Nokia Lumia 920 vs HTC 8X vs Samsung Ativ S – Comparison of Windows Phone 8 devices

Windows Phone 8 is finally catching the fancy of consumers everywhere and with manufacturers finally putting in the newest tech into their Windows Phone 8 devices, they’re now very viable choices for the smartphone buyer who’s looking for something different from iOS and Android. If you’re interested in the high end Windows Phone 8 devices but can’t decide which one is right for you, you’ve come to the right place! Our feature, Nokia Lumia 920 vs HTC 8X vs Samsung Ativ S pits the biggest Windows Phone 8 devices against each other in some of the most important categories that could clear up some doubts while buying a smartphone. Without further ado, here’s the comparo!

Nokia Lumia 920 vs HTC 8X vs Samsung Ativ S

Nokia Lumia 920 vs HTC 8X vs Samsung Ativ S – The specs and performance:

No matter how subjectively you look at it, the fact is that specs do matter. Fortunately though, the basic internals on all the 3 smartphones are quite similar so there’s not much confusion there. The main things you need to look at are the special features, design and such which we will elaborate below. Here’s a breakdown of the specs you can find on all 3 Windows Phone 8 devices:

  Nokia Lumia 920 HTC 8X Samsung Ativ S
SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus MSM8960 Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus MSM8960 Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus MSM8960
CPU 1.5 GHz dual core Krait 1.5 GHz dual core Krait 1.5 GHz dual core Krait
GPU Adreno 225 Adreno 225 Adreno 225
Storage 32 GB, non expandable 16 GB, non expandable 16/32 GB, expandable upto 32 GB via MicroSD
Screen 4.5 inches PureMotion HD+ ClearBlack IPS LCD screen, 768 x 1280px (332 ppi) 4.3 inches Super LCD 2 screen, 720 x 1280px (342 ppi) 4.8 inch Super AMOLED HD screen, 720 x 1280px (306ppi)
Camera 8.7MP PureView rear facing camera (1080P video recording), 1.3MP front facing camera (720P video recording) 8 MP rear facing camera (1080P video recording), 2.1MP front facing camera (1080P video recording) 8MP rear facing camera (1080P video recording), 1.9MP front facing camera
Battery 2000 mAh 1800 mAh 2300 mAh

As seen above, all the phones feature the same SoC (System on Chip) which means they use the same processor, GPU and RAM. This translates to near identical performance in the real world. Benchmark wise the HTC 8X tends to lead by a few points, but it really doesn’t make any difference. In general all phones are zippy with nary a hint of slowdown. Apps and camera fire up quickly and there’s no problems with multimedia either. If you’re comparing these phones only based on performance and specs, it’s basically a draw.

Result: Draw

Nokia Lumia 920 vs HTC 8X vs Samsung Ativ S – Design, build and size:

Here’s where you can actually differentiate between the 3 smartphones. Nokia’s Lumia range basically brought funky colors back in vogue and HTC has taken a leaf out of Nokia’s book in this regard. HTC 8X is apparently inspired by live tiles and it shows. You can grab both phones in bright colors, the Lumia 920 comes in White, Red, Yellow, Black, Grey and Cyan, of which the latter two aren’t available in all markets. The HTC 8X comes in California Blue, Graphite Black, Flame Red and Limelight Yellow. The Samsung Ativ S is completely different in this regard because it comes only in grey.

With regards to build, the Nokia Lumia 920 comes in a matte finished polycarbonate shell for the Black and Cyan colors while the others come with a glossy finish. The glossy  colors are more prone to scratches and fingerprints, but are much brighter. The matte finished colors are as nice to hold as the previous generation Lumia’s and are a good choice if you’re not much into loud colors. The HTC 8X comes in a very good soft touch finish and is easy to hold and grip, partly because of the finish and also because of the size. Finally, the Samsung Ativ S comes with an elegant brushed metal finish that gives it a professional look that would not look out of place in a business environment.

It’s no secret that the Nokia Lumia 920 is a big phone, but it’s solidly built and looks great. However, it is the heaviest among the 3, weighing in at 185 gm due to all the tech crammed in. The Samsung Ativ S is also quite large because it houses the biggest screen among the trio, but it is rather light at 135 gm. HTC’s 8X is the lightest among the bunch, weighing in at 130 gm. The thinnest crown goes to the Samsung Ativ S, which is only 7.8 mm thick compared to the Lumia 920’s 10.7 mm and the HTC 8X’ 10.1 mm. Design is quite subjective, what appeals to one might not appeal to another, so we can leave this one up to you.

Result: Your call!

Nokia Lumia 920 vs HTC 8X vs Samsung Ativ S – Screen:

All the phones mentioned here use quite different tech in their screens. The Samsung Ativ S has gone with a Super AMOLED HD screen, pretty much the same as the Samsung Galaxy S3 and has rich blacks and contrasts, which are the traditional strengths of AMOLED screens. The HTC 8X has gone with the excellent Super LCD 2 screen, similar to the HTC One X which is considered one of the best displays on a smartphone. Even though it has the densest display among the three, you won’t really notice a difference, and there’s only a larger difference between the Ativ S and the 8X, while the Lumia 920 and 8X are not very far apart in terms of pixel density. Colors look more natural on the Super LCD 2 panel, but it tends to look slightly faded.

Nokia Lumia 920 vs HTC 8X vs Samsung Ativ S - Nokia Lumia 920

The Nokia Lumia 920 lays it’s claim as the winner here due to a gorgeous 4.5 inch IPS LCD screen with Nokia’s proprietary ClearBlack technology. Futhermore, there’s also something called PureMotion HD+ included. The HD+ moniker comes from the fact that it runs at a resolution of 1280 x 768 while the other two phones run at a standard 1280 x 720. PureMotion refers to the fast response time of the screen, which is just 5 ms compared to regular displays which have response times of 20 ms. This means that the screen transition and motion are far better looking and smooth. Plus, the super sensitive screen can be used with gloves, a stylus, nails, you name it. There’s no competition here, the Nokia Lumia 920 has the best display followed by the HTC 8X then the Samsung Ativ S.

Result: Nokia Lumia 920>HTC 8X>Samsung Ativ S

Nokia Lumia 920 vs HTC 8X vs Samsung Ativ S – Camera:

A lot of buzz surrounds the PureView camera in the Nokia Lumia 920 and it lives up to all the hype. Daylight shots look great but slightly oversaturated in the auto mode, but low light shots are absolutely gorgeous and no phone can capture photos like it. The Optical Image Stabilization ensures that videos are less shaky and blurred, so it’s good news for the times you need to capture moments but can’t really stand still. Nokia claims that the Lumia 920’s sensor lets in upto 5 times more light than rival smartphones, so some bright shots can look noisy unless settings are proper.

The HTC 8X uses the same snapper as the HTC One X and excels in daylight shooting with accurate color reproductions. However, it lacks image stabilization and cannot compete with the Lumia 920 in low light shooting either. But if you’re a fan of video chatting and self shots, the 8X offers a much better 2.1 MP front camera that has a wide angle lens and is capable of full 1080P video recording unlike the Lumia 920’s 720P (front facing). The wide angle lens means that the front facing camera captures images and videos upto a 88 degree angle.

The Samsung Ativ S uses the same camera as the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 which can be a good or bad thing depending on the way you look at it. Picture and video quality is good, but they tend to be softer to reduce noise. Color reproduction is fairly accurate but images taken in brightly lit areas tend to look a little washed out. In conclusion, the Nokia Lumia 920 has the best camera, followed by the HTC 8X and the Samsung Ativ S brings up the rear.

Result: Nokia Lumia 920>HTC 8X>Samsung Ativ S

Nokia Lumia 920 vs HTC 8X vs Samsung Ativ S – Storage:

Nokia Lumia 920 vs HTC 8X vs Samsung Ativ S - Samsung Ativ S

There’s no real contest here, the Samsung Ativ S wins hands down. Not only does it come in 16 and 32 GB flavors, you can also expand memory via MicroSD card upto 32 GB.  The Nokia Lumia 920 comes with 32 GB of onboard storage that also can’t be expanded while the last is the HTC 8X with a meagre 16 GB of non expandable storage, which is very disappointing.

Result: Samsung Ativ S>Nokia Lumia 920>HTC 8X

Nokia Lumia 920 vs HTC 8X vs Samsung Ativ S – Battery:

Theoretically, the Samsung Ativ S has the largest battery but it also has the largest screen to power. The Nokia Lumia 920 comes with a 2000 mAh battery that is also quite stressed since it has to power a very bright and sensitive screen in addition to powerful camera tech if you use it. While the HTC 8X comes with the smallest battery, 1800 mAh, it doesn’t have much to drain the battery. Unlike the others though, the Samsung Ativ S comes with a non removable battery so you can always buy a replacement or keep a backup of the battery.

In real world tests, the HTC 8X outshines the Nokia Lumia 920 in terms of battery life by lasting around 30-45 minutes longer on a single charge. Both phones manage about 12 hours of normal usage and last 6 hours on very heavy usage. The Samsung Ativ S claims to last around 7-8 hours with heavy usage but that isn’t really tested due to the scarcity of the device. So the result is a tentative one for now.

Result: Draw

Nokia Lumia 920 vs HTC 8X vs Samsung Ativ S – Special features:

The Nokia Lumia 920 comes stuffed with features you won’t find on any phone, which includes the excellent PureView camera, the PureMotion HD+ screen and of course, Nokia exclusive apps such as Nokia Drive+, Nokia Transit, Nokia City Lens and the like. The navigation features are unparalleled and if you’re a traveler and photography buff,  the Lumia 920 is what you should get.

The HTC 8X isn’t very far behind in this department either and comes with the Beats Audio enhancement, but the headphones have to be bought separately. Bass levels and audio clarity is top notch, both from the headphones as well as the speakers which actually feature an enhanced amplifier. Furthermore, HTC has included a hub like app that brings the latest news, stocks and weather info at one place.

Nokia Lumia 920 vs HTC 8X vs Samsung Ativ S - HTC 8X

The Samsung Ativ S unfortunately doesn’t have anything special going for it other than the whole professional and elegant look, which is different from the other Windows Phone 8 devices.

Result: Nokia Lumia 920>HTC 8X>Samsung Ativ S

Nokia Lumia 920 vs HTC 8X vs Samsung Ativ S – Connectivity:

All 3 smartphones are capable of connecting through Wi-Fi and DLNA, feature NFC and MicroUSB 2.0 ports. There’s also Bluetooth 3.0 on board. All 3 phones are LTE capable as well but there’s a catch. The HTC 8X launched in India is not capable of running on Indian LTE networks and it remains to be seen if the Nokia Lumia 920 or Samsung Ativ S will be capable.

There’s a rumor that the reason for Nokia Lumia 920’s delayed launch in India is that the version to be released is in fact the Nokia Lumia 920T which supports the TD-LTE standard used in China, since India and China share the same LTE bands. The good part is that the Lumia 920T comes with an Adreno 320 GPU instead of the Adreno 225 in the international version, and is 3 times more powerful. But for now, it’s just a rumor. And thus the result is a tie.

Update: The Lumia 920 released in India is not the 920T.

Result: Draw

Nokia Lumia 920 vs HTC 8X vs Samsung Ativ S – Price:

Depending on the country you’re in, prices fluctuate, but for reference let’s just consider unlocked or off contract prices in US dollars. The Nokia Lumia 920 is 499$ on AT&T, the HTC 8X is 599$ and the Samsung Ativ S is expected to be 649$ for the 16 GB variant and 699$ for the 32 GB variant. In India however, the HTC 8X retails for around Rs. 34,000 and the prices for the other two haven’t been revealed yet. This result is based on the prices worldwide.

Result: Nokia Lumia 920>HTC 8X>Samsung Ativ S

Nokia Lumia 920 vs HTC 8X vs Samsung Ativ S – Conclusion:

It’s actually difficult to come to a conclusion for these devices since each has their strengths and weaknesses. Of course the usual advantages and disadvantages of Windows Phone 8 apply here as well. But there’s no denying that all the devices here are extremely capable and the decision ultimately rests with you. Objectively you can always set your sights on a particular phone, but when you actually have a little hands on with them you might change your decision. So my suggestion is you try out the phones before you buy them. Then again, since the comparison above has produced results, we think the best Windows Phone 8 device is the Nokia Lumia 920, the second best is the HTC 8X and finally there’s the Samsung Ativ S.

That was our feature on Nokia Lumia 920 vs HTC 8X vs Samsung Ativ S, do let us know what you think and what phone you’d buy if you were going to get a Windows Phone 8 device. Comments and suggestions are welcome!

  1. Varela December 23, 2012

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