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As you may have seen, we caught the Nokia Lumia 928 lurking around the nervously fortified GR compound. So we quickly accosted the sucker, stripped it down and made the new Windows darling show us the money. It’s an eyeful too. Our initial impression showed a speedy device, with an elegant interface that is a swift and responsive performer. There’s still more to be seen. So in the interim, lets see how the new Windows 8 OS-infused smart fairs against the Samsung’s current champ–the Galaxy S4.

Size

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It you followed our previous coverage on each of these then you already know the Samsung Galaxy S4 is lighter and wider. That lightweight feel is one the things I dislike the most about the device. That and the use of plastics leave things too slippery, light and airy. The Lumia 928 wears its plastics incredibly well. The device is firm and solid in the hand with chiseled corners on the back. It’s thicker and heavier than the GS4 but lighter by nearly a full ounce than its predecessor. The Samsung Galaxy S4 measures 2.74-in at the waist against the Lumia 928′s 2.71-in. It’s close but only because of all that bezel on the Lumia, beyond its screen width. Again I like the heft and solid feel. Still I know it’s heavier than any smartphone has a right to be at 5.71 ounces.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S4

Display

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The Nokia Lumia 928 uses a 4.5-inch AMOLED screen tucked underneath Gorilla Glass 2. The aspect ratio is 15:9 and the screen measure 4.5 inches. It’s capable of 1080p video capture. Unfortunately such HD resolutions are possible on playback. The maximum is 1280 x 768 with 334ppi. The Galaxy S4 does HD circles around this with a nice 1080p playback resolution. But there is some cool tech in the Lumia 928 to help kick things up a bit. It uses a technique dubbed ClearBlack. We go into more detail in our unboxing. But among other things it provides better viewing angles and traps light reflected off the display and creates the illusion where the entire face of the Lumia appears to be part of the display. It looks gorgeous and really make the few saturated colors used in the UI pop like no other device has shown. However…

Display: Samsung Galaxy S4

Operating Software

Operating System pic┬áBy now Android is very familiar territory for mobile users. It’s in phones, tablets and cameras. The OS is now more pervasive than iOS and arguably easier to use. Android, obviously has many more app options than Windows. Heck Windows is just now getting Facebook and other social networking mainstays included in its ecosystem. But it’s this lack of app saturation that makes mucking around in Windows Phone OS, so damn refreshing. The UI is incredibly streamlined and Spartan. It works similar to Windows 8 on a computer, but far more appropriate. Live Tiles make a lot more sense on a dedicated touch device and works similarly to the cool BlinkFeed of the HTC One. It’s up to you what you want to see. But it can shows dynamic feeds for news, sports, emails social networking updates and more. Plus they’re fun to look at and no two users will see the same info populate through the live tiles. Nokia has also tossed in some cool features such as HERE City Lens–an augmented reality app that uses your camera to populate your display with things to do, places to eat and more. Pointing your camera in any direction reveals location markers with descriptions and GPS travel info.

It’s all very nice and on the road to greatness, I feel. But it needs so many more app options to compete at this level. I think Windows Phone is as capable as Android but without all the cybernetic enhancements of an abyss-deep app store. Finally, the Windows 8 user experience–on its own–is great–hands down. It’s easy to use and not hampered by a lot of fluff, annoying “bleeps” and “bloops” or overly-cluttered with multiple UI’s vying for screen real-estate. And enough can’t be said about dedicated Office support. Ultimately, I’m just not a fan of the Samsung re-skin.

Winner: Nokia Lumia 928 (note: not saying Win8 is better than Android. But I prefer Win8 on Lumia 928 over the re-skin Samsung slapped on the GS4.)

Processor

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This one is slightly more cut and dry. Both the GS4 and Lumia 928 pull their power from Qualcomm Snapdragon mutli-core processors. The Galaxy S4 uses a Snapdragon 600 quad-core CPU clocked at 1.9ghz. While the Lumia 928 is packing an older Snapdragon S4 dual-core processor clocked at 1.5ghz. The Galaxy S4 is quicker in just about everything from web surfing, gaming and accessing data and other apps across the UI. But the margin is not as wide as you may think for a dual-core vs. a quad.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S4

Storage

StorageThe Nokia Lumia is offered in 32gb size only. That may sound limited but when paired with a price that hits below the same capacity on the GS4, things become more tempting. The GS4 is available in 16-, 32-a and 64gb options. Both support SD slots and cloud storage options. But the GS4 offers more variety.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S4

Wireless Connectivity

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Samsung wins this one. It has more frequencies supported, Qi wireless charging support, DNLA, NFC and more including the usual suspects of WiFi radios Bluetooth et al. The Lumia also has NFC and the “usual suspect” plus Xbox remote control support and wifi channel bonding.

Winner: Samsung

Camera

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The Nokia Lumia 928, for all the hyped anticipation around the camera, has a slightly above average camera in natural light settings. It takes a fantastic image. It’s just not accurate. There is a lot of added saturation that paints skies in deeper blues and gives grass and other fauna added verdance. But it doesn’t compare to the GS4 in low or natural light settings. There is a glow in low light settings that is hard to expunge. Also images don’t pop like they do on the Galaxy S4. But the phones have equally entertaining ways to play with the pics taken. There is a really interesting Focus Blur tool on the Lumia 928 where users can manually set parameter for the blur effect so only certain aspects of the a pic are in focus. You can also create collage mash-up similar to the GS4′s greeting card feature. Camera features are on par with each other. But who takes the better pic…?

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S4

Battery Life

Samsung wins this one as well. The Galaxy S4 uses a bigger 2600mAh battery versus the Lumia 928′s 2000mAh. The Lumia 928 does 513hrs of stanby and 13hrs of talk over 3G. Music playback is 63hrs with WiFi topping out at 7-hours. The Galaxy S4 350hr of standby and 17hrs of talk over 3G. It can last for about 10-11hrs when watching video. It’s a clear winner. Moreover the Lumia 928 is half dead after 8hr of standby time.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S4

Price

Price

Nokia sinks this win hard. It can be had for 50-bux. But only from Verizon. On the flipside, the Galaxy S4 is still sold for top dollar. That’s $150 for the 16gb at the lowest. AT&T is the highest offering the GS4 at $200 for 16gb and $250 for the 32gb.

Carrier

Carriers

The Samsung Galaxy S4 is quite the indiscriminate floozy. While the Nokia Lumia 928 is a Verizon exclusive…for now.

Winner: Nokia Lumia 928

Conclusion

This match was one-sided. We all know the Samsung Gs4 is in a class nearly by itself. But Lumia provides a truly powerful wholly enjoyable experience with grace and elegance not seen at the $50 price point. It’s fast, fun and capable. Yet in this contest…

Overall Winner: Samsung Galaxy S4










Shawn Sanders

 
Shawn loves gadgets, literature, history and games. For 10yrs+ he's straddled both the comic book & video game industries, as a writer, editor, marketing officer & producer. Shawn got his start in tech & games as an editor & Hardware Director for GameRevolution.com. More notable accomplishments include Executive Producer on mobile games Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved & The Shroud.