Nokia Lumia 920 vs. the world: Spec showdown

Nokia’s newly introduced Lumia 920 is the company’s next best hope to woo smartphone users away from Android and iPhone handsets and over to the world of Windows Phone 8. The Lumia 920 is an attractive device featuring an impressive screen resolution that rivals the pixel density of the iPhone’s retina display, a great camera, wireless charging technology, and NFC. Nokia will also offer several third-party apps exclusive to Nokia devices such as Angry Birds Roost, a Bloomberg Windows Phone app, and a new version of Vimeo.

The 920 sounds like an impressive device, but will it be enough to convince you to pick up a Windows Phone? Nokia hopes so as the company has struggled to gain a foothold in the fast-moving smartphone market. The company in July reported that it had shipped just 4 million Lumia devices worldwide between April and the end of June. To put that in perspective Apple during a similar time frame sold 26 million iPhones. Even Research in Motion’s latest quarterly results showed the company managed to do better than Nokia, shipping nearly double the number of BlackBerry phones as Nokia did Lumia devices.

Nokia’s 2011 bet on Windows Phone has yet to pay off, but is the Lumia 920 the phone to finally make all the company’s recent struggles worthwhile? We won’t be able to say for sure until the device ships later this year—Windows Phone 8 is expected to launch on October 29, days after Microsoft’s Windows 8 launch.

In the meantime, we’ve put the Lumia 920 in a side-by-side specs comparison against some of the latest smartphones, including the newly announced Samsung Ativ S, Apple’s iPhone 4S, Samsung Galaxy S III, and the HTC One X.

Processor

Even though quad-core processors are one of the most talked about features of smartphones and tablets, our showdown competitors are all still using dual-core chips, at least for their U.S. models. The Lumia 920 is no exception, with a 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor inside. Samsung’s Galaxy S III and Ativ S both feature a 1.5GHz processor, as does the HTC One X. The only exception is the iPhone 4S, which features a 1GHz chip. That may change soon, however, as some rumors suggest Apple might put a quad-core chip in its next iPhone, expected to debut on Wednesday, September 12.

Display

Smartphone manufacturers including Samsung and HTC like to tout the high-definition capabilities of their smartphones by boasting freely about 720p (1280-by-720) display resolution. Apple has taken a different tack, making up for its lower resolution screen by pushing the increased pixel density of its sharp and crystal clear iPhone 4S displays with 326 pixels per inch. Nokia has decided to embrace both strategies on the Lumia 920 by providing a 4.5-inch WXGA IPS display with 1280-by-768 pixel resolution and 332 pixels per inch.

Camera

With so many people giving up on point-and-shoot cameras in favor of smartphone image capture, a quality camera is a must on a modern handset. Nokia’s camera has a slightly higher megapixel count than the current crop of competitors, with 8.7 megapixels, as opposed to the 8-megapixel sensor on our other contenders. The big differentiators with the Lumia 920, according to Nokia, are its image stabilization technology and its ability to capture images in low light situations.

The 920 uses floating lens technology to reduce image shake; there are tiny springs inside the phone that suspend and stabilize the device’s camera. The result, Nokia claims, will be images with less blur and smoother videos (1080p at 30 frames per second), even if you walk while recording.

The Lumia 920’s camera also has longer shutter speeds to allow the camera to capture five to ten times more light. This feature, the company says, means the phone can take great shots in low light situations without requiring a flash. Nokia’s camera demonstration on Wednesday looked impressive, but we’ll have to wait and see how the Lumia 920 performs in real world conditions later this year before buying into the company’s claims.

Storage

Nokia opted not to put expandable storage in the Lumia 920, although a microSD slot is in the mid-range 820 also announced Wednesday. Instead, Nokia went with one storage option, 32GB, for the Lumia 920. That’s a surprise considering Microsoft allows for removable SD storage with Windows Phone 8, a feature missing from Windows Phone 7.

Apple offers 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB models of the iPhone 4S, Samsung’s Ativ S has 16GB or 32GB of storage plus a microSD card slot, as does the Galaxy S III (depending on your carrier). HTC’s One X offers just 16GB of storage.

Dimensions

The Lumia 920 may have a great display and a fancy camera, but at 6.52 ounces, it also happens to be the heaviest phone in our spec showdown. Apple offers the next heaviest contender, with the iPhone 4S tipping the scales at 4.9 ounces.

Nokia won’t win any slimmest phone contests either with the Lumia 920: It’s 0.42 inches thick, as compared to the 0.37-inch profile of the iPhone 4S. Samsung’s two phones are the slimmest of our comparative set, measuring just 0.34 inches in depth.

Beyond the standard specs, Nokia is also offering wireless charging technology so you don’t have to mess around with cords when you need to put some juice in your battery. The company has also worked out deals with Virgin Atlantic and The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf to put publicly available charging plates for Nokia devices in airline lounges and cafés.

Apps headed to the Lumia 920 include Angry Birds Roost, a Nokia-exclusive title for three months that features Angry Birds-themed news, level walkthroughs, and downloadable ringtones. A new Vimeo app including a three month trial of Vimeo Plus will be available to Nokia Lumia phones, and the Bloomberg Hub for business and finance news will be Lumia-only for three months.

Check out our included chart for more spec-by-spec comparisons. Nokia is the first of many mobile device announcements scheduled in the coming weeks. Motorola and Verizon on Wednesday introduced three new Droid Razr smartphones. Amazon is expected to announce a new Kindle Fire tablet on Thursday. HTC has a launch event scheduled for September 19. And, as mentioned earlier, Apple next Wednesday is expected to unveil the so-called iPhone 5.

For comprehensive coverage of the Android ecosystem, visit Greenbot.com.

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