Android vs the competition: the Nokia Lumia 920 and the iPhone 5
Unless you were living under a rock, you probably have heard that last night the iPhone 5 was announced. If you were living under a rock, it’s a good thing you apparently have internet under that rock so you can read this post. The more diligent tech enthusiasts out there are probably also aware that about a week ago Nokia announced the Nokia Lumia 920. This represents the first announced Windows 8 phone, and so gives us an insight into what we can expect on Windows 8 phones.
Now I know what you’re all saying. You’re saying “But Bob, this is ANDROID Australia, get this Apple and Nokia rage rage rage expletives expletives rage”. However here at Android Australia we like to keep up to date with what’s happening across the entire tech world. Remember, liking Android but respecting the competition makes you an Android fan, but liking Android and raging at the competition makes you a fanboi, and nobody likes a fanboi.
So here we are, just exactly how does the competition measure up? Well, for all you table lovers (and who doesn’t love a good table?) here’s the juicy numbers:
Writers’s Note: Some of the iPhone 5′s specifications were not available at the time of publishing. I’ll update this when they are.
Samsung Galaxy S III (4G)
HTC One X(L)
Apple iPhone 5
Nokia Lumia 920
|Operating System||Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.x||Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.x||iOS 6||Windows Phone 8|
|Processor||1.4 GHz quad-core A9||NVIDIA quad-core 1.5 GHz(Dual-core S4 1.5 GHz)||Apple A6||Dual-core S4 1.5 GHz|
|Screen Technology||4.8″ HD SUPER AMOLED||4.7″ SUPER LCD 2||4.0″ IPS LCD||4.5″ IPS LCD|
|Resolution||1280×720||720 x 1280 pixels||640 x 1136 pixels||768 x 1280 pixels|
|Rear Camera||8.0MP||8.0MP||8.0 MP||8.7 MP|
|Front Camera||1.9MP||1.3MP||1.3 MP||1.2 MP|
|RAM||1GB (2GB)||1GB||1GB?||1 GB|
|Storage||16/32/64 GB||32 GB (16GB)||16/32/64 GB||32 GB|
|Battery||2100 mAh||1800 mAh||2000 mAh|
For those that don’t want to read the tables, here’s my little round-up of what will likely be some of Android’s stiffest competition for the next year.
Apple iPhone 5
This phone needs no introduction. You all know what an iPhone is, so I’m just going to skip straight to the good stuff and tell you what’s new about the latest iteration of the iPhone.
The new phone is an all new design, but retains a lot of the hallmark looks of the iPhone 4/4s including an all aluminium and glass body. The body has been elongated to allow a longer, but no wider, 4 inch screen. The vertical pixels have been dumped to allow a 5th row of icons and keep exactly the same DPI as the previous models. The phone has gotten substantially thinner though, measuring in at a very svelte 7.6mm, making it the thinnest phone in this lineup. The old docking connector has been shrunk down, so if you own old iPhone docks, you’ll need to buy some adaptors for them to work with the new phone.
The new iPhone predictably adds LTE which makes you worry about the battery life given how thin it is. Despite that Apple claims that battery life is slightly better than the 4S, which already has good battery life, though of course that’ll depend on just how much you use that LTE radio.
The iPhone receives the expected bump to the processor and has received an all new camera. The new camera promises better low-light photography, faster image, the ability to record video and take photos at the same time (like the One X) as well as a panorama mode (like Ice Cream Sandwich). This will be a welcome bump, as the camera on the iPhone 4S was struggling to keep up with the latest offerings by other companies.
Nokia Lumia 920
If there was ever a product a company needed to do well, the Lumia 920 is it. Nokia has thrown their full support behind Windows Phone, which so far hasn’t made a significant dent in the market. This is mostly because Windows Phone 7 had very restrictive hardware requirements, meaning that on paper Windows Phones fell well short of Android specifications, even when built by the same company. Windows Phone 8 lifts those restrictions, meaning Nokia could finally build a phone with specifications worthy of 2012.
The 920 certainly has those specifications, including an HD LCD screen and the same Snapdragon S4 that’s found in the One XL and has some impressive benchmark scores. The 920 has the distinctive polycarbonate “pillow” shape found on phones like the N9 or Nokia Lumia 910, and I love it’s available in bright colors, including White, Black, Yellow, Red, and Grey. Considering the One X is built out of almost the same material, it makes me wish that it was available in colors other than White or Grey.
Although it’s been surrounded with a bit of controversy, Nokia has poured a lot of effort into the camera, as befits Nokia. This includes “floating” the lens on springs to reduce vibration, allowing better shots on the move and better low-light shots. A recent comparison does in fact show that the Lumia 920 does best the Galaxy S3 and One X in low-light photography, though the Androids did put up a solid show. Expect Nokia to retain its reputation of providing some of the best cameras available. The 920 also offers wireless charging (like the Galaxy S3), which is a nifty feature.
Of course the success of the Lumian 920 depends largely on the success of Windows Phone 8, or is it the other way around? Either way, both Windows Phone 8 and the Lumia 920 will only succeed if the app developers come. This is one area where Android and iOS have a clear and huge advantage over Microsoft and Nokia, both Android and iOS have well stocked app marketplaces with many high-quality apps, whereas convincing app developers to start supporting a third smartphone operating system has proven a difficult task for Microsoft and Co. Microsoft will now offer a unified interface across PCs, tablets, and mobile phones with Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, time will tell if that can convince the developers to give the platform the apps it desperately needs.
These two phones are very different in their background. In the iPhone5 we have the pioneer of the new smartphone era receiving a fairly evolutionary (but still substantial) upgrade on the previous generation. It improves upon the iPhone 4S mostly in areas where the previous year has left the 4S feeling a bit outdated (like LTE radio, screen size, camera, processing power) without changing the iPhone formula too much, as we would expect from Apple.
The Nokia Lumia 920 is a very different beast though. Here we have an mobile giant that’s struggled to make an impact in the modern smartphone world. This is the first truly modern phone to come out of Nokia in years, unhampered by an operating system that was either outdated (Symbian), dead on arrival (Meego), or forced the phone to use yesteryear specifications (Windows Phone 7). Nokia therefore needs the 920 to demonstrate it can still make a killer phone in the modern smartphone era.
On paper it’s very hard to separate out these phones, but we know a smartphone is about a lot more than just what’s on paper. The Lumia 920 is new and vibrant, with a new and vibrant operating system, and… well at least vibrant colors to match. But in the smartphone world, where the success of a platform depends on the apps that go with it, new can be a handicap as much as it can be a virtue. The iPhone certainly doesn’t have that problem, with the largest and most mature app market available and a large and loyal fanbase. However the endless yearly iterative updates can present its own problems. You only need to peruse tech forums (and personal conversations) to read about some iPhone users that feel that the iPhone is getting a bit boring, and are tempted by the faster-evolving Android.
Either way, the next year is going to be a fun time for all of us!
Editor’s Note: The iPhone 5′s 4G LTE network will supposedly work in Australia. The iPhone 5 also does not feature NFC, whereas the competition does.