In today’s times, buying a smartphone is just like going out for shopping with your wife. She’ll go through loads of varieties, colors, brands of clothes and end up buying something which either she’ll like or regret buying as her friend got a better dress than she did. It’s more of like fashion, keeps changing everyday. Are you getting my point? What I’m trying to tell you is that buying the perfect smartphone has gotten a lot more complex with so many varieties, competitors and ecosystems. In this post we will be comparing 5 best smartphones currently available in the market – LG Nexus 4, Apple iPhone 5, Nokia Lumia 920, Samsung Galaxy Note 2, Samsung Galaxy S3 and also let you know why you should for the same. The best of all ecosystems are present on the list. Let’s put them up together for a specifications fight first.
Side by side specifications comparison:
Since we’ve already checked out the specifications of the above phones, lets go ahead and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each of them.
LG NEXUS 4:
The all-new LG-made Nexus 4 is like the child born from marriage of old Galaxy Nexus and LG’s flagship device – Optimus G. When Nexus 4 is kept aside the old Galaxy Nexus, they both look like twin brothers but just from different mothers. That said, there are still important notable hardware and design changes here. First, the device is majorly build out of Gorilla glass, both the front and back. Yes, the back is flat glass with a holographic stipple pattern making the handset look elegant, modern and even futuristic for that matter. Although it’s a gorgeous piece of design but save yourself from dropping it. This design is complimented by a new 4.7″ 1280 x 768 LCD display which does a better job than the AMOLED on the older Galaxy Nexus. The display may not be the best but its at par with all the four devices on the above list.
The camera on Nexus 4 gets the biggest improvement. The rear camera is now a 8-megapixel shooter with improved color reproduction as well as low-light performance. Here comes the best part about the new camera - software. A newly designed interface for the camera app is so simple that you may get surprised by how quick and easy it is. A circular menu in the camera app gets activated by touching anywhere on the screen and that circle lets you swipe in to different directions to change individual settings. Simple. Another creative enhancement in the camera is a new shooting mode called “Photo Sphere”. Let me tell you this is like the daddy of Panorama mode. It allows you to capture everything around you like a 360-degree shot (Street View).
Why you should buy it?
If you are among those many pure Android enthusiasts who do not like manufacturer interference in the software and love stock Android, then Nexus 4 is the right choice for you. Look no further, it does everything a pricier Galaxy S III or iPhone 5 does. Plus, you get the advantage of having the only smartphone that runs on latest version of Android – Jelly Bean 4.2. It has everything you expect in a modern smartphone. The 27k price for 16 GB model makes it a value for money product. It’s a steal.
Apple iPhone 5
The iPhone 5 is everything everyone had expected the iPhone 4S to be. It’s faster, slimmer, lighter, bigger and better than ever. Apple took the complaints and competition’s offering seriously while building the iPhone 5. All those slim models look even fatter in front of iPhone 5, thanks to a very slim 7.6mm body. The slim body also contributed in trimming down the weight. In comparison to the 4S, it weighs feather light at just 112 grams. If you thought these factors affected the build quality then you’re partly right and partly wrong too. The front now finally withholds a much-needed larger 4″ (1136 x 640 pixels) retina display. Rest of the hardware resembles exactly to the 4S with those same rounded corners and metal band running around edges. The back is where the real change is. Now it has a brushed aluminum material with glass on the top and bottom. Although this delivers a premium overall look, the back material tends to be prone to scratches. Rest assured, the taller, slimmer, lighter iPhone 5 will attract your eyes.
Apple also made some improvements to the already superb iSight camera. The glass on the outside of the lens has been replaced with a 6mm disc of crystal sapphire for durability. Rear camera image quality remains superior as always and 1080p video quality is bright and smooth. The improvement here is speed of snapping. Its faster than ever. The front VGA FaceTime camera has gotten replaced by a 1.2-megapixel FaceTime HD camera capable of capturing 720p video. It’s a good upgrade for FaceTime video chatting users. Apple finally adds a Panorama mode with iOS 6. The competition offered this since a long time and now finally iPhone has got it too.
I had mentioned about the iPhone 5 to be even faster now, that is, thanks to the 1 Ghz Dual Core Apple A6 chip coupled with 1 GB RAM beneath the display. On the software front, as always, Apple claims there have been more than 200 enhancements. iOS 6 brings in two major changes – Maps and Passbook. Maps on one hand are well-designed with clean and beautiful aesthetics but as complained by users worldwide it lags behind Google Maps at large. It’s not a finished product yet. Passbook too remains a big question to users as they expected to have NFC paired with it for mobile payments. Perhaps the biggest iOS 6 feature is Facebook integration. One can tell Siri to post a message to Facebook or do it manually by pressing “Tap to Post” button in the Notification Center. If you’re interested in knowing everything new in iOS 6 then check out this awesome engadget review.
Why you should buy it?
iOS 6 doesn’t really offer something substantial for iPhone 4S users to upgrade but on the other hand, loyal Apple fans can go ahead with the iPhone 5. They’ll appreciate the solid hardware and build quality. It has a excellent camera and display. All things work fine with the iPhone 5. One issue of buying it in India is ‘price’. Lets accept it, it’s over-priced. The highest model costs a hefty 60k. If your bank vault is well filled, go ahead and buy this premium product. Be assured, you’ll have no regrets.
Nokia Lumia 920:
It’s not just you who would have mistaken the Nokia Lumia 920 with the old Lumia 900. At first glance, they look quite similar. They have the same gorgeous polycarbonate single shell design with flat top and bottom surfaces. Nokia did right by not changing this, as it was already a beautiful piece of hardware in my opinion. But the similarities stop as soon as you hold it in your hands. It feels like a new phone and one with enough punch to beat the rest. The first thing you’ll notice – it’s heavy at a hefty 185 grams weight. Allow me to explain why so much weight.
Nokia brings in a 4.5″ (1280 x 768) IPS LCD Display for Lumia 920 instead of the AMOLED on Lumia 900. This new crisp display now runs on PureMotion HD+ tech which in simple terms means, one can expect smooth 60FPS animations, transitions and also the screen can respond to any touch inputs even if they are done by your nails or gloves. The display has got a higher PPI (332) than the iPhone 5′s Retina display has (326), making it even more stunning to look at. The symbian running Nokia PureView 808 might not have been a hit but the on board camera was phenomenal. Nokia makes the right decision of using their PureView imaging technology from 808 by adding it to Lumia 920 and unfortunately it won’t come with the 41-megapixel madness, instead a 8.7-megapixel sensor. This new camera is capable of excellent low-light pictures and it excels more in image stabilization. It does both 1080p rear camera video shooting and 720p front shooting at 30fps.
Perhaps the biggest change in the Lumia 920 is the software. Windows Phone 8 is here and its coming from a different origin now. Microsoft has finally managed to blend in the cores of both Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. This radical change has brought in much faster performance, responsiveness and improvements. It runs on a faster Qualcomm dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor clocked at 1.5GHz. Microsoft is bringing in deeper Skype, Office, SkyDrive, Xbox and IE 10 integration to Windows Phone 8. Check out this verge review of Windows Phone 8 to read more about the new OS.
Why you should buy it?
Are you one of those buyers for whom ecosystems don’t really matter? If yes, then go buy this phone. I say this because the Windows Phone ecosystem is still developing and although it’s emerging out to be a winner with all the Live Tiles and minimalistic design approach, it still needs lot of work to be done. Even if you don’t care about the OS, it’s a great phone in it’s own right with a elegant design, stunning display, latest wireless charging feature and the best camera on board. Also, Nokia packs in their utilitarian software services as a bonus. Nokia Lumia 920 price has not been announced for Indian masses yet, but we are expecting it to hover around Rs. 35k price tag.
Samsung Galaxy S3:
How do you build a smartphone that triumphs the already best smartphone? Samsung knows how. The Galaxy S 3 in every sense is a worthy successor to the Galaxy S 2. As always, Samsung loads in the most highest specifications including a beastly 1.4 Ghz quad-core Exynos chip coupled with 2GB RAM ensuring super fast performance. The display on the front is now a huge 4.8″ 1280 x 720 Super AMOLED HD which delivers 306 ppi. The display isn’t the best, but it’s among the best. I’ve personally used the phone and I can assure you that the huge screen or the plastic hardware isn’t really a problem. The phone feels fine in hand with 8.6 mm thickness and a normal 131 grams weight.
The camera on S3 can now deliver even better pictures than the S2, and is easily on par with the likes of iPhone 5. Samsung has added HDR mode while the rest of the camera software remains the same. That said, it’s a an excellent snapper with detailed pictures and lag-free 1080p @ 30 fps video shooting. Below the 8-megapixel rear camera, lies a 2100 mAh battery that promises to deliver 16 hrs of battery life on a regular usage basis.
Perhaps the better enhancements on the S3 is it’s software. Skinned on Android 4.0 (upgradable to 4.1 Jellybean), Samsung’s TouchWiz UI gets lot of additions and utilitarian features. It’s a list with all the “S’s” like S Beam, S Memo, S Planner, S Voice, Smart Stay, etc. Samsung brings in gesture based controls like the lock screen can now be used to pause music playback by simply placing the palm of your hand over the display. It works the same way for videos as well. A very smart motion control here is that one can swipe their palm over the screen to take a screenshot. While composing a text message, one can make a Direct Call by just lifting the phone to your ear. One of it’s kind addition here is Pop up play which allows you to keep watching any video in a small, re-sizable window atop any other phone activity your carrying out. It shows the future of multi-tasking. Samsung has also started rolling out Jelly Bean update to present S3 owners, thus you don’t have to worry about being left-out with the latest update.
Why you should buy it?
Looking for the best Android phone that does it all? Look no further. This is the phone you should be buying right now. Samsung has covered it all – a great camera, a stunning display, a blazing fast processor and top of all useful gesture based controls that makes the S3 stand out from the rest of Android devices. There’s also a storage bonus for S3 buyers as Samsung is offering free 50 GB dropbox storage for 2 years. All things considered, the approx 34,000 INR price is justified and is a worthy buy in very sense.
Samsung Galaxy Note 2:
The first note was a revelation, a hybrid, a innovation by Samsung that diminished the line between a smartphone and a tablet. The humongous 5.3″ display was loved by many and criticized by few. The same applies to inclusion of a stylus in a phone, but Samsung had done much more than just adding the stylus for touch input replacements. It’s a year gone now and Samsung is ready with the next successor, and undoubtedly Note 2 excels at greater heights than the Note 1, thus landing in my best smartphones list.
It’s a good sign that Samsung is maintaining design uniformity for its top of the line devices. I say that because the Note 2 is exactly what the S3 looks like. In fact, I would call it a bigger S3 with an added stylus. Why I say bigger S3 is because the Note 2 now has a larger 5.5″ ( 1280 x 720) Super AMOLED HD display with 267 ppi. Hang on before you think this is too huge! Yes it is but yes it also has its set of advantages that make this large size one of the benefits as well. I myself wasn’t a fan of the huge Note 1, but having used the Note 2 for few hours, I found it marvelous, and the extra screen size is a bonus for viewing movies, browsing, games and of course using stylus with Samsung’s bundled S Pen apps. The curved back and other ergonomics of the phone contribute in better one-hand comfortable handling. Let’s appraise the fact that a large 5.5″ display, super speedy 1.6 Ghz quad-core chip with 2 GB RAM, same 8-megapixel senor of S3, S Pen stylus and a big 3100 mAh battery, altogether have been put inside a slim 9.4 mm body. It’s a engineering feat if you ask me.
The talking point of this phone is of course the stylus aka S Pen. Rest of the software is same as its on S3 with TouchWiz skinned on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. The S Pen is now a lot more smarter, leaner and utilitarian than ever. You can use it to navigate your phone entirely. A new functionality called Air View for the S Pen has been added, which shows a dot on the screen exactly below where your stylus is hovering. This feels a lot like using a wireless mouse on PC with the pointer being your guide to increase accuracy. This functionality can do more like it can show thumbnails along a video’s timeline without the need to click. Another amazing addition is Multi Window which enables real time multi-tasking. One can use two apps side by side from the selected set of usable multi windows apps. There’s a lot more the stylus or even the Note 2 can do. Check out this amazing video that demonstrates the nitty-gritty of the phone:
We all love big things that come in small packages and Galaxy Note 2 is one such piece of phone. It’s special, powerful, huge, very useful and does much more than any other smartphone on this planet can do. The screen and stylus are the two small packages that make the Note 2 together a big bonus package. It feels more like using a PC than using a phone and that’s what makes it a real ‘smart’ device. If you ask me, it’s the best phone one can buy today. Available for a price tag of less than Rs. 35,000
Again it all comes down to your choice of ecosystem. If iOS is your choice, iPhone 5 is the best you can get. If you’re an Android enthusiast, then Nexus 4 is your best bet. If you’re looking for best individual qualities like best display, best camera, best hardware, then Lumia 920 with the developing Windows Phone 8 software is your best choice. If you’re looking for the perfect Android phone with everything at it’s best, then Galaxy S3 is the phone you should be buying.
Lastly, in my opinion, regardless of any ecosystem or individual best characteristic, it’s Samsung’s Galaxy Note 2 that beats all the above phones. Be it any section, hardware, design, camera, display, software, battery life, etc. It excels equally in all the aspects. It’s the best phone right now. Period.
Over to you, readers!
Yes I agree its been a long post but don’t you think a comparison of the best phones available on the planet deserves the amount of words been posted here? Anyways, if you are still confused about selecting your phone or have any other queries, don’t hesitate to use the comment form below and we shall look forward to it.