Nokia Lumia 925 vs HTC One vs Samsung Galaxy S4 vs iPhone 5 $599

14th May 2013 | 13:11

Nokia Lumia 925 vs HTC One vs Samsung Galaxy S4 vs iPhone 5

Nokia's latest handset goes head-to-head with its rivals on core spec

With the advent of the Nokia Lumia 925, it's time to pit it against the big phones of the last few months.

With the exception of the iPhone 6 or iPhone 5S release date some time in 2013, we now have our mitts on the best that Android, iOS and Windows Phone have to offer us this year.

Because the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 are the best phones around and because they both run Android, that means we've dropped a third Android handset from this roundup (the Sony Xperia Z).

So now we have room for the Windows Phone 8-powered 925 and the iOS-based iPhone 5.

Not so long ago, if you weren't on an iPhone or a BlackBerry, chances are you were rocking an HTC Android device with a big clock on the homescreen.

But times change – and Samsung got busy with its Galaxy line, ultimately stealing the top Android spot from HTC and making HTC wince. But while iOS continues to have a big share, Nokia also wants to have a bigger say in the market - hence the metallic look to the Lumia 925.

Let's see how the handsets compare head-to-head on the core specification - now obviously doing this doesn't take into account user experience, which we can tell you is excellent on all four of these handsets now we've published our Hands on: Nokia Lumia 925 review.

Lumia 925 vs HTC One vs Galaxy S4 vs iPhone 5: design and dimensions

Like the HTC One, the Lumia 925 goes heavy on the metal, though it still has a polycarbonate back available in black and white. The HTC One looks a little like the white iPhone 5, but it remains a stunning design and is a really excellently crafted unibody device.

The HTC One feels very solid in the hand, with dimensions of 137.4 x 68.2 x 9.3mm, with a weight of 143g compared to the Lumia 925's thinner, narrower and shorter 129 x 70.6 x 8.5 mm and lesser 139g weight.

The HTC One is our favourite handset around at the moment, narrowly pushing out the Samsung Galaxy S4. This is definitely true of the design, where the Galaxy is second-best. It's similar to the all-conquering Samsung Galaxy S3 from last year, with a plastic design. Although thinner than the HTC One at 7.9mm, the Galaxy S4 comes in at 136.6 x 69.8 footprint. Indeed, despite the larger screen, the 130g S4 isn't much bigger than the S3.

iPhone 5

The slate or white-grey metallic iPhone 5 is amazingly light. it's 20 per cent lighter than the iPhone 4S, as well as beating all the opposition at 112g. Compared to that, you definitely notice the extra heft of the HTC One especially.

Lumia 925 vs HTC One vs Galaxy S4 vs iPhone 5: processor

A beautiful phone can end up as a beautiful paperweight if the processor isn't up to task. This used to happen a lot – but has not been as much of an issue in the last year or two since smartphones started becoming seriously powerful.

HTC is right up at the top of the specification tree with the HTC One offering a quad-core 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor. That's an excellent chip from the latest generation of ARM SoC silicon. Sadly the Lumia 925 doesn't quite live up to these heights with a 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 MSM8960.

That's a quick chip, used in numerous handsets such as the Lumia 820 and 920 as well as some versions of the HTC One X. It's perfectly good enough for pretty much all uses.

S4

Apple's iPhone 5 only gives us a dual-core 1.2 GHz Apple A6, but you won't find many who complain of slowdown simply because it runs on such a sold OS.

The S4 features the Exynos 5 Octa 5410 (GT-I9500) in many territories, but for countries like the UK and US where 4G is around, there's a quad-core 1.9 GHz Snapdragon 600 version (GT-I9505). This remains the best in class.

Lumia 925 vs HTC One vs Galaxy S4 vs iPhone 5: screen

Screen resolutions tend to inspire real one-upmanship among phone companies. Apple's launch from the old style to retina really was groundbreaking and set the bar. It's hard to make something that replicates that first impression again - hence why even on the 4-inch, 640 x 1,136 iPhone 5, Apple itself even, hasn't managed to top its 326ppi pixel density.

HTC One

HTC's made sure it can secure boasting rights here over the opposition. The 1,920 x 1,080 4.7-inch HTC One screen also uses LCD technology, but opts for Super LCD3 as a display and as a result performs so much better. It helps that its peak brightness is much higher (although beware of this munching your battery), but it also packs such an improved contrast ratio as well - far more than we've come to expect from an LCD screen.

Pixel-density-wise, that's around 469ppi. The Samsung's 5-inch display weighs in with a 441ppi and again it's Full HD. The new 4.5-inch Lumia sits below both of these though, sadly - not only does it not have a Full HD display (768 x 1,280 instead), it has a 332ppi pixel density.

Lumia 925 vs HTC One vs Galaxy S4 vs iPhone 5: camera

The camera on all these phones is excellent - but there's a big difference between them all. The Samsung is way out in front with a 13MP sensor, while the Nokia Lumia 925 features an 8.7 megapixel shooter and the iPhone 5 an 8 megapixel version. But when it comes to the HTC One, you'll have to make do with a 4MP option.

The HTC One takes things in a different direction, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. The 4MP UltraPixel camera is probably one that most of you are familiar with, but here's a quick overview: a 4MP sensor can have bigger pixels, which let in more light for an overall brighter photo - excellent in lower lights where you don't want a flash.

The image quality of all the Android and iOS handsets is excellent (see their individual reviews for more analysis), but we're really interested to see how the Lumia stacks up. It features advanced lens technology for grabbing low-light images.

Nokia Smart Camera mode is also a new addition to the handset, letting you snap 10 images at once and edit, animate and enhance pictures straight away with features such as Best Shot and Motion Focus. Nokia also announced that Smart Camera Mode will also be rolling out as an update to all Lumia Windows Phone 8 devices.

Lumia 925 vs HTC One vs Galaxy S4 vs iPhone 5: storage

Storage continues to annoy us, as HTC has obeyed Google's demand for there to be no expandable storage slot. Apple isn't a fan either as they want everything done through the cloud. And Nokia just hasn't bothered. So thank goodness for Samsung, who has retained a microSD slot up to 64 GB.

S4

Internal storage just doesn't go as far as it used to, so it's great to see Samsung sticking to its guns. The iPhone 5 and Galaxy S4 are available in 16, 32 and 64GB versions while the HTC One is available in 32 or 64GB variants and the Lumia 925 in 16 and 32GB.

The S4 and HTC One win the RAM race with 2GB, while the other handsets feature 1GB.

Lumia 925 vs HTC One vs Galaxy S4 vs iPhone 5: early verdict

While the Lumia 925's processor and RAM won't have too much impact on a great Windows Phone 8 experience, it's clear that this is a handset which falls behind in some key areas. There isn't a 64GB version available, for example. And while the pixel density and screen resolution would have been state-of-the-art eight months ago, they simply aren't now. We know that Nokia is really trying, while the camera enhancements look like they will produce some very good results. But while this is the top Windows Phone, it is some way from taking the smartphone crown. We'll let it onto the top table, mind.

Lumia

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