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Nokia Lumia 920 Review : Apple iPhone 5 vs. Samsung Galaxy Note 2 vs. Nokia Lumia 920 Camera Capture Comparison!

Nokia Lumia 920 Review by Rogene Esparcia, MD.
Edited by Mark of TP

First off, I'm not a tech writer -- so bear with me. I'm just your regular gadget fan sharing his experiences as an owner of this amazing flagship Windows Phone 8 release.

I can still vividly recall the awe and enthusiasm I felt while watching the online livestream of the announcement of Nokia's 'make or break' comeback flagship phone - the Nokia Lumia 920 - September last year. In fact, after that event, I had sleepless nights wondering when I can finally get my hands on the device. I just knew that Nokia Lumia 920 with its unprecedented imaging capabilities would be a perfect upgrade to my aging Nokia N8.

I saved money for the handset for a few months but Nokia just took way too long to release it in the Philippines that I eventually decided to just spend the amount first on iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy Note 2. Just this week, however, Nokia Lumia 920 finally became available at the Nokia Store in Ayala Centrio Mall of Cagayan de Oro City and after so many months of waiting, I decided break the other piggy bank I'm keeping under my bed to finally purchase one.

Since I now have the 3 top smartphones in the world in my hands, I figured it would be good to review and compare the three, but focusing more on the Nokia Lumia 920.

Unboxing

As Nokia is trying to promote using recycled materials to help save mother Earth, it's understandable that Nokia Lumia 920 comes with a simple, blue carton box.

nokia lumia 920 review
The box may be simple but the smartphone it houses is extraordinary.

nokia lumia 920 review
Inside the package, you'll find the phone itself, the microUSB to USB cable connector, the charger, user manual, and the earphones.

nokia lumia 920 review

Nokia Lumia 920 flaunts a 4.5 inch IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen with resolution of 1280 x 768 and 332 ppi pixel density (iPhone 5's retina display, by the way, has 326 ppi) - this screen, protected by Gorilla Glass 2, features Puremotion HD+ eliminating blue and delivering fast refresh rate, and has ClearBlack display for deep blacks and improved legibility of screen display when using the handset outdoors or under direct sunlight. Other key technical specifications include a Dual-core 1.5 Ghz Krait Qualcomm Snapdragon processor running Windows Phone 8 operating system, 1GB of RAM, 32gb of non-expandable internal storage, Full HD video recorder, and an 8.7 MegaPixel main camera with LED flash, Carl Zeiss Optics and Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) PureView innovation.

I know that the above-mentioned specs aren't really all that jaw-dropping especially when you consider that dual core processors have already been superseded by quad core and even octa core ones. But do we simply rely on specs sheet alone to judge how good a phone is? Well, I happen to think that we should judge the performance of a phone based on actual usage. Believe me, there are a lot of smartphones out in the market with higher specifications than Nokia Lumia 920 but they lag more!

Design

Nokia Lumia 920 shell is made of polycarbonate plastic. Yep, it's not metal. Nevertheless, Nokia Lumia 920 still feels great to hold and looks extremely elegant even when placed beside other flagship handsets like Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and iPhone 5, as shown in this photo:


nokia lumia 920 review

I remember trolls bashing the Nokia Lumia 920's 185 gram weight when the phone was unveiled last year. I hate how some people seem to complain about everything. Yes, Nokia Lumia 920 is heavier compared to the ginormous Samsung Galaxy Note 2, which is 180 grams, but believe me, the Finnish flagship is no means way too heavy nor too hard to carry around.

nokia lumia 920 review
So which back is sexiest? For me, the curves on Nokia Lumia 920 make it the most interesting of the three. Samsung Galaxy Note 2's behind looks quite generic.

Let's turn on each device for a quick comparison of their user interface.

nokia lumia 920 review

I'm not sure if you'll agree with me but I think Nokia Lumia 920's homescreen is the best of the bunch. Oh, if only you can see the flipping of the tiles I'm sure you will agree with me. The tile-based homescreen looks cool and is new to the eyes. You can easily change the sizes of those tiles to small, medium or large and you can choose which apps to pin on the homescreen and watch the ones that support this feature flip to show updates. Unfortunately though, for people who are into wallpapers, you can't really have those on a Lumia but you can choose your own photo to use on the lock screen.

Operating System and Specs Issue

Mobile phones these days have such powerhouse specs that are almost beyond my imagination. The best example would be the newly-announced Samsung Galaxy S4 with OCTA-core (8 cores!!), which I doubt is even necessary but anyway, I'll save that for another post. The best thing about owning these three flagship devices is that I have the pleasure of using all the the top mobile operating systems currently - namely, Android Jellybean 4.1.2, iOS 6 and the new challenger, Windows Phone 8 - on a daily basis and seeing for myself how one fares against another.

nokia lumia 920 review

In terms of specifications, my Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is the best of the bunch. But I doubt if that truly gives the handset an advantage vs. iPhone 5 and Nokia Lumia 920. I've owned several Android handsets in the past and I know that the biggest problem of Android is that it lags and it still lags even if it runs on a system with the best specs available. So I guess SGNote2's innards will only serve it well when you compare the device with other phones running the same operating system.

On the other hand, iOS is stable and lag-free even if it runs on a handset with slightly less powerful innards than that of SGNote2. iPhone 5 definitely delivers a far smoother user experience than any Android smartphone you can find in the market (and I don't have to be an Apple fan to tell you that). And what amazed me is the Nokia Lumia 920’s performance with Windows Phone 8 rivals that of Apple's flagship device. It's also lag free and touch response is just as good. But I think Windows Phone 8 is even cooler than iOS because its user interface is fresh and it has this feature called People Hub, which allows me to easily manage my Facebook and Twitter accounts. I regularly view the news feed and update my status in social networking sites and I appreciate that WP8 serves my needs in that department well enough.

Camera Battle!

As expected of a Nokia flagship release, Nokia Lumia 920 has a really, really good camera. But what sets it apart from all other Nokia handsets that came before it is that its 8.7 MegaPixel shooter features a back-illuminated sensor for truly enhanced low-light performance and Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) - made possible by a floating lens - serving as anti-shake feature!

nokia lumia 920 review
The camera also features a wide angle lens covering more area or delivering greater field of view.

Since I have three of the best cameraphones in the world today (too bad, I don't have Nokia 808 PureView), I've taken it upon myself to do this three-way camera capture comparison to show you just how well Nokia Lumia 920 fares against its main competitors in the imaging department. All pictures are unedited and haven't been retouched. Kindly click for full resolution view.

Batch 1: The following pictures were taken using Auto mode and under broad daylight.

iPhone 5

Nokia Lumia 920

I think all photos in this batch look good although the one taken using Nokia Lumia 920 is the brightest.

Batch 2: Loud hues, Blues and Yellows, under the sun!

Samsung Galaxy Note 2

iPhone 5

Nokia Lumia 920

The shot taken using Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is obviously over-saturated. Yes, it looks more lively and vibrant than the other two but I actually prefer the more accurate tones captured by Nokia Lumia 920 and iPhone 5.

Batch 3: Lights are starting to dim! The following pictures were taken indoors using Night mode and with no flash.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2

iPhone 5

Nokia Lumia 920

Here we can see the power of Nokia Lumia 920's camera kicking in. While photos taken using Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and iPhone 5 already look a tad grainy and way paler, details on the Nokia Lumia 920 shot still appear crisp and clear.

Batch 4: Totally Dim the Lights!

Samsung Galaxy Note 2

iPhone 5

Nokia Lumia 920

Nokia Lumia 920 is the king of low light mobile photography. I mean, these photos speak for themselves. According to the Finnish company, Nokia Lumia 920's camera takes in five times more light than the competition. And thanks to its floating lens technology, blurs are minimized even when photos are taken in poorly lit conditions.

Just sharing a few more shots that I took using Nokia Lumia 920:






The Bad

Nokia Lumia 920 is an amazing phone - it looks great, has one of the best cameras out there, and offers a really smooth mobile experience - but it's far from perfect. The biggest issue for me would have to be the limited number of apps. There's no Instagram, which is sad because images taken using this phone are more than worthy of being shared on that photo sharing application. (Rumor has it though that Instagram for Nokia Lumia is already set to be released sometime in May.) Second, the non-removable 2000 mAh Li-Ion battery pack - I think - is just too small for a device with such specifications and as a result, uptime becomes hardly one of the key strengths of this release. Finally, there's no global notification system! Yes, the flipping tiles are cool and all but wouldn't it be nice to have that one place where you can see all of your notifications with one glance.

Final Verdict

From build to imaging capabilities, Nokia Lumia 920 is truly a stellar flagship release. It is because of the quality of this handset that I continue to have high hopes for the brand. If only the Finnish giant advertises this device more (especially in TechPinas), I'm sure more people would be enticed to switch to a Lumia. I think that the only thing that's keeping these WP8 smartphones from truly taking off is the limited number of apps in the Windows Marketplace; I sure hope Microsoft is working on it with urgency. Windows Phone has a long way to go before it becomes as popular as iOS or Android but I believe that with the arrival of more apps, it can definitely become a serious contender to the mobile market crown.

I invite you to try out Nokia Lumia 920. I'm confident that you'll instantly fall in love with it like how I did when I first held the phone. If you want a new and refreshing user interface on a handset with powerhouse capabilities or if you simply want to stand out as smartphone user and not be "like everyone else", the multi-awarded Nokia Lumia 920 is definitely the way to go.

About the Author:

Rogene Esparcia, MD is from Cagayan de Oro City and a practicing Physician. His hobbies include reading tech blogs, photography, and doing any computer-related stuff. Oh, and he's also fond of travelling. You can follow him on twitter - @biosystematics.

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