platform rift between the two which makes the comparison all the more interesting. Samsung and Nokia have literally switched positions in the marketplace with respect to their portfolio as well as their marketshare. So, is Nokia up to the task of competing with its major competitor? Lets see.

Design is always a subjective matter in smartphones, but we can surely say that of these two, if one device manages to stand out, that would be the Nokia Lumia 920. The Lumia 920 carries forward the fabula design philosophy that was introduced with the Nokia N9 and eventually the Nokia Lumia 800, with the curved screen and the pillow shaped back. The Galaxy S3 on the other hand was highly criticised for its weird design initially, but when reviews started coming out, it started to gain a rather different perception. It is however true that the device looks and feels totally different when held in hand unlike the Lumia 920 which looks great in pictures as well as in person. The Galaxy S3 also echoes the Nature UX philosophy that Samsung wanted to convey in the launch keynote. The curved corners make for a pebble look, and even the home button as well as the sides are ever slightly curved to make it not look out of place. At the same time, the Lumia 920 has sharp edges and curved sides, which are a hall mark of the fabula design. It has definitely proven to be admirable by the masses.

The Lumia 920 is made up of a single piece of polycarbonate piece machined to fit the internal and external parts. The display is 2.5D curved, and blends into the body, making it look like a monolith. And hence, the build is very strong with caveats like the non removable battery, no micro SD card slot and external mechanisms for SIM card. With the Gorilla glass included, the Lumia 920 is definitely built like a tank. However, the same old plastic on the Galaxy S3 might not be enticing to look at nor does it feel great, but Samsung has made sure that there are advantages. The device is way better to hold thanks to the low weight plastic compared to Polycarbonate, and removable battery, SIM and micro SD cards for the win. Pretty nifty, right. But then, if you are looking at the Galaxy S3, you don’t see the premium flagship device you paid for.  

Regarding ergonomics of these two devices, the Lumia 920 comes in at a thickness of 10.7mm and weighs 185g while the Galaxy S3 has a thickness of 8.6mm and weighs 133g. The Lumia 920 is surely heavier than most smartphones but the curved sides make up for the weight, but it might be a deal breaker for some. The Galaxy S3 on the other hand is a svelte device that weighs less and can slide into your pocket easily. So, ergonomics are better on the Galaxy S3, which is a great device to hold as well as in your pocket but the design and build quality of the Lumia 920 is superior.

Coming to the displays of both these devices, it’s already widely acknowledged that the Pentile variety of Super AMOLED screens offer fuzzier text and at the same time infinite contrast, so the Galaxy S3, with it’s 4.8 inch super AMOLED HD 1280X720 screen, pales in comparison to the Nokia Lumia 920, which has a rather splendid RGB type SLCD display with various features packed into it. It is a 4.5 inch screen with super sensitivity(can be used with gloves on) and 60 Hz refresh rate for smooth performance. It is a 1280×768 display making it a 16:10 screen, and it is called the PureMotion HD+ display. And following Nokia’s tradition with flagship displays, Nokia has added its own Clear black polariser coating and reduced the air gap between the display and the glass so that the outdoor visibility is high and so do the blacks seem deep. With an arsenal of features packed into the Nokia Lumia 920′s display, it is easy to prefer it over the now lacklustre Galaxy S3 display.

The internal hardware of both these phones are the same when you compare the United states LTE version of both these devices but on the international arena, both are different. First, the Lumia 920 sports a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 plus MSM8960 Dual core 1.5 GHz processor with Adreno 225 graphics whereas the international version of the Galaxy S3 has the Exynos 4412 quad core 1.4 GHz processor with ARM Mail 400 MP4 quad core graphics. In terms of raw performance and gaming, the Samsung Galaxy S3 wins comfortable but when it comes to daily usage, both are equally good as it is the factor of the OS optimisation that has gone in to the chip, which might fare better for the Qualcomm chip. Otherwise, you won’t actually be able to see any user facing differences between these two devices, both which are very capable and perform great.

The cameras on both these devices are very capable, with the Nokia Lumia 920 packing some extra features and carrying the Nokia PureView brand, which means camera innovation at its best. The Galaxy S3 has a f2.8 back side illuminated 8 megapixel camera unit that takes awesome stills and videos in sufficient light, save for the slightly exaggerated sharpening, while the Lumia 920 might not seem as sharp as the S3 at pixel level, it still takes amazing stills and video in day light as well as low light thanks to the optical image stabilisation built into the camera unit. The OIS system helps stabilise the video footage, which makes the videos look very professional and longer exposures for the low light stills so that your hand shake doesn’t impressionate the stills. Overall, the Lumia 920 packs more and hence deserves to be called out when in comparison.

We will be doing a more in depth camera comparison between all of the devices soon, but here’s a video test we did earlier that features both the Lumia 920 as well as the Galaxy S3, you can read about that test here.

Coming to the software side of things, the Galaxy S3 currently runs Android 4.1 Jellybean and has a UI skin of its own called Touchwiz, with Nature UX. The Lumia 920 runs on Windows Phone 8, and since it is highly subjective to deal with OS preference, you might as well watch the above video embedded at the start of the post to figure out which suits you the best. So, concluding, if you are looking for a great Android flagship, you can look at the Galaxy S3, but if you are looking for anything else other than that, look no further, Nokia Lumia 920 can satisfy your needs.

P.S – Other comparisons here.

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Bharadwaj is obsessed with technology and is a self taught designer who covers news, writes features, reviews, loves to take photos and produces videos. He is currently using a review unit.
You can follow him on Twitter @bharadc23 and on Google+