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!
– 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.
– 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.
– 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.
– 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)
– 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.
– 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)
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. =)
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.
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