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Nokia Lumia 920 vs Samsung Galaxy S III

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Camera:

We’ve arrived at the most interesting part - comparing the 8 MP cameras on the back of the Lumia 920 and the Galaxy S III. Nokia’s phone utilizes the “PureView Phase 2 technology”, which puts the whole camera module on a tiny suspension mechanism inside for optical image stabilization - the result should be shake-free videos and allowing the phone to use slower shutter speeds in low light with less motion blur.

The camera app interface on the Galaxy S III has more options than the one on the Lumia 920, where functions like Panorama have to be downloaded as separate modules called Lenses. Nokia’s phone does have a few preset scene modes in the UI, though, like Close-up, Night, Night Portrait, Sports and Backlight, which cover most of the specific scenarios you might encounter. There are also ISO, exposure and white balance settings, just like on the Galaxy S III. The clunky thing with Nokia’s manual exposure adjustment is that you don’t see the scene from within the menu, and have to pop in and out of the option screen to see how the frame changed with the respective exposure compensation setting, whereas on the Galaxy S III it is visible directly.

The camera interface of the Nokia Lumia 920 - Nokia Lumia 920 vs Samsung Galaxy S III
The camera interface of the Nokia Lumia 920 - Nokia Lumia 920 vs Samsung Galaxy S III
The camera interface of the Nokia Lumia 920 - Nokia Lumia 920 vs Samsung Galaxy S III
The camera interface of the Nokia Lumia 920 - Nokia Lumia 920 vs Samsung Galaxy S III

Camera interface of the Samsung Galaxy S III - Nokia Lumia 920 vs Samsung Galaxy S III
Camera interface of the Samsung Galaxy S III - Nokia Lumia 920 vs Samsung Galaxy S III
Camera interface of the Samsung Galaxy S III - Nokia Lumia 920 vs Samsung Galaxy S III
Camera interface of the Samsung Galaxy S III - Nokia Lumia 920 vs Samsung Galaxy S III

When it comes to the actual pictures, both handsets have good color representation, just a tad on the saturated side. The Galaxy S III gets the white balance measurements mostly right, while the Lumia 920 sometimes overexposes the bright spots. When there is enough light around, Samsung’s photo processing algorithms also deliver sharper images with more contrast than the softish snaps from the Lumia 920.

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When the lights start to go down, though, the Lumia 920 starts to really shine as the first phone with OIS inside, since the steadier camera module allows for much longer shutter speeds without motion blur, hence more light coming in, which is crucial for night and party shots. This solution is not without caveats, though, as the scene gets so exposed that light sources look too bright, and the overall result doesn’t look like it’s taken during the night at all. Dialing down the ISO or the exposure a notch, or shooting in night mode produces more natural low-light results.

Strong - Nokia Lumia 920 - Samsung Galaxy S III - Nokia Lumia 920 vs Samsung Galaxy S III
Medium - Nokia Lumia 920 - Samsung Galaxy S III - Nokia Lumia 920 vs Samsung Galaxy S III
Low light - Nokia Lumia 920 - Samsung Galaxy S III - Nokia Lumia 920 vs Samsung Galaxy S III

Strong

Medium

Low light

Nokia Lumia 920

Samsung Galaxy S III - Nokia Lumia 920 vs Samsung Galaxy S III
Samsung Galaxy S III - Nokia Lumia 920 vs Samsung Galaxy S III
Samsung Galaxy S III - Nokia Lumia 920 vs Samsung Galaxy S III

3ft - Nokia Lumia 920 - Samsung Galaxy S IIIDarkness with flashIndoor samples - Nokia Lumia 920 vs Samsung Galaxy S III
5ft - Nokia Lumia 920 - Samsung Galaxy S IIIDarkness with flashIndoor samples - Nokia Lumia 920 vs Samsung Galaxy S III
7ft - Nokia Lumia 920 - Samsung Galaxy S IIIDarkness with flashIndoor samples - Nokia Lumia 920 vs Samsung Galaxy S III

3ft

5ft

7ft

Nokia Lumia 920

Samsung Galaxy S IIIDarkness with flashIndoor samples - Nokia Lumia 920 vs Samsung Galaxy S III
Samsung Galaxy S IIIDarkness with flashIndoor samples - Nokia Lumia 920 vs Samsung Galaxy S III
Samsung Galaxy S IIIDarkness with flashIndoor samples - Nokia Lumia 920 vs Samsung Galaxy S III

The area where the optical image stabilization inside the Lumia 920 really excels in comparison with the Galaxy S III or any other phone, however, is video capture. Fluid, blur-free videos with 30fps can be shot at any time, day or night with the Lumia 920, and that shake compensation inside makes the footage look like it is taken with a tripod or with rail-mounted pro camera. The Galaxy S III has a digital stabilization mode, too, but it is a far cry from the OIS gear inside the Lumia 920.

Nokia Lumia 920 Sample Video:



Samsung Galaxy S III Sample Video:



Nokia Lumia 920 Nighttime Sample Video:



Samsung Galaxy S III Nighttime Sample Video:




When we add Nokia’s Rich Recording technology with the three highamplitude audio capture (HAAC) microphones, which can pick a wider sound range than your typical smartphone mics, the Lumia 920 becomes the best smartphone for shooting video at parties or concerts where it's both noisy, and you move a lot. The HAAC mics can withstand more pressure than the typical phone units which max out at around 120 dB, andrecords sound with no audible distortion up to 140dB strength. Thus from high-pitched sounds down to very low frequencies can be recorded and distinctly heard afterwards, whereas the Samsung Galaxy S III sound recording is pretty weak and tinny in comparison.


Multimedia:

The galleries on both devices allow for syncing with other accounts like Facebook, and showing your albums from there in the app. They offer editing functions for your photos and videos, with the selection of edit options richer on the Galaxy S III out of the box, despite Nokia’s dedicated Creative Studio app that comes preinstalled, which basically offers just a number of color effects, while for cropping, resizing and so on, you are to use another default app.

Nokia Lumia 920 - Gallery - Nokia Lumia 920 vs Samsung Galaxy S III
Gallery - Nokia Lumia 920 vs Samsung Galaxy S III
Gallery - Nokia Lumia 920 vs Samsung Galaxy S III
Samsung Galaxy S III - Gallery - Nokia Lumia 920 vs Samsung Galaxy S III

Nokia Lumia 920

  

Samsung Galaxy S III


Music playback is taken care of with stock apps that offer album art and song categorization by artists, albums and playlists, plus equalizer presets, lock screen commands, and faux surround sounds in headset mode with the Dolby branding.

The WP8 player interface is minimalistic, but almost overly so, as you can’t manipulate the progress bar, for instance, you have to long-press the forward and back keys to skim through tracks. On the other hand, you can pin tracks and albums on the home screen, and can even give the artist a double width tile.

The music player of the Nokia Lumia 920 - Nokia Lumia 920 vs Samsung Galaxy S III
The music player of the Nokia Lumia 920 - Nokia Lumia 920 vs Samsung Galaxy S III
The music player of the Nokia Lumia 920 - Nokia Lumia 920 vs Samsung Galaxy S III
The music player of the Nokia Lumia 920 - Nokia Lumia 920 vs Samsung Galaxy S III

The built-in music player of the Samsung Galaxy S III - Nokia Lumia 920 vs Samsung Galaxy S III
The built-in music player of the Samsung Galaxy S III - Nokia Lumia 920 vs Samsung Galaxy S III
The built-in music player of the Samsung Galaxy S III - Nokia Lumia 920 vs Samsung Galaxy S III
The built-in music player of the Samsung Galaxy S III - Nokia Lumia 920 vs Samsung Galaxy S III

Nokia Music is present on the Lumia device, letting you stream 15 million tracks for free similar to Pandora, and even save so-called “mixes” with the Nokia Mix Radio option for offline listening. The Galaxy S III also has a Music Hub with even more tracks, powered by 7Digital, but no free streaming and offline download options.

The stereo speakers at the bottom of the Nokia Lumia 920 are better than the loudspeaker unit in the Galaxy S III in terms of strength, clarity and sound fullness.

The handsets support popular video file formats, including DivX/Xvid up to 1080 definition right out of the box. The Galaxy S III lets you detach the video currently running with the Pop Up Play function, and keep it on top at all times in a window, while you do something else on the screen underneath. The WP8 video player is much more basic, with only the simplest playback options in the interface.

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