Lumia 920 vs. iPhone 5, Which Smartphone Is Better For You?

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While Windows Phone is a distant third behind Android and iOS in the market share race, there are plenty of Nokia fans that insist their flagship smartphone in the Nokia Lumia 920 bests the competition. Well, in this comparison, we’re going to put those claims to the test when we compare Nokia’s’ Lumia 920 to the Apple iPhone 5.

Design and Build Quality: When it comes to build quality, both of these smartphones are solid. In fact, I’d go as far as saying that the Lumia 920 and the iPhone 5 are two of the top smartphones in terms of design. But the approach each manufacturer took to achieve this was almost opposite.

Nokia opted for a thicker, sturdier feeling build with its poly-carbonate material that is colored all the way through (meaning scratches are less noticeable). While being significantly heavier and thicker than the iPhone 5, the Lumia still fits nicely in the hand thanks to its tapered back and curved edges. The Lumia 920 also comes in multiple color choices of white, black, red, yellow, and cyan.

With the iPhone 5, Apple aimed to make one of the thinnest smartphones available, while also making it one of the lightest. The Cupertino company was able to achieve this by using an all glass and aluminum build that just looks and feels high end. If the Lumia 920 were a luxury sedan, the iPhone 5 would be more like a sports car with it being almost 65% lighter and 28% thinner than the Lumia.

Honestly, you can’t really go wrong with either smartphone when it comes to build quality and design. But if I had to choose one over the other, I’d have to give the (slight) edge to the Lumia 920 only because it has more color options and has demonstrated amazing durability.

Display: Considering we’re comparing two high end smartphones, the theme here is going to be that they’re close in almost all the categories. And the displays are no exception. The Lumia 920 has a 4.5 in PureMotion+ IPS display with 1280×768 resolution giving you a PPI of 331. The iPhone 5 on the other hand has a 4 in Retina display with 1136×640 resolution garnering a PPI of 326.

Both smartphones have really bright screens (over 500 nits) but the iPhone 5’s seems a bit brighter and from our experience has slightly better viewing angles. However, the ClearBlack technology that causes the Lumia 920 to seem dimmer makes up for it with better outdoor visibility. Given its higher resolution, higher pixel density, and the fact that its touch screen can be used with gloves, I have to give the edge here once again to the Lumia 920.

Performance: When it comes to speed, both smartphones are packing a dual-core processor that should be enough to fly through just about anything you throw at it. The Lumia 920 is packing the Snapdragon S4 while the iPhone 5 has Apple’s custom-built A6 chip under the hood. While the two phones are close, from our tests the iPhone 5 is the winner in this category by booting up, opening applications, and browsing the web faster than the Lumia 920.

Battery: Due to the iPhone 5 being lighter and thinner, it houses a smaller 1440 mAh battery compared to the 2000 mAh battery found on the Lumia 920. However, from our experience with the two devices, the battery actually lasted longer on the iPhone 5 which is quite impressive given the results of the performance test. Edge here goes to the iPhone 5.

Camera: Now, this is where it gets really interesting. When it comes to taking photos and videos, sometimes people’s opinions can be different as to which photo or video “looks” better. And when comparing the photos on these two smartphones, it really comes down to personal preference.

But on the video side of things, we found the Lumia 920’s 8.7 MP camera to be superior to the iPhone 5’s 8 MP shooter. We say this because the 8.7 MP camera with Carl Zeiss lens performed better in low light conditions and the optical image stabilization made videos look buttery smooth, giving the win here to the Nokia made smartphone.

Storage: Out of all the comparisons we’ve made so far, this one was the easiest because both smartphones don’t give you the option for expandable storage. Therefore, the edge goes to whichever manufacturer offers the highest memory capacity model. Which in this case is Apple, with an available 64 GB iPhone 5.

Call Quality and Speaker: With both phones having a tri-microphone configuration with support for HD voice, the call quality on both are great (and tied). The speakers are really close too. However from our tests we found that the Lumia 920’s output was slightly louder and fuller than the iPhone 5’s, giving the edge to the Finland made smartphone.

Software: I’m not about to start a fanboy war here by telling you that one operating system is better than the other. And honestly, there would be no need to. Both iOS and Windows Phone each offer their own set of pros and cons, and it does come down to personal preference.

However, one thing that is based on fact and not opinion when it comes to these two operating systems is that iOS 6.1 has hundreds of thousands of more apps available compared to Windows Phone 8. This means that if you’re coming from an older iOS device or even Android, some of the apps you currently use on your smartphone may not be available on the Lumia 920.

We’re not saying all that apps you use won’t be available, as many major app developers have already adopted Windows Phone 8 with more to come. But the fact remains that some of the most popular apps (like Instagram or Temple Run for example) have yet to land on Windows Phone, giving the clear advantage to the iPhone 5 in this category.

Notable Features: Notable features on the Lumia 920 are its dedicated camera button with a two stage shutter, Qi wireless charging capabilities, and its support for NFC (or near field communications). Notable features on the iPhone 5 are its dedicated vibrate switch, HDMI output via its lighting port, and that it comes with Apple’s EarPod headphones.

Price: Just like with the storage comparison, the price comparison is easy. The Lumia 920 is available for as little as $49.99 with a 2-year agreement or $450 at full retail for the 32 GB model. The iPhone 5 costs $199.99 with a 2-year contract or $650 at full retail for the 16 GB model.

In other words, the Lumia 920 is about $100-$200 (depending on where you buy it) cheaper than the iPhone 5 is. And that’s only when comparing it to the 16 GB iPhone (the lowest Lumia 920 model is 32 GB). If you were to compare pricing with the 32 GB iPhone (which would be more fair), the difference would jump up to $300. Needless to say, the Lumia 920 gets the win in this category.

Conclusion: I’m not going to tell you which smartphone is better than the other. In fact, I couldn’t tell you even if I wanted to because what you look for (or what’s important to you) in a smartphone may be different from what I look for. But this comparison should help you decide which one is better for you between the two. Let us know what you think down in the comments below!

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About Author

David Rahimi is the editor-in-chief at PhoneBuff.com. Ever since he got his first smartphone, he has been obsessed with mobile technology and all that it has to offer. Other interests include business, investing, and neuroscience.

  • Pavel

    No doubt, Nokia is the best in this struggle. And windows phone is better for business. I’ll buy lumia. Speaking of market… Well, it has long-range outlook