Apple underwhelms with the iPhone 5. Here's why the Nokia Lumia 920 is better.

Today's winner is...

Today, Apple finally took the wraps off of the long-awaited iPhone 5 (you can get all the dirty details at our sister site iMore). Funny thing happened along the way though to the announcement: many leaks came forward early on that turned out to be highly accurate, taking the punch out of a lot of the new features. What’s more, even the media started to get a bit bored with Apple’s plans for the next-gen device.

The question for our readers though is in terms of raw technology—who came out on top? We say that because we know Apple will win the PR and hype war, but for the first time a Windows Phone has gone toe-to-toe and in terms of specs, has beat out the next-generation iPhone.

Specifications - iPhone 5

Here is what the new iPhone 5 packs for the main features:

  • 112 grams (20% lighter than the 4S)
  • 7.6mm thin
  • 4” in-cell 1136 x 640 display (16:9; 326ppi)
  • 8MP rear camera with F/2.4 lens, BSI sensor and Sapphire crystal
  • Apple A6 Chip

The crux of the update is this though: the iPhone 5 increases the display vertically to show more, but does not make the phone wider thereby making it easier to hold. In turn, Apple have also made it much thinner and lighter, going for the super-temporary title of “world’s thinnest” blah blah. We’re sure that will change in like 3-6 weeks, knowing how fast technology moves these days.

They also added 4G LTE, re-did their proprietary connector and gave it a faster A6 processor.


The Lumia 920 and the Lumia 900, chillin'

Let's compare

By comparison, the really thin Samsung ATIV S is 8.7mm thick and weighs in at 135g. Of course the simply massive 2300mAh battery on board makes up for that in our opinion. The Lumia 920, meanwhile is a monster, coming in at 185g and 10.7mm thick.

So if you want small and nimble, yes, the iPhone 5 is your choice and let’s not deny the fact that many people do prefer small, thin phones.

But it was the rest of the news that made the presentation, soporific. That’s because Apple either didn’t reveal anything new or what they did say was quite unexciting.

For instance, the in-cell display is neat—they put the touch sensitive components within the display directly, making it super thin. But it’s not Nokia’s Super-sensitive display. That means you have to take your gloves off to use it. That's sooo early 2012.

That's a killer commercial right there for Nokia: Show someone wearing their gloves while using the Lumia 920. Next, have the iPhone 5 with someone mashing their gloved phalanges on the screen in frustration. Sold.

Lumia 920 looks good on paper

What’s more, Nokia’s PureMotion HD+ has a 60Hz refresh rate, making it “blur free” and the fastest display on a phone.  Throw in ClearBlack for super saturated colors, 4.5” inches in size and a massive 332ppi that dwarfs the iPhone 5 and we know the winner.

But that didn’t stop Apple from exclaiming, "This is the world's most advanced display and I couldn't be prouder of it."

Sorry, but bullshit.

Next up was the camera. Here, Apple could have snuck in some new tech that none of us would have predicted. But no they gave users an updated iPhone 4S camera--a very solid camera—but not ground breaking. With an F/2.4 lens, BSI sensor and an improved chipset, the iPhone 5 will be good but it's not pushing the boundaries.

Nokia though has an F/2.0 camera (more light for the sensor, more ‘bokeh’ blur), 1/3” BSI sensor and optical-image stabilization (OIS) with that last one being a first for a smartphone. Toss in Nokia’s algorithms plus Scalado’s software and in terms of raw specs, Nokia crushed Apple.

Yes, we need to do side-by-side comparison, but any photographer worth their salt would reach for the Nokia’s PureView camera over the iPhone 5 just based on specs.

Even on battery life and talk-time, Apple did not fair so well. Talk time over 3G is just 8 hours versus the 10 hours claimed by Nokia. When it comes to standby time, it’s even worse: Apple – 225 hours versus Nokia at 400.

The new iPhone 5. Not bad but not great.

Where Apple wins

Apple of course does win a few areas—super thin, super light, as mentioned above. They also announced a pre-order date (September 14th), shipping date (September 21st) and of course prices starting at the regular $199 and up.

For many, that’s a huge win for Apple as they always out do their competition that way. And while it would have been nice for Nokia to do the same, the fact of the matter that probably won’t happen. Ever. Microsoft makes the software, OEMs make the hardware and carriers have to sell it.  To get all three of those to line up to make global availability announcements is just too hard, especially since Windows Phone 8 has not been RTM’d (released to manufactures aka final build).

The fact is, Samsung, HTC, LG, Huwaei etc. all play by those rules on Android and Windows Phone too. Sure, it’s not ideal but Nokia is not the exception here—Apple is. And Apple can do this for two reasons (1) they strong-armed carriers, who will never allow that to happen again and (2) they have the clout to demand things.

Microsoft? Not so much.

Having said that, look for a November release for Nokia.

Nokia's PureMotion HD+ is real innovation

Where Apple loses

Excitement. There, we said it. The new iPhone 5 with its longer look is not that sexy to be honest and the new features did not cause us to have a ‘wow’ moment. Not once.

Maybe that’s too much to ask from Apple. Not every Pink Floyd album can be Dark Side of the Moon, right?  But Apple has set the bar for magical technology and the iPhone 5 failed to impress. Not because it's a bad phone, it just didn't push the industry that forward. Thinner and lighter with worse battery life? We went through that years ago.

No NFC, no inductive wireless charging, no OIS for the camera, no Super-sensitive touch screen, no Gorilla Glass 2, no exciting colors, no HAAC rich recording.

Lower pixels-per-inch (PPI) on the display, smaller display, worse battery life, mediocre camera specs, slower display refresh-rate. And you can't wear gloves while using it.

Will it be a nice phone? You betcha', we’re not knocking that. But will the media and fans be impressed with this when it is eventually put up against the Lumia 920 (or even other high end Android devices)? Probably not.

The fact of the matter is Nokia showed that their research & development team has a lot more up their sleeve than Apple and Nokia is just getting started.

The Lumia 920 in grey (via our Forums)

The Take Away

The iPhone 5 will sell well and will be reviewed well but it’s losing its power to impress, to set the bar for technology. It's starting to feel old. For the first time, competitors have a real chance to blow by Apple and we’re excited to say that the Lumia 920 is leading that charge.

Will it matter for sales? Not immediately but this could be the start as people begin to get excited for something different, again.

Read more about the iPhone 5 at Tell is comments what you thought of today's announcement and the chances for Nokia.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

  • Woo! I knew you wouldn't let us down, Daniel :)
  • +1
  • +2 now I will wait for the nokia
    Consulting since 98
    enterprise management software
  • +2 good review. Daniel does the new 920 still have the least reflective screen in the world like the N900? Its something I love, to be able to see my phone in the sun. And its another thing better than iPhone.
  • Yup, have been waiting for this. Lumia 920 come to me!
  • Definitely... I've enjoyed reading other articles on WP Central but this has got to be the best one yet... He even said "Bullshit."
  • kind of the exact reason i didnt like the article. i like the site, love the mobile app, but honestly cannot stand the way daniel writes. every article hes involved with comes off as an angry fanboy rant. its silly. leave that kind of stuff to the angry pre teens on the boards. 
  • Keep on keep'n on Daniel!
  • Too much tech blog writing comes off as angry fanboy ranting. 
    Why?  It gets hits. 
  • Here's why I think Apple will succeed where Nokia and MS fail. Go up to any teen pre-teen or just about any young person between the ages of 12 and 25 and ask them if they would rather have a brand new Iphone5 or a brand new Lumia 920. And I can almost guarantee that atleast 99% percent will say Iphone5. Why? Because they recognize the brand. Specs,,,screen,,,camera don't matter. All that matters its a NEW Iphone.
  • I guess that makes my kids '1-percenters'  then...nice!
  • That's not true in my kids' circle of friends. IPhone is their parents' phone and they don't want any part of that!
  • I have to agree, my  girls and all there friends not one of them have a iPhone. macpro laptops yes. my three plus another three all have WP7 devices the rest android and of a few of them they want the lumia 820. They like the bold colors, they like the live tiles feeds, so WP8 is really going to have a great fighting chance the only ones who can screw it up will be Microsoft and not the users.
  • Well you need to teach ur kids about better choice in life, and writting comments like this doesn't help. There are much better phones than the iPhone ,920 being one, so educate them on better specs, not just iPhone sh*t
  • I wasn't refering to my kids,,,I don't even have any. I was making an observation of what I see while out and about shopping and what not.
    I tend to notice that most young people all have iphones along with a few android.
  • This is lame, the phone has not even been reviewed or tested and everyone is already trashtalking it???   If they made the Apple logo glow you would all be stunned in aww and would drop money on it just because it has a new feature. 
    I like the 920 but it will probably not sell very well, they innovated a ton on it which is great!!!, messed up on marketing and presentation, then messed it up by not making it thin and removing the premium feel with a glossy case.  They should have come out with a few more guns blazing, making it thinner, using an aluminum casing, while going edge to edge on the display to make it smaller while maintaining a huge screen.Awesome phone but they need to provide a realse dat, pricing, and show how it will integrate with Windows 8 and the Xbox, not leave us with the hope that it will.
    Apple puts all of their ducks in a row and gets it done then and there, no uncertainty.
  • Yay, im that 1%!
  • Not true with me, people see me titan and their like "damn, thats big, what phone is that?" and I explain and they like to look and the smoothness. :)
  • I'm 15, and I'm the smartphone expert. I know more then the shit staff at AT&T. And I want the NL920.
  • go get 'em son..
  • So we bested Apple when it comes to technology, but now it's up to Nokia to tell everyone. Relax.
  • uhh... are you the guy who collect the statistics?
  • Ahuczek... You're so ANAL.. This was well written and the opposite of lifeless:)
  • Common you exaggerating, its not that bad.
  • I had to agree. This article is full of anger.
  • +1
  • Lol I chuckled at it
  • Yea, I even said...OH to that one... lol
  • +1
  • Put excellently
  • Is it bad I'm more excited about the update for WPCentral, then for the iPhone 5?
  • +1
  • +1
  • Daniel I think today's best news has been the fact that Nokia (indirectly WP8) has been in the news without effort from MS and Nokia. I was very happy to see the Iphone 5 been compared to a windows phone. I do not know when it ever happen, maybe you can help me with that Daniel.
    Now most tech journos will look at the Nokia 920 first for comparison purpose. I think that was a benefit of announcing great tech before Apple.
  • I agree completely. I was pleased to see the Lumia 920 in comparisons all over the Internet.
  • Most tech journalists don't have any interest in Windows Phone. The ones who follow MS will certainly compare the 920 favorably to the iPhone 5. But NY & Silicon Valley tech journalists who write for the largest publications won't even regard the 920 as an iPhone 5 competitor, much less believe that anyone would want to buy it instead of the iPhone 5. That can only change if WP8 succeeds, and puts many Lumia phones into the hands of mainstream consumers.
  • I will agree, look everyone wants a Lumia 920 but not everyone will go to AT&T
  • Good point, I noticed the same in major sites and newspapers.
  • +1
  • +1
  • What's missing is a comparison against the lumia 900, iphone5 seems to fall short of many wp7.5 phones. Im shocked, they've exposed their queen to a double attack!
  • totally!
    boring OS
    and boring Phone..
    This round goes to Nokia!