Nokia Lumia 920 vs Apple iPhone 5

Introduction and Design

With the Lumia 920, Nokia entered the world of dual-core flagship phones graced with HD displays, where Apple’s iPhone and many Androids have been dwelling for a while.

Thus the Finns had to create a compelling argument besides those two obligatory features to fight against the iPhone 5 and said Androids, as they would be its main competition for the hearts and minds of consumers this holiday season.

Apple introduced the bravest overhaul to the iPhone so far with the 5th edition, shattering its 3.5” screen dogma, and Nokia logged its first 4.5” phone with more than one processor core, so in a sense both the iPhone 5 and the Lumia 920 are not a simple evolution of what had been before in the iOS and WP universes. Which one pulled it off better? Read on our comparison to find out...


There’s no arguing that the iPhone 5 is one of the most compact and premium material smartphones out there, built out of glass and aluminum alloys. Nokia, on the other hand, threw every top features it was capable of in the Lumia 920, including an OIS camera, resulting in a both thick and heavy chassis, made of polycarbonate in various color choices, and zirconium for the well-situated side keys and the camera plate.

This burly impression from the Lumia 920 holds true in comparison with larger screen phones like the top Androids, too, not only with the iPhone 5. Actually Nokia’s phone is just a 1.5 ounce heavier than the previous iPhone, for instance, yet it’s the combination of heft and girth that will catch you by surprise given today’s smartphone design standards.

Still, the tapered back makes the Lumia 920 ergonomic to handle, and its stocky, durable build makes it more suitable for careless owners, whereas the iPhone 5 finds itself in a case very often to escape nicks and scuffs. Just don’t expect easy one-handed operation from the Lumia 920, especially in comparison with the much smaller iPhone 5.


We are looking at perhaps the two best mobile LCD displays with the iPhone 5 and the Lumia 920. The iPhone sports a 4” in-cell touch panel with 640x1136 pixels of resolution, making the pixel density the excellent 326ppi, whereas the Lumia 920 has a 768x1280 pixels display, with nearly the same density, at 332ppi.

Both exhibit very nice images, with the iPhone having almost perfectly calibrated color representation, whereas the Lumia 920 displays slightly more saturation.

The screens are very bright, north of 500 nits, which, coupled with their low reflectance ratio makes them easy to see outside, even under direct sunlight. Nokia employs its ClearBlack filter technology to achieve the low reflectance, which makes it seem a tad dimmer and as if with an extra coating compared to the in-cell touch panel of the iPhone 5. Both phones have top-notch viewing angles from all sides, though the Lumia 920 dims slightly more when you tilt it vertically.

Nokia has employed Synaptics-based touchscreen tech to allow operating the display with gloves, pens and other objects, which comes very handy in harsher weather conditions.

Nokia Lumia 920 360-degrees View:

Apple iPhone 5 360-degrees View:

Interface and functionality

Both iOS and Windows Phone are more restricted compared to Android, but WP8 introduced resizable homescreen tiles, mass storage mode and 3rd party apps lockscreen info display, upping the ante against iOS.

There is still no unified notification center there, but the contacts integration with Facebook, Twitter and so on in the People hub is second to none, and one of the best WP features. Windows Phone does many things differently than iOS (or Android), so there is a somewhat steeper learning curve. You have to slide your finger down from the top of the screen to display the carrier signal and Wi-Fi networks strength, which are not displayed at all times like with iOS, or have to hold the arrow in the music player to fast forward or back instead of sliding the progress bar, as you are used to. Once you’ve mastered the kinks, it proves to be a rather fresh and colorful UI approach, which, with the uncluttered displays and minimalistic fonts is pretty unobtrusive.

Where iOS and Windows Phone 8 are very much alike is with the heavily managed approach to multitasking. You can see a list of recently run apps by holding the back key in WP8 to see their screenshots, or double-tap the home key of the iPhone 5 to see the same list in icon form, but the phones quickly suspend them in memory then outright kill, allocating resources according to the workload, so you don’t have to watch the list, manually jinx apps and so on. The downside is that you can’t just switch back to that calculator you used three days ago, still languishing in memory with your last equation, like with Android, for instance.

The app situation is in favor of iOS, whereas you often find that some services you are used to that don’t yet have dedicated apps for Windows Phone. Nokia tries to compensate with exclusive apps like its free offline voice-guided navigation, which is superior to what you’d find on the iPhone, or the Mix Radio option, which streams Nokia Music tunes for free to your handset.

The iPhone strikes back with its Siri natural language assistant, whereas the TellMe-based voice recognition of Windows Phone 8 is more limited in nature.

Processor and memory

A 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 is what we find in the Lumia 920, and a 1.3 GHz dual-core Apple A6 in the iPhone 5. Apple’s processor is manually designed by Cupertino, whereas Nokia uses off-the-shelf Qualcomm SoC, but both devices are very, very fast, having no trouble navigating their respective interfaces, or running any 3rd party app or game out there.

There is 1 GB of RAM in the phones, and, as we mentioned before, they manage the multitasking heavily, so you never feel running out of memory.

The basic internal storage amount is 16 GB for the iPhone 5, and 32 GB for the Lumia 920, but you can get iPhones with up to 64 GB of internal memory, though it won’t be cheap.

Browser and connectivity

The browsers are very snappy and fluid, with Safari throwing in extras like the Reader mode which strips the article from fluff and only presents easy to perceive text. Internet Explorer on the Lumia 920, while very fast, ran into problems with some sites that were heavy in JavaScript, and we couldn’t set flight dates on a travel website, for example.

Both handsets sport LTE radios, combined with 42.2 Mbps HSPA+ basebands, as well as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth (4.0 in the case of the iPhone), A-GPS and DLNA. The Lumia 920 throws in NFC support, too. 

Nokia's phone has a pentaband LTE radio that is attuned to more widely used frequencies in Europe, for instance, than the iPhone 5. Apple apparently wanted to support those frequencies there, which coincide with the version for Asia and Australia, and as a result its LTE fires up on just DT in Germany and EE in the UK, as well as a few smaller carriers.

The Lumia 920, on the other hand, can support more than 20 LTE networks in Europe. Asia uses 1,800 MHz and 2,600 MHz in places like Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea. Japan and the US share the 700 MHz or 2,100 MHz frequency range, while in Europe they utilize 1,800 MHz or 2,600 MHz. Some carriers also run LTE on everything in-between, such as 800 MHz and 850 MHz, but just 25% of Europe's LTE operates on the iPhone 5's 1, 800 MHz, with the rest deployed or about to be deployed at 800 MHz and 2, 600 MHz, both of which the Lumia 920 supports.

As for the wired connectivity, we have a bone stock microUSB port on Nokia’s phone just for charging and syncing, while the iPhone 5 offers its Lightning adapter, which allows you to hook it up to a TV via the respective HDMI adapter.


Both phones have 8 MP sensors on the back, with the Lumia 920 offering a pulse dual LED flash and optical image stabilization, as well as a two-stage shutter key.

Lumia’s camera interface offers more adjustments for the images and videos before shooting, whereas the iPhone 5 mostly decides automatically what to do. It does offer Panorama, though, which in the Lumia 920 has to be downloaded as a separate option, and Nokia’s phone doesn’t have the iPhone’s HDR mode from within the camera interface.

Images come out softer and with boosted contrast from the Lumia 920 in comparison with the iPhone 5’s pictures, which are more defined. The white balance measurements are sometimes off with Nokia’s handset, resulting in overexposed or hued bright areas.

In low light conditions the Lumia 920 can soak in quite a lot more light, as the optically stabilized camera enables it to keep the shutter open longer. In automatic mode this often results in overexposure of the scene, though, especially with bright spots and light sources, so you’d better use the night mode, or dial down the exposure a notch. The low light shots are, however, much less blurry and noisy than those from the iPhone 5.

When it comes to video recording, the Lumia 920 pulls ahead - not that the iPhone 5 doesn’t record nice fluid videos with 30fps, but Nokia’s phone adds the advantage of a tripod-steady footage even at rock concerts, and its three high-amplitude microphones pick a lot fuller sound.

Taking a picLower is betterTaking an HDR pic(sec)Lower is betterCamSpeed scoreHigher is betterCamSpeed score with flashHigher is better
Nokia Lumia 9204.2
No data
Apple iPhone 52.7

Nokia Lumia 920 Sample Video:

Apple iPhone 5 Sample Video:

Nokia Lumia 920 Nighttime Sample Video:

Apple iPhone 5 Nighttime Sample Video:


The gallery apps on both devices offer basic editing functions, like the typical crop, rotate, resize or red-eye removal tools.

Both music players can categorize your songs by artists, albums, playlists and even genres in the case of the Lumia 920. Equalizer presets are not found integrated in the music players on both devices, but are rather listed in settings, which is a nuisance as you have to go there to adjust the sound instead of doing it directly from the player. There is no landscape mode in the WP8 player, and you have to long-press the arrow keys to fast forward or back, instead of simply moving a slider along the progress bar, as we are mostly used to.

We get stereo loudspeakers at the bottom of the Lumia 920, and the chubby handset produces both stronger and fuller output than the iPhone 5.

The video players are with pretty basic interfaces, too, with the Lumia 920 playing DivX/Xvid files up to 1080 definition out of the box, whereas you have to use 3rd party players with the iPhone 5 to play such files. The larger screen of the Nokia is, naturally, more conducive for watching movies.

Headphones output power(Volts)Higher is better
Nokia Lumia 9200.48
Apple iPhone 50.54
Loudspeaker loudness(dB)Higher is better
Nokia Lumia 92075
Apple iPhone 571

Call quality

Call quality in the earpiece of both devices is excellent, with strong and clear-sounding voices. Each handset has tri-microphone setup and supports HD voice, if your network has it - they relay our voices loud and clean to the other side either way, though, being two of the best handsets out there for, you know, actually talking.

Battery life

We get 2,000 mAh unit in the Lumia 920, and 1,440 mAh one in the iPhone 5, rated for 10 hours and 8 hours of talk time in 3G mode, respectively. The iPhone 5 is rated for 10 hours of video playback time, however, and achieves almost the same in web browsing, whereas with its larger screen the Nokia Lumia 920 is rated for 6 hours of video, and a bit less than that when browsing. Nokia has built wireless charging into the Lumia, but you have to buy a separate $50 charger, unless you get it for free with your carrier contract.

We measure battery life by running a custom web-script,designed to replicate the power consumption of typical real-life usage.All devices that go through the test have their displays set at 200-nit brightness.
hoursHigher is better
Nokia Lumia 920
Apple iPhone 5
4h 22 min(Poor)


On one hand, you’d have to sacrifice quite a bit of comfort picking the Lumia 920 before the iPhone 5. It is chunky and hefty, with shorter battery life, and you might find quite a bit of apps still missing from the WP Store, especially compared to the iOS ecosystem.

On the other, the Lumia 920 offers some pretty unique features you can’t find not only in the iPhone 5, but in any other handset, for that matter. Things like shake-free video recording with outstanding sound, the ability to use the screen with gloves, and the free offline voice-guided navigation are not found on the iPhone, so if any of those is important to you, they might tip the scales in Nokia’s favor.

Nokia Lumia 920 vs Apple iPhone 5 Video Comparison:

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