Yesterday, Apple finally launched its latest smartphone (opens in new tab), and we were up until the wee hours of this morning ironing out the creases on a brace of key initial spec comparisons, pitting the iPhone 5 against the Samsung Galaxy S3 (opens in new tab), as well as matching it up to its predecessor, the iPhone 4S. (opens in new tab) After some well earned beauty sleep, we're now round to potentially the most interesting evaluation yet: the iPhone 5 versus Nokia's forthcoming Lumia 920. So how do the two smartphones compare? And, more importantly, which one do you want stuffing your stocking this holiday season?
Size and weight
The old adage about not educating canines too late into life holds true with Nokia's latest flagship smartphone, with the Lumia 920's (opens in new tab) many positive features at risk of being overshadowed by the fact that the handset is another characteristic brick effort from the Finnish firm. At 185 grams, it is substantially heavier than all major rivals and arguably too weighty for a high-end mobile circa 2012. We are less concerned about its thickness (10.7mm) though it is technically chunkier than rivals.
At the opposite end of the scale (literally) the Apple iPhone 5 is one of the lightest full-feature smartphones on the market at just 112 grams, a massive 73 grams less. In this market a difference of 20-30 grams is very noticeable in the hand, and the Nokia is more than double that heavier.The iPhone 5 may not be the "world's thinnest smartphone" as the US company claimed last night, it's thin enough at 7.6mm to feel pretty sexy in your palm. Purely in terms of physical dimensions, the iPhone 5 is a superior product.
The iPhone 5's expanded 4in display should improve its multimedia performance, but it's still relatively small-fry compared to the Lumia 920, which features a Galaxy S3-esq 4.5in screen. Nokia makes the most of the fact that the 920 features one of the largest displays on the non-hybrid mobile market, boasting a better pixel density and resolution than Apple's latest handset. If you don't mind rocking a mobile that's fairly chunky for its day, the Lumia 920's display is marginally superior.
Storage and memory
The Nokia Lumia 920 is a straight forward proposition, coming in a standard issue 32GB model, while the iPhone 5 is available in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB models. With the latter model, Apple offers a higher capacity of internal storage than the 920, making it a more appropriate buy for those concerned with have an excess of space for data, though the higher-end capacity will surely come at an enthusiastic price. The iPhone 5's RAM hasn't been confirmed as yet, but it's likely to be similar to the 1GB offered by Nokia's device.
Little is known about Apple's new A6 SoC apart from the fact that it's assumed to be an improvement on the processors featured in previous iPhone handsets, while the Lumia 920 offers an increasingly standard issue dual-core Snapdragon engine. Clocking in at 1.5GHz, it's serviceable if not spectacular, but you can't choose between the two until more is revealed about what's actually sitting in the iPhone 5's cockpit. In purely speculative terms, it's likely to be a similar dual-core proposition, making their little to choose between the two mobiles in this department.
Windows Phone 8 is the wild card of the industry at the moment, and hopes are high for Microsoft's latest mobile OS - both amongst the firm's own fanbase and amongst Apple-sceptics who aren't totally sold on the leaky Android platform. That said, there probably won't be much to dislike about iOS 6, as Apple's interfaces are typically a major selling point. Expect smooth operation on the iPhone 5 and a good selection of apps, though it's impossible to pronounce on the better product software-wise until WP8 is actually among us.
Apple has bolstered its camera arsenal with the iPhone 5, though few manufacturers can compete with Nokia's high-end, PureView offerings these days. Where the new iPhone features a more than serviceable 8MP primary camera with an impressive f/2.4 aperture speed, the Lumia 920 simply looks to be the best phone on the market for photography enthusiasts when it arrives, boasting an 8.7MP camera and a f/2.0 aperture to complement optical stabilisation. A similar pattern holds true for the front-facing cameras: Apple's 720p secondary snapper is good, but Nokia's 1.3MP offering is superior. Again, if you don't mind the new Lumia's size, the 920 is obviously the way to go from an imaging standpoint.
Another win for the Lumia 920, though nearly all high-end smartphones on the market today best Apple in this respect - an uncomfortable truth even the company's most ardent fanboys will admit. The iPhone 5 was announced as featuring the same claimed 3G talk time as the 4S, while Nokia's device sports an inevitably superior 2000 mAh battery with a purported 10 hours talk time on 3G. As ever, if longevity is your principle concern, look everywhere but the iPhone.
Both devices are set to be among the first generation of handsets to run on the UK's new 4G LTE spectrum (opens in new tab). The Lumia 920 looks superior from a connectivity standpoint thereafter, featuring NFC for contactless payment and supporting wireless charging for that extra cool factor.
The iPhone 5 features the more advanced Bluetooth 4.0, but we imagine very few people consider this a make-or-break feature these days.
Pricing of the Lumia 920 hasn't been confirmed, and it won't be available until much later in the autumn. Apple has announced that SIM-free pricing for the iPhone 5 will start at £529, presumably for the 16GB model. Tack on a speculative £100 for the 32GB model to put its internal storage on a par with the Lumia 920 and you're looking at over £600 - a price we would imagine to be considerably keener than the tag that ends up anointing Nokia's latest product.
From a purely monetary perspective, the Lumia 920 looks to be better value, especially considering its specs are superior to the iPhone 5's in many key departments - and that's before you take into account coughing up for Lightning charger adapters and the like. If you're offended by the additional weight of the Nokia handset, you're advised to pay the extra dosh to get Apple's slimline iPhone. But for those willing to make this slight compromise - and experiment with Windows Phone 8 - the Nokia Lumia 920 looks like a better buy.
Nokia Lumia 920
1136 x 640 pixels
1280 x 768 pixels
Processor and battery
Claimed 3G talk time
Storage and memory
16 / 32 / 64GB
3264 x 2448 pixels
3264 x 2448 pixels
123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6mm
130.3 x 70.8 x 10.7mm
Windows Phone 8
21 September (pre-order from 14 September)