Published on September 23rd, 2012 | by ~G~9
12 reasons to consider a Lumia 920 over an iPhone 5
Ok so just so we are clear here, I do like iPhones and I think that Apple does make some great products; I still happily own my iPhone 3GS, love my iPod Touch and still have my old Video iPod.
However I, like many, am not so impressed with the iPhone 5 and really do feel that it’s time for people to look at other phones on the market.
iPhone has lead the way for smartphones for a long time, but the competition out there has really heated up over the last couple of years and other manufacturers have caught up and, in some cases, really overtaken Apple’s phone – take a look at the latest Galaxy S3 advert for an example (video below)
One company which hasn’t being doing so well since the smartphone phenomenon is Nokia. Now I was never a Nokia fan back in the company’s heyday. Yes they were good phones and I was jealous of my friends who could play Snake on the bus ride to school – but I never really cared for them.
Roll on several years and when I was looking to upgrade my iPhone 3GS, I was all up for just going for the iPhone 4S and then another phone caught my eye in the store – the Nokia Lumia 800.
It looked good and solidly built. But I wasn’t sure about Windows Phones, after hearing nothing but complaints in the past. But then the sales man in the store happened to have a test one to play with – so I took a look.
Frankly I was impressed immediately. It did everything the iPhone did, but actually had more features that I found very handy (most of which I will get to later) and the screen movement was smoother than my iPhone and any Android phone I’d used to date.
While the WP7.5 OS is different from IOS and Android, it felt good and incredibly simple to use – it just took a little getting used to. To top it off, the phone contract was about £15 cheaper per month than the iPhone 4S’. I took it there and then.
Roll on a year and both Apple and Nokia are launching their next phones (iPhone currently out, Nokia due for release in the next few months). I simply love my Lumia 800 and when Nokia announced the Lumia 920, I was extremely excited. But Apple still had to show off its iPhone 5, so I did wait a bit until all the specs were revealed on the new iPhone before truly making up my mind.
Now they have both been revealed, I will definitely be looking to upgrading my phone early – for the Lumia 920. And here’s 12 reasons why:
[Note: I’m going to start off with some of the smaller features, moving on to the more important ones.]
12. Notification pane:
Ok I don’t actually know the official name for this, and this one might seem silly to some people, but it’s a little panel that appears at the top of your screen when you receive a new text or the phone detects a wireless hotspot.
“Wait. The iPhone has that” – I hear you say? Yes, as far as I’m aware most smartphones do this. But compared to the iPhone, the Nokia version is just so much less frustrating.
I use my phone for music and satnav a lot on the car and, to me, there was nothing more infuriating than using Google maps on iPhone, driving through some random town and suddenly a big message pops up in the centre of the screen saying “Wireless location discovered” and you have to tap the screen to get rid of this box that takes up most of the screen, while trying to navigate traffic and work out where the hell you are. It drives me mad.
On the Nokia the notification for texts and wireless locations appears in a neat, little bar at the very top of the screen, which doesn’t get in the way in the slightest. You can either swipe it away or leave it there and you won’t be disturbed as you drive, or try to change music selection.
11. Windows Phone 8 OS:
Yes Windows and Windows Phone operating systems have in the past have pretty bad press (Vista certainly didn’t help) and the original Windows Phone OS was reportedly very slow and buggy. However, the WP7.5 really changed all that.
The operating system is now very fluid and very easy to use. When you start downloading lots of apps and games, you don’t have endless pages of screens to navigate through like on IOS and Android.
You have two screens. Your home screen features all your main items and these are YOUR main items. You can pin and unpin any app or (almost) any function to the home screen, be it Facebook, YouTube, Google Mail or your contacts list. If you wanted you could have the most basic home screen with only one or two tiles, or go the other way and have hundreds of apps… though I probably wouldn’t advise that – it’ll take a long time to scroll down through them all and it would be pointless, because…
The second screen features all of your apps and functions. It’s effectively a long list of programs for you to scroll through.
However, unlike IOS, it’s all in alphabetical order and you can jump to any letter easily – just tap on a letter at a section start. For example tap the ‘B’ above your B-lettered apps and you are shown the alphabet, where you then tap the designated letter and you will jump straight to it.
Now there is one exception to the rule I mention above, and that is the games. All of your games are featured neatly in your Xbox Live app. This includes ‘official’ Xbox Live titles and all your indie downloads. Again, if you have a lot of games to choose from, it’s very handy having them all in an alphabetical list in one location.
10. Live Tiles:
One of the features that sold me on my Lumia 800 was the Live Tiles. It’s a simple idea really, certain apps are able to keep you up to date with just a glance on the start screen.
A Live Tile will continuously update itself, feeding handy bits of information to the tile, meaning you don’t necessarily need to actually open the app to see the latest news. Different apps do slightly different things and not all apps have Live Tiles, but when companies do make use of this feature, it’s pretty handy and cool.
09. Office and SkyDrive:
Yet another feature that sold me on a Windows Phone was the use of Office and Microsoft’s cloud storage, SkyDrive.
All Windows Phones come with Office and SkyDrive for free. SkyDrive is available on the iPhone, but Office still isn’t available in an official capacity, except for OneNote it seems.
You will be surprised by how useful Office is on your phone. It’s not quite the full Office you’ll find on your computer, but it works really well, allowing you to seamlessly upload to your SkyDrive from your computer and then read and edit your documents further directly on your phone.
There’s been many a post on Bit Loaders which I have edited or written on my phone, it works brilliantly.
SkyDrive also links directly to your videos and photos on your phone. So you can take a picture and instantly save it to SkyDrive.
08. Bing and Nokia Maps:
Yes you read that right, I said Bing Maps. The Nokia series of Windows Phones comes with two map apps as standard, the Bing Maps and the Nokia Maps and they are both surprisingly good.
I would say that Google Maps is still the most accurate one on the market, but Bing and Nokia hold up next to Google very well. Apple’s new maps though, do not hold up well.
I’m sure you’ve all seen the Google vs. Apple maps meme going around the net? Well here’s a reminder and an example of Bing Maps of the same location. [Google vs iOS maps image source]
Again, Google Maps has the advantage, but Bing shows just as much information in a clear way – yet Apple maps tends to have blank patches, missing locations and is just bare. There are some really bad grabs I’ve seen lately – one of the centre of Mumbai and it was almost empty [Read: Mumbai is one of the most densley populated cities in the world].
But also an additional reason to opt for a Lumia is that the maps are available offline (no data connection whatsoever), while the iPhone 5 doesn’t feature completely offline mapping at all and the Samsung Galaxy S3 is only available in caching – not allowing for any searches or additional navigation outside of city-sized area.
Also the Nokia features step by step voice navigation in heck of a lot more countries than both Google and Apple. Nokia states that the navigation is available in over 100 countries, compared to Google’s 39 countries and Apple’s 56.
You also have daily commute and local traffic reports and Nokia Transport for public transit schedules available in over 500 cities, compared to Apple’s 0 (zero) cities.
The Nokia also includes augmented reality, with Nokia City Lens, giving you a full live 3D street view on your display with directions to all points of interest. This type of app is available on other smartphones, but so far the Nokia one is by far the best I’ve used. And I know the below is an advert, trying to show off how easy something is – but my experience with this feature is the same, it’s really easy to use and very quick.
07. Nokia Music:
This is a completely free feature for all Nokia users and is something I only realised existed about 3 weeks ago (despite the app being on my phone since I bought it).
Nokia Music is a music streaming service, similar to Last.FM – but just a hell of a lot better. I hate Last.FM, when I type in artists I like, it always plays music that I hate and is often in a different genre. Nokia Music works brilliantly.
You can setup playlists, by choosing three artists you like, doesn’t matter if they are in completely different genres and you will have a lovely playlist featuring those artists and many other artists like them. Since using the app, I’ve discovered several new bands that I really enjoy.
And if you don’t have unlimited Internet usage with your phone’s contract, you can opt to download that playlist to your phone, so that you can use it offline whenever you want at no extra cost.
06. Nokia Drive:
As well as your standard maps, Nokia also provides a very decent (and completely free) GPS system, with worldwide maps. Perhaps not quite as good as my mum’s £250 TomTom, Nokia Drive is surprisingly accurate for a free GPS.
I did a direct comparison with my friend’s TomTom app on his iPhone – he paid £45 for the app and then a further £40 for the special in-car mount, designed to enhance the TomTom app. Nokia Drive won hands down.
The TomTom app got on confused on several occasions and was really slow to update new route changes.
Is Nokia Drive perfect? No. But so far it hasn’t let me down when trying to get to new locations.
05. Processor and general specs:
People might be impatient these days, but in the grand scheme of things, those couple of seconds rarely mattered.
However the iPhone’s speed was wholly justified, it featured a dual core processor, compared to the Lumia’s single core. But then again, the iPhone only just beat the Lumia 800.
Now the Lumia 920 features a dual core 1.5Ghz processor, compared to the iPhone 5’s dual core 1Ghz processor. Nokia has not only caught up, it’s overtaken the iPhone – on paper at least.
The Lumia 920 quotes up to 400 hours of standby time and 10 hours of talk time, compared to the iPhone 5’s quoted 225 Hours standby and 8 hours of talk time.
Like every other smartphone out there the Lumia 920 uses the worldwide standard of a Micro USB connection. The iPhone 5 no longer uses Apple’s standard iPod connector, but now uses the ‘lightning’ connector. This means you cannot use the iPhone 5 with any iPhone compatible device (such as docking stations) without the need of an adaptor, which doesn’t come with the phone.
04. Wireless abilities:
The Lumia 920 features NFC (Near Field Communication) technology, so a bit like the Galaxy S3, you are able to share contacts and data, just by touching phones. NFC can also be used for wireless payments.
NFC also allows for instant connection to accessories, such as wireless speakers and adds another unique feature – wireless charging (without a special case). Again, this is a feature which the iPhone doesn’t have.
And for a more standard wireless function, the Lumia 920 features DLNA – allowing you to stream music and video to other DLNA device, such as every Smart TV. The iPhone features a similar feature AirPlay – which is not as widely supported.
03. Social media connectivity:
Another feature that really sold me on my Lumia 800 is the Windows Phone social media connectivity, especially to Facebook.
Your contact list links directly with Facebook, meaning that anyone you are friends with, who has updated their Facebook profile with their phone number, email etc… will have all their details automatically appear in your contact list.
Any Facebook events or special dates (such as birthdays) are displayed on your phone’s lock screen, making it easy to see who’s birthday it is at a second’s glance. It also links to your phone’s calendar, so if you are going to plan something outside of Facebook, you can check your planner and see if another event, organised on Facebook, overlaps with your plans.
You have no idea how useful this is to someone like me. I can never remember my friends’ birthdays and my Windows Phone tells me in advance and on the special day whose birthday it is – allowing me to contact them and look like I really do remember important dates.
Your text messaging function can also be extended directly to Facebook contacts, allowing you to effectively text around the world for free – something I do with our Editor, Chris, all the time.
02. PureMotion HD+ display:
OK so both Apple and Samsung have their fancy names for their special screens, such as ‘Retina’ display and ‘AmoLED’ – ignore the game, really it means nothing in terms of quality. However, look at the actual specs and what the fancy-named screens really do.
PureMotion HD+ automatically adjusts to sunlight glare, reportedly making it the best screen to use in bright daylight. According to reports it offers deeper blacks and incredibly smooth scrolling – supposedly 2.5x faster than other smartphones.
The screen is also one of the most sensitive, allowing for use with fingers, finger nails, keys and even when wearing gloves. These are not the gimmicky gloves you can buy to use with an iPhone, but any gloves. So you can easily browse the web or text during the height of winter, without getting your hands chilly.
Also a direct spec comparison with the iPhone 5 shows that the Lumia 920 has a higher pixel count and higher resolution. Lumia is 1280×768 HD resolution, with 332ppi. The iPhone 5 is 1136 x 640, with 326ppi.
01. PureView camera:
Similar to the screen, phones now have funky names for their cameras. But take a look at the specs.
The Lumia 920 features an 8.7MP rear-facing camera, compared to iPhone 5’s 8MP – not much difference, but the other Lumia features surpass pretty much any other smartphone…
Using a Carl Zeiss lens (one of the highest quality lenses available on the market – which are used in most Sony cameras), the PureView camera has the ability to perform in low-light conditions, without the need for a flash (note: the phone does also have a flash if needed).
The Lumia 920 also features proper Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) – something which a lot of normal digital cameras don’t have and no other mobile phone has.
Most cameras and phones feature Digital Image Stabilisation these days, which helps to reduce motion blur by adjusting pixels to try and make an image as clear as possible. It’s ok, but rarely works when movement is faster than walking pace.
OIS uses physical properties, usually gyros, which move naturally with your movements and are able to focus properly on moving targets.
Go to any half-decent electronics/camera store and ask to look at cameras with OIS and without and you’ll see a dramatic difference. One of the better examples for OIS in digital cameras are the Panasonic Lumix range (they’ve been using the technology for a long time and it works beautifully).
As I said at the start, the iPhone is a great device and those people out there who say “The iPhone sucks get this instead” well that’s crazy talk. Most smartphones do basically the same things.
The point of this article is to show that there are other phones out there which might offer more features than you can get with the leading smartphone.
You can make up your minds for yourselves, but it’s hard not to see that a phone like the Lumia 920 not only offers exactly what the iPhone can, but also has many more features not available on any other phone.
This is not a fair comparison in my opinion, especially not the advertising comparing iPhone with Nokia lumia that leaves out a lot of the iphones features. And iPhone does have Apples version of Office (which in my opinion loks better), more accessories available, looks better, more apps...
Besides nfc and wireless charging makes it thicker. I have nothing against Nokia lumia and have thought of buying one, but keep the comparisons real.
Thanks for this direct review.. I was in doubt for motorola droid maxx hd vs lumia 920 vs motorola photon Q. I need the keypad.. but lumia is very attractive too.. I consider motorola due to battery life... our article reaffirms that I shd take lumia instead.
Well, Graham convinced me to get the Lumia 920 over the iPhone 5. After having it since launch, I like the phone itself, but I do have a few gripes, however.
First off, I hate the placement of the search button on the bottom-right portion of the phone. Whenever I'm watching videos, I ALWAYS seem to accidentally hit it with my finger when I turn the phone horizontally. With YouTube, you can't simply hit the back button and have it pick up where you left off. You have to watch the whole bloody video over again, which sucks sometimes.
Secondly, and hopefully this will change in the coming months, there just aren't enough great apps. I'm coming from iOS then Android to Windows Phone 8, so I'm used to having most of the newly released apps available to me. It's hard to get used to not getting that anymore with WP 8. I'm still waiting on Stitcher to release their app, which will make listening to podcasts much, much easier. Also, it seems a lot of the apps don't properly notify me whenever I get a message on Facebook or Twitter. I have them set to do so, but they simply just don't do it.
Lastly, the battery life could be better ... A LOT better. I went from nearly a full charge to having the phone die on me in the span of about four to five hours the other day. Granted, I was using the navigation for about 45 minutes and listening to a podcast, but you'd think it'd hold out a little longer than that.
On the plus side, the camera is pretty damn amazing. It blows my wife's iPhone 4 camera away. I enjoy the wireless charging pad, and the live tiles are fun to play with.
Overall, it's an enjoyable phone, and I think it's going to keep getting better. I hear an update to fix some issues is quickly on the way.
Try finding a decent TV with built-in DLNA at an affordable price (not as widespread as you think, and the pricing is not competitive, at least in Canada). An Apple TV box for $99 is much more accessible and affordable (for those in the iOS realm)
Apparently Nokia has been having some success with WP 7.x in Chinawith this huge carrier. I'm sure Nokia will be bringing the lower endWP 8 handsets there as well besides the Lumia 920.
thankyou for this i was given a lumia 800 to test by nokia (had n8) and when i first recieved it wasn't keen as took a while to get to grips with windows but now i love it, for most of the above mentioned, my only real gripe with it is the lack of apps not in games but for instance banking, natwest only have the app available for iphone and android which seems the case with alot of apps like this. I am hoping that more people will start considering the lumia so that companies start inc windows apps in their avaiability as i was thinking i was going to have to get a diffrent smartphone so that i could get these kind of appts, but your article has now convinced me that i should stick to my guns.
The original Windows Phone OS was not "slow and buggy." Go back and you'll see it was every bit as smooth and problem-free as it is today. Was it missing features? Yes, but every OS gets more advanced as time goes on.
As a heavy Android and Windows Phone user, I decided consider iPhone 5 over Lumia 920.
12. Notification pane: So many time I missed a call or text message, because the notification pane hides away in Windows Phone. It does not clearly show which network I'm currently using, WiFi or Cellular.
11. Windows Phone 8 OS: Unfortunately, WP has evolved much slower than competitors has. It feels like each generation of WP always targets 70% of other OS's functionalities.
10. Live Tiles: I love Live Tiles. But usage of Live Tiles are limited to limited # of apps.
9. Office and SkyDrive: I like MS Office in WP7. Office 15 will make SkyDrive more important than before.
8/7/6. Bing Map, Nokia Music, Nokia Drive does not work in my country.
5. Processors and General specs: iPhone 5 did improve a lot in performance and battery life. I'll see how Lumia 920 does in those 2 areas. Clockspeed doesn't matter. I prefere 'lightning' connector because I don't have to think which side is up or down.
4. Wireless abilities: NFC has sucked for last 7 years. We'll see how it goes. I do like wireless charging. DLNA sucks, too. AirPlay is much cleaner and works really well my AppleTV.
3. Social media connectivity: iOS6 and Android already does what I need in social media.
2. PureMotion HD+: PureMotion HD+ seems to be really cool.
1. PureView: If I eventually buy Lumia 920, PureView will be the biggest reason for that.