By Jonathan Charles | Sep 16, 2012 10:42 AM EDT
The holiday season approaches, and for a large majority of consumers, holiday shopping will include deciding which phones to upgrade to and which to keep for the next 18 months to two years. Apple unveiled the iPhone 5 yesterday, so how does it compare to the leading Android and Windows Phone devices?
Nokia's phone uses a 4.5-inch screen with a 1280 x 768 resolution, and the Samsung Galaxy S3 features a 4.8 inch, 1280 x 720 display, compared to the iPhone's four inch screen with 1136 x 640 resolution. The iPhone 5 is the first iPhone to use a four-inch screen, giving into the pressure created by Android and Windows Phone 8 devices. All three displays are capacitive and support multitouch.
Nokia's Lumia 920 measures 5.11 x 2.79 x 0.42 inches, weighing 0.41 pounds. Apple's device is 4.87 x 2.31 x 0.31 inches, the thinnest iPhone yet and seemingly the thinnest smartphone on the market, weighing 0.25 pounds. Samsung's Galaxy S3 measures 5.38 x 2.78 x 0.34 inches at 0.29 pounds.
Apple and Samsung offer two colors each: black/Silver and black/grey for iPhone 5 and white/silver and blue/silver for Galaxy S3. The Lumia 920 comes in white, black, yellow, red, and grey; the covers for the device are removable.
The trio all support video output and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Apple is offering the Lightning connector; it changed the 30-pin connector, as rumored, though an adapter is offered for purchase. Meanwhile, Nokia and Samsung support microSD.
The iPhone 5 is announced for AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint. Samsung's Galaxy S3 supports the carriers along with US Cellular.
GSM frequencies for the iPhone are 1900, 900, and 850; the CDMA frequencies for the Galaxy S3 are 1900, 800/850, and 2100. The Lumia 920 supports GSM frequencies 1900, 1800, 900, and 850; it also supports UMTS frequencies 2100, 1900, 900, and 850. The phone supports UMTS, HSPA, and LTE (the first time for Apple). LTE is supported and AT&T is confirmed for North America and Everything Everywhere for UK customers.
The phones support Wi-Fi frequencies 802.11n, 802.11g, 802.11b, and 802.11a. 802.11n frequencies for iPhone 5 are 5GHz and 2.4GHz.
GPS and Bluetooth 4.0 are also in the phones, aside from Bluetooth 3.1 in the Lumia 920, along with NFC and tethering/mobile hotspot support. Media streaming on the iPhone is through AllPlay, and the Galaxy S3 uses AllShare.
The Lumia 920 uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor at 1.5GHz with two cores, compared with the iPhone 5's A6 processor, the fastest Apple offers. Samsung uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor, which uses two cores and runs at a clock speed of 1.5GHz. The iPhone 5's GPU is rumored to be the SGX543 GPU while Samsung uses the Qualcomm Adreno 220. RAM for iPhone 5 is 1GB while Samsung Galaxy S3 uses 2GB. RAM inside the Lumia 920 is 1GB.
The phones all use a compass, accelerometer, gyroscope, proximity sensor, and ambient light sensor.
16, 32, and 64GB sizes are available; Samsung is offering 16 and 32GB. The latter offers external storage, unlike Apple, and microSD cards can increased storage up to 64GB. Nokia supports just 32GB with no removable storage.
Apple bumped up the iPhone 5's camera compared to the iPhone 4S, also introducing a new Panorama feature that allows users to take wider screenshots. The front cameras for the iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S3 are 1.2 and 1.9 megapixels respectively, with a 720p resolution, and both use a 30 frames-per-second framerate (FPS). The Nokia Lumia 920 uses a 1.2-megapixel camera with a video resolution of 720p and a framerate 30 frames-per-second (FPS).
Apple is now offering an eight-megapixel rear camera with LED flash, autofocus, 30FPS, and 1080p resolution output. Samsung's Galaxy S3's rear camera also uses eight megapixels with LED flash, autofocus, and a 1080p resolution. The rear PureView camera on the Lumia 920 is 8.7 megapixels. Both use LED flash autofocus, with a 1080p resolution at 30 frames-per-second (FPS).
iOS 6 runs on the iPhone 5, and Apple claims over 200 improvements to the operating system, from the new card-collecting Passbook app to Maps, Apple's replacement for Google Maps. Meanwhile, Samsung uses Android 4.0 on its Galaxy S3 with the TouchWiz skin overlayed, which will soon be upgraded to Android 4.1. Nokia's Lumia 920 uses Windows Phone 8, the next-generation version of Windows Phone which supports high definition resolutions and multi-core processors.
Apple claims eight hours of battery usage for iPhone 5, though no extensive real-world testing is available and the battery is not removable. Samsung's Galaxy S3 uses a 2100mAh battery with 9.2 hours of usage; it is removable and also supports wireless charging.
Nokia claimed offers 10 hours of usage, though its lack of availability means that extensive testing is not possible. The battery is also not removable, although Nokia's Lumia 920 supports wireless charging.