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Nokia Lumia 920 vs Samsung ATIV S – Spec Comparison

Samsung ATIV S vs Nokia Lumia 920

Here is my take at comparing the latest high end Windows Phone 8 phones from Nokia and Samsung via their specs/news etc. Although the hardware specs have been finalized, the software part can still change until their release date. So this comparison will mostly focus on what we can currently compare and that is the hardware specs. I’ve tried to be as neutral as I can but as there are far more information and buzz for the Lumia 920 than the ATIV S, I had to make a few assumptions for the ATIV S based on Samsung’s current phones such as Galaxy S3. Anyways, let’s begin!

 

DESIGN/BUILD

– Lumia 920 is 2mm thicker, 0.3mm wider but is 7mm shorter in height than the ATIV S. Lumia 920  is 50g heavier.

My Take – ATIV S looks very similar to the older Galaxy S2 but with some nice Aluminium touches around and back of the phone. Lumia 920 on the other hand looks much like the previous Lumia 900 but is a little bigger and heavier due to the bigger display and screen. Overall, the ATIV S will be considered easier to hold and pocket due to it being thinner and lighter. In terms of looks, it’s all up to personal preference really.

Samsung ATIV S
Nokia Lumia 920 comes in various colors

DISPLAY

– ATIV S has a 4.8 inch 1280×720 (HD) resolution Super AMOLED (Pentile Matrix)with Corning Gorilla Glass 2. (Same display as Galaxy S3) Lumia 920 has a smaller 4.5 inch but higher resolution 1280×768 (WXGA) resolution PureMotion HD+ IPS LCD with Super Sensitive touch and Corning Gorilla Glass 1. (unless Nokia says otherwise, I see no mention of it being Gorilla Glass 2 so far)

My Take – This is a tough one. I actually really like AMOLED due to its super high contrast and deep blacks which LCD’s just can’t compete with. In terms of daylight visibility, I can only assume Nokia’s new display will be noticeably better as Nokia is really advertising how special it is and even releasing a white paper with the technical details about it. Basically, Nokia has implemented a very high quality polarizing filter that reduces internal light reflections. Samsung does use something similar but expect Lumia 920 to edge out here.

In terms of size, ATIV S wins here. Keep in mind that, even though ATIV S has a bigger display, the phone itself isn’t any bigger and is actually easier to grip. In terms of resolution difference, it’s not huge although Nokia has the edge here. Some will care about the higher PPI of the Lumia 920 but in reality, the difference should be pretty much invisible to the eye so take it with a grain of salt. So in terms of text readability, the bigger screen of the ATIV S may actually be better even though it has a lower PPI due to the text being larger.

Samsung uses the same Super AMOLED HD on the ATIV S as the Galaxy S3
Lumia 920 uses Puremotion HD+ 4.5″ IPS LCD with Super Sensitive touch screen

PERFORMANCE

– Both ATIV S and Lumia 920 are using the same Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus SoC (MSM8960) with dual core Krait CPU and Adreno 225 GPU. Both also have 1GB RAM on board.

My Take – Speed wise, don’t expect anything different as they both use the same CPU and GPU with same amount of RAM. Both should be blazingly fast as each other.

Both phones uses the same Snapdragon S4 Plus processor

CAMERA

– Samsung ATIV S has a seemingly standard 8MP camera with single  LED flash. Lumia 920 has a PureView branded 8.7MP camera with 26mm equiv f2.0 Carl Zeiss lens and high pulse high power dual LED flash. Front camera wise, ATIV S has a 1.9MP camera (Full HD) while the Lumia 920 has a 1.3MP camera (HD).

My Take – Going by experience, it seems the camera on the ATIV S will be practically identical to the camera on the Galaxy S3 and iPhone4S. It’s not a bad camera by any means but it’s not anything to really brag about either as it’s nothing new now. On the other hand, the camera on the Lumia 920 is technically superior in nearly every way. It has a faster (brighter) aperture “brand name” Carl Zeiss certified lens, a slightly higher resolution sensor and something NO OTHER mobile phone camera has which is the Optical Image Stabilization. (OIS for short) This OIS allows you to reduce hand shake blur during low light situations resulting in a sharper image the first time. It means you can take sharper photos of food at dimly lit restaurants, nicer looking night portraits with more visible back scenery etc. Also, Nokia claims that the dual LED flah that Lumia 920 has is a newer generation LED that has a shorter burst with a higher output allowing for closer-to-xenon flash performance. (well, not quite xenon still but yeah…)

Both phones (thanks to Microsoft) has a dedicated 2-stage physical camera shutter button like a “normal” camera on the side of the phone. This allows for a more secure grip, easier self-portraits and just a more natural way to take photos single handed. This is once thing the ATIV S has over the Galaxy S3 while most Nokia phones had this already.

Overall, Lumia 920 wins here for sure. (spec wise at least but should do in real life also once released)

STORAGE

– Samsung ATIV S comes in either 16GB or 32GB built-in with an additional expandable MicroSD card slot for up to 32GB extra. Lumia 920 comes with built-in 32GB storage but does not have any MicroSD support.

My Take – For those who likes to keep tons of music, movies, photos and video recordings on their phone and need more than 32GB of space, ATIV S clearly wins out here due to the expandable MicroSD card support. Considering a brand new 32GB MicroSD card costs around AUD$30, it doesn’t cost much to upgrade the storage space on the ATIV S. But in saying this, many users will find 32GB built-in to be plenty so the merit of MicroSD support only comes into play to those that actually require it.

Samsung ATIV S supports memory expansion via MicroSD support. Unfortunately, Lumia 920 does not but does come with 32GB built-in which should be plenty for most.

 

BATTERY

– Lumia 920 has a non-user-replaceable 2000mAh battery. ATIV S has a 15% larger user-replaceable 2300mAh battery. Lumia 920’s internal battery has built-in wireless charging support.

My Take – Samsung has actually not stated any run times for the ATIV S. But considering it has a bigger battery than the Galaxy S3 while the display is same and CPU being not any more power hungry, I can only assume the battery life should be as good or better than the Galaxy S3. With that assumption, we can then make an educated guess that the battery life of the ATIV S will be better than the Lumia 920 going by the battery times that Nokia stated on their web site. (as Galaxy S3 specs state a longer battery life than the Lumia 920’s specs)

As I mentioned in my Lumia 920 & Lumia 820 Comparison article, another big difference here is that the battery on the ATIV S is user replaceable. Yes, some will argue that you can just carry one of those portable battery chargers but I’m sure you would rather just carry a fully charged spare battery to simply swap over without needing some portable charger dangling on it during use.

One advantage of the Lumia 920 over the ATIV S is that 920 supports wireless charging out of the box. Although it would have been nice if Nokia slipped in the wireless charger in the box also, at least you can buy a nice looking wireless charger pad / pouch / dock etc and just place it on top to charge the phone without needing to find the end of the cable to plug into the phone charging socket. (also not have to worry about damaging the charging socket etc)

Lumia 920 has built-in wireless charging support. Charger is optional however.

 

CONCLUSION

Both phones are not yet released to the market so I can’t make a definite conclusion which is better. But really, I’ve outlined the major hardware differences so hopefully you can make a better decision as to which is better for your needs and wants. The OS experience should be near identical due to both using the same Windows Phone 8 OS. However, Nokia is investing a lot more into its Lumia phones and have some excellent Nokia exclusive apps lined up for it. Adding to that the non-shaky OIS the Lumia 920 camera has and the Super Sensitive touch which would be a god-send for those with long nails or gloves on, I do believe 920 is the better device overall for the masses between these two. We’ll know more once both are out. =)

 

Nokia Lumia 920 vs 820 – What’s different?

Left: Lumia 920 Right: Lumia 820

I’m sure many are trying to figure out which one is better or more suitable between the two new Lumia phones. So here is my take to aid in your decision between the two just announced Nokia Lumia 820 and Lumia 920 Windows Phone 8 phones. This is going to be really concise and to the point with my 2cents worth of comments for each.

Lumia 920 vs Lumia 820

Build/Design

920 is a bit bigger and heavier as can be seen by the photos. But there isn’t much in it really. Looks is a matter of taste so I’ll pass. 920 has a monocoque polycarbonate body not any different to N9, 800, 900 while the 820 is more unique with a monocoque interchangeable outer shell that can accommodate different colors, shapes, protection, features (such as wireless charging) etc.

My take – I much prefer the design and functionality of the 820 over the 920. Interchangeable shell is an awesome idea and it could mean that we may see a lot of 3rd party “shells” with different shapes and function. (e.g. shell with extended size battery etc) it also means that you don’t really have to use a separate case that could make the phone more ugly and bulky. Just buy another shell and voila!, it becomes as good as new again. This also allowed 820 to get a MicroSD card support and user-replaceable battery which the “flagship” 920 lacks. Seriously, it should have been the other way around don’t you think?

Interchangeable shells are only possible on the cheaper Lumia 820. Why Nokia? Why?

Display

920 is bigger (4.5″) with higher WXGA (1280×768) resolution vs 820 with 4.3″ WVGA (800×480) resolution. 920 is IPS LCD (PureMotion HD+) while 820 is RGB AMOLED (CBD). Both come with Super Sensitive touch screen technology.

My take – Size difference might not be that much but the resolution difference is very big. On the 920, photos will look sharper and more detailed, fonts will look sharper and easier to read and allow you to browse full web pages easier due to better defined writing and elements while being zoomed out. Not all is lost with the 820 however as it has a very nice RGB-array AMOLED which has near infinite contrast and super deep blacks. I expect both phones to have excellent sunlight visibility although 920 should be better than the 820.

Speed

Both have the same super fast dual core CPU and 1GB RAM. Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus.

My take – Nothing much to say here really. Both use Snapdragon S4 Plus SoC with the same CPU and GPU onboard. CPU is a dual-core Krait which is blazingly fast. It’s a next generation dual-core so don’t assum that it’s not much different to the one on the iPhone4s. It’s a MUCH faster CPU that is as fast or faster than the Exynos quad-core CPU used on the Samsung Galaxy S3. In terms of the GPU, it’s Qualcomm’s Adreno 225 which is fast enough also. Technically speaking, the 820 may be faster for games due to having a lower resolution screen which is less taxing to the GPU. But really, I don’t expect any visible speed difference between the two.

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 Plus is powering both the Lumia 820 and Lumia 920

Storage

920 has non-expandable 32GB built-in. 820 has 8GB built-in but is expandable via MicroSD card.

My take – This is one area where I think 820 is much better than the 920. MicroSD memory card is super cheap these days so essentially, buying the 820 with 8GB built-in and spending an extra $20-30 for a 32GB MicroSD card will result in 40GB storage space while the 920 is stuck with the built-in 32GB no matter what. Although MicroSD on the 820 isn’t hot-swappable, it still is far better than not having one at all on the 920. A big mistake by Nokia I reckon. Another design over function decision which I hate.

There is no MicroSD support on the 920. But there is one on the 820. Go figure.

Camera

920 has 8.7MP BSI sensor PureView camera with 26mm equiv. FoV (at 16:9) f2.0 Carl Zeiss lens with Optical Image Stabilization (OIS). 820 has a more standard 8MP camera with same 26mm equiv. FoV (at 16:9) but tiny bit slower f2.2 Carl Zeiss lens and no OIS. Both the Lumia 920 and the 820 has a more powerful high pulse dual LED flash. (Yes, the lens focal length and the flash looks different in the official Nokia specs page between the 2 phones. But Damian has personally confirmed via twitter that both cameras have the same specs for them)

My take – This is one of the major differentiators between the Lumia 920 and the rest of the competition including its little brother 820. Lumia 920 is the only current smartphone with a fixed lens that has OIS. Think of Canon IS or Nikon VR but expect as good or even better in terms of vibration reduction than their DSLR counterparts. (according to Nokia) 920 camera is labeled as PureView while 820 isn’t. I can only assume that is the case because of the better hardware used on the 920. (lens, sensor, OIS) I am unsure however if they are using any special “PureView” imaging techniques in addition to the better hardware. (which the 808 PureView utilizes) What does all this mean to the you? 920 should allow better low-light hand held photos and more stable less-shaky video recording than pretty much all mobile phones when it gets released. It means you can take slow shutter slow-sync flash photography with far less blur than any other for much better looking night portrait shots. However, do realize that it does not stop moving motion as it isn’t doing anything unique that other digital cameras has been doing for years. At least we can now enjoy the same kind of benefits as the proper digital cameras on our mobile phone. So I give big credit for Nokia in providing OIS to the mobile phones world.

As you can clearly see above, the Lumia 920 (on the right) allows for less jerky videos than what we are currently used to on our mobile phone’s video recording.

Battery

920 has a bigger non-user-replaceable 2000mAh battery while 820 has a user-replaceable 1650mAh battery.

My take – Even though 920 has a bigger battery, it also has a bigger screen which could be sapping more juice than the smaller and more efficient AMOLED sporting 820. So expect the battery life to be very similar.(Spec wise however, Nokia does state that 920 has around a 20% longer battery life overall. But there is one other big difference and that is the fact that 820’s battery is user replaceable. This means you can simply pop off the back cover, chuck in a spare fully charged battery, seat the back cover back on and off you go with another full charge. On the case of the Lumia 920, it’s pretty much the same case as iPhone or previous Lumia 800/900 phones where you either do with what you have or carry around a spare battery portable charger. I don’t know who is making the decisions at Nokia but seriously, 920 should have had a replaceable battery also. Prettiness over function is just not my style and it never was the case for Nokia either until recently. Grrrrr.

Price

No official pricing available at the time of writing.

My take – Obviously, 920 will be more expensive than the 820. I can only expect the 920 to be around the similar price mark as the competition’s flagship cameras such as Samsung Galaxy S3.

Which one is better for you? The one you can afford really. =)


So which is better?

Lumia 920 of course. But Lumia 820 does better than 920 in some parts. So this is where I get confused as to what Nokia was thinking. Why not combine the positives from both phones and roll it into one for their flagship phone? Why make some parts of their flagship phone lacking compared to its cheaper model?

Either way, it seems you can never have something perfect in every way. Maybe some people will disagree completely with what I think. So yeah, just going by the specs, there is no doubt that the Lumia 920 is the technically superior phone.

But in saying that, if the lower resolution display of the Lumia 820 is a non-issue for you, it actually is just as powerful and just as capable as its bigger brother and in some ways is better. I’m sure many will find that the camera on the 820 to be plenty for their daily needs also. It’s not like the camera is any worse than the current crop of top-end smartphones anyways. Lastly but not least, Lumia 820 will obviously be a lot cheaper as well which I’m sure will play a big part in many people’s decision.

So there you go, at the end of the day, it all comes down to what you are comfortable paying.

 

Full Specs
LUMIA 820 – http://www.nokia.com/global/products/phone/lumia820/specifications/
LUMIA 920 – http://www.nokia.com/global/products/phone/lumia920/specifications/

Informal Q&A with Damian Dinning @ Nokia on 808 PureView

I wish I was holding one right now. =(

Nokia 808 PureView was a bigger hit than expected by most. Yes, it had the super-fantastic mega-awesome camera but many criticized the rest of its specs such as the low screen resolution, less-popular Symbian OS, thickness etc. But despite all that, the almighty camera alone was good enough to make all the media fall in love with it and then some. Anyways, I want one soooo badly but I can’t really afford one right now and it doesn’t help when it’s not even going to be released in Australia where I live. Very upset indeed. I would have loved to write up my own 808 Pureview camera review much like my previous N8 camera review. =(

Nonetheless, I still had some questions about its specs, its capabilities, what Damian@Nokia had in store for us in the future etc so I shot off an informal email and thankfully he responded. We ended up having a few emails going back and forth exchanging our thoughts. I am basically going to copy and paste most parts of the email but please note that not all the numbered questions below were actually asked as a question. Damian just responded to some of my thoughts and I just included them as part of this post as I thought it was worth sharing.

Questions & Answers

1. What is the maximum ISO value capable by the 808’s sensor technically?

“1600 is the maximum available”

2. Why was it limited to 1600 when it surely could have done at least 3200 or 6400 going by the noise level shown at 1600?

“There is actually more gain applied than n8. N8’s ISO range was 100 – 800 which is 8x gain, whereas 808 is 50 – 1600 which is effectively 4x more gain than the n8. This was made possible through various improvements in the sensor processing as well as of course oversampling.”

3. Is there a possibility to get an update that enables higher ISO later?

“Theoretically possible, but we spent a LOT of time considering this and felt that in manual ISO providing 1600 was the best way forward for those users who knew what they were doing. In other modes it’s limited to 800 to ensure very high satisfaction related to what we knew would be a very high expectation. The challenge we have sometimes is in making sure people respond in a positive way. We know we can’t please everyone. So whilst some may tolerate the higher noise level, others may aim to create a negative reputation based around noise being higher than expected. We wanted to make sure we really delight people, sometimes that may mean a trade-off in the eyes of some to achieve that. It’s always very challenging to cater for so many different opinions. It’s one of the main reasons we spend so much time listening to people to try and get the balance right for as many as possible.”

4. What is the auto-ISO range used when recording videos? (I know you don’t do videos but just in case you knew)

“It’s equivalent to 800 ISO”

5. Is the ADC used in 808 Pureview 12bit or 14bit?

“Not sure if I am allowed to reveal such info…”

6. It seems it’s quite clear that PureView technology will be used in future WP8 Nokia phones. I admit that I’m walking on thin ice here but are you able to even hint that what we will see relatively soon (within 2012-2013) could possibly be the “same” (sensor size/MP count) or “better” than what we currently have in 808 PureView?

“What we have stated is that you will see PureView used in future products, but we have not stated when or in what way. PureView is about high performance optics, high performance sensors and leading edge image processing. Those elements can be used in a number of different ways and you will see us applying these in dfferent ways.”

"I'm not a fan of dong stuff just because digital cameras do and I don't think any digital camera currently available as what I would consider to be a reference."

7. Will we ever see a real enthusiast version of a device using PureView? (full manual aperture/shutter speed control, RAW support, jog dial or rotating lens ring controls etc) Basically more of a high-end compact camera with phone capabilities. =)

“There is a lot of change currently and I expect a lot more to come. Looking at what digital cameras is like looking in the rear view mirror. As DP review reported this week as a result of the soon to be available camera extras for Lumia products, the camera industry is now moving slowly and being left behind, still stuck to years of legacy. We are breaking free from that legacy and the 808 is the first true example of this. This means we will NOT implement elements just because they are in digital cameras, but only if we feel they make sense for the variety of users we aim to serve.”

8. Were any of the listed features that I put down as my wish list to you&Nokia been in any way mentioned in any part of your meetings? (I mean in general. I’m not saying that I was the first for any of these ideas) Such as: Displaying more exposure information at time of exposure/focus, custom function volume buttons, noise reduction setting, shutter speed priority mode etc)

“What I can say is that all of those we had discussed already ourselves. Some may come in the future, while others are not possible and others we chose not to do for various reasons, most likely because there is a missing enabler of some kind. In summary if they come they come, if they don’t, probably a very good reason why not.”

9. I can understand how high ISO noise could result in “See I told you, what do you expect cramming 41MP into a tiny sensor?” type of comments. But at the same time, I also feel that it’s little things like this which make it less of a camera than it could be. It’s a double-edged sword I know. As you are oversampling anyways, you could have made ISO 3200 option only available at 5MP or 3MP PureView mode and not Full resolution. (Note – this was not a question and was part of our email conversation later on)

“The idea of possibly having a higher ISO setting just in PureView mode is an interesting one, will take a look, but can’t promise anything, I think there was another limitation to 1600 as well but can’t remember what it was as it was academic in the end because of the reasons I outlined before.”

10. Many actually now think lower mega pixel (=density) has better IQ. Nearly all of my friends/collegues care more about low noise without flash than zoom/crop/high MP also. If Nokia made 808 Pureview with same size sensor but made it 5MP with RAW/advanced features/ISO12800 capability, I would snap one up no matter what! (Note – this was not a question and was part of our email conversation later on)

“Regards to 5mp vs 41mp, this wouldn’t have enabled zoom and that was our main driver behind the hi res sensor. 5mp sensor of the same size actually would not give any dfferent performance. Calculations have shown that the with the oversampling our performance is the same as would be possible with a same size 5mp sensor. So this way you get the best of both :)”

I would like to thank Damian Dinning again for taking time answering my questions and exchanging our different thoughts.

Pentile matrix AMOLED comparison – Galaxy Note vs Lumia 800 vs Omnia 7

Galaxy Note vs Lumia 800 vs Omnia 7

Here are some photos of 3 mobile phones’s displays with Pentile RGBG matrix AMOLED. For more info on PenTile matrix AMOLED, please see this wiki.

Samsung Galaxy Note = 5.3 inch 1280 x 800 resolution (285 PPI)
Nokia Lumia 800 = 3.7 inch 800 x 480 resolution (252 PPI)
Samsung Omnia 7 = 4.0 inch 800 x 480 resolution (233 PPI) (This is same screen as Samsung Galaxy S1)

Note – As I don’t have a very high quality lens on my Panasonic GH2 camera nor a macro lens ,the photos aren’t as good as I hoped it would be but it should still show you what pentile-matrix looks like up close on these phones and also show you minor differences between the 3 phones of the same text and nearly the same size. You can click on each photo in this article for a much larger version. Please ignore the slight blurriness in some photos as that’s not due to the screen but due to being out of focus. Also ignore the colors as that may be due to slight difference in white balance of each photo.

Galaxy Note vs Lumia 800 vs Omnia 7

100% crop – Galaxy Note vs Lumia 800 vs Omnia 7

All the photos are in the order of:
Left – Galaxy Note
Middle – Lumia 800
Right – Omnia 7


Please click on each “W” image for a much larger 100% crop version.

Above image is already 100% crop size. Please click on each phone’s image for a much larger non-100% crop version.

Notice how each of the Note’s characters that are roughly the same size (or even smaller) actually consists of more pixels than the Lumia 800 or Omnia 7. Just from the enlarged 100% crop photos, it’s not very easy to tell just how much difference there is between each other.  But in real life where it’s much smaller, this subtle difference makes the Note’s higher PPI display to be far more crisper and pretty much get away with having a pentile-matrix AMOLED even when reading even the tiniest of texts. This doesn’t so much apply on the Lumia 800 and more so on the Omnia 7 due to their lower resolution and PPI. However, Lumia 800 with its slightly higher PPI is still better than the Omnia 7 and it is definitely noticeable when looking at small texts.

Many people just bad-mouth pentile matrix AMOLED for what it is but when the PPI gets over 250 PPI like on the Lumia 800, the visual negatives are very much minimized and quite difficult to tell unless you point it out exactly. When it’s something like 285 or over like that on the Galaxy Note or Galaxy Nexus (315 PPI), it practically becomes a non-issue and now you are just pixel peeping just for the sake of pixel peeping. Unless you always use your phone from about an inch away from your eye. Well, my naked eye can’t even focus that close so if you can, I think you have super powers. =p