Samsung Galaxy S III vs. Nokia Lumia 900: Head-to-head

Which is the better smartphone, Samsung's Galaxy S III or the Nokia Lumia 900?

There's plenty of hot new smartphones hitting the market in 2012, but two of the most talked about are the Samsung Galaxy S III and the Nokia Lumia 900.

Choosing between an Android phone and a Windows Phone definitely isn't easy, as both of these powerhouses have impressive specifications and features. Is the Samsung Galaxy S III the right phone for you, or does Nokia's flagship Lumia 900 suit you better? Let's compare!

Samsung Galaxy S III

Samsung Galaxy S III Android phone (preview)

Nokia Lumia 900

Nokia Lumia 900 Windows Phone

Verdict

?
Operating system
Google Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
Microsoft Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango)
Samsung Galaxy S III
UI overlay
Samsung TouchWIZ
N/A
N/A
Screen size
4.8in
4.3in
Samsung Galaxy S III
Screen resolution
1280x720
480x800
Samsung Galaxy S III
Display technology
Super AMOLED HD
AMOLED
Samsung Galaxy S III
Pixel density
306ppi
217ppi
Samsung Galaxy S III
Front camera
1.9-megapixels
1-megapixel
Samsung Galaxy S III
Rear camera
8 megapixels w/single-LED flash
8 megapixels w/dual-LED flash
Draw
Camera features
Simultaneous HD video and image recording, Autofocus, geotagging, touch focus, face and smile detection
Autofocus, geotagging, touch focus, video stabilisation
Samsung Galaxy S III
Video recording
1080p HD @ 30fps (720p HD front camera)
720p HD @ 30fps (VGA front camera)
Samsung Galaxy S III
FM radio
Yes
Yes
Draw
Internal memory
16GB/32GB/64GB
16GB
Samsung Galaxy S III
Expandable memory
Yes, microSD
No
Samsung Galaxy S III
Thickness
8.6mm
11.5mm
Samsung Galaxy S III
Weight
133g
160g
Samsung Galaxy S III
Build material
Polycarbonate (Hyperglaze finish)
Polycarbonate (Unibody)
Nokia Lumia 900
RAM
1GB
512MB
Samsung Galaxy S III
Processor
Samsung Exynos Quad (Cortex A9) quad-core 1.4GHz
Qualcomm Snapdragon single-core 1.4GHz
Samsung Galaxy S III
Australian 3G networks
HSDPA 850/900/2100
HSDPA 850/900/2100
Draw
Australian 4G networks
Unknown
No
Unknown
Wi-Fi
802.11a/b/g/n
802.11b/g/n
Draw
Bluetooth
4.0 with A2DP
2.1 with A2DP
Samsung Galaxy S III
HDMI-out
No (Yes with MHL adapter)
No
Draw
Quoted battery life
Up to 11h 40 min
Up to 7h
Samsung Galaxy S III
Battery capacity
2100mAh
1830mAh
Samsung Galaxy S III
Removable battery
Yes
No
Samsung Galaxy S III
Major carriers
Unknown
Optus
Unknown

Samsung Galaxy S III vs. Nokia Lumia 900: Display

The Samsung Galaxy S III has a 4.8in Super AMOLED display with a HD resolution of 720x1280. It has a pixels per inch rating of 306ppi — slightly less than the market leading iPhone 4S and just behind the HTC One X and the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. We are yet to get our hands on the Galaxy S III for a direct comparison, but if it is anything like previous Samsung super AMOLED screens the company has another winner on its hands.

By comparison, the Nokia Lumia 900 has a smaller 4.3in screen. The Lumia 900 uses an AMOLED panel and ClearBlack technology that aims to provides better blacks and improved outdoor visibility. However, its biggest hindrance is the rather low resolution of 480x800 and subsequent pixels per inch rating of 217ppi. The Lumia 900's screen is both bright and clear, but Microsoft's strict hardware requirements means the lower resolution panel doesn't display text as well as many of its rivals. This is particularly evident in the browser, where text is difficult to read unless it's zoomed in.

Samsung Galaxy S III vs. Nokia Lumia 900: Design

The Samsung Galaxy S III has a large 4.8in screen but is only slightly larger than its predecessor, the Galaxy S II. The Galaxy S III has a largely plastic build which keeps the weight down to just 133g, though Samsung has confirmed the plastic is polycarbonate and not just plain old plastic. The phone will come in "marble white" and "pebble blue" colours, though its not known if one or both variants will be sold in Australia.

Samsung copped plenty of criticism for using a plastic build on the Galaxy S III, but it has tried to allay those fears by using what it calls a "hyperglaze" finish. This is best described as an additional layer of plastic on top of the casing, creating a brushed metal look.

By comparison, Nokia's Lumia 800 is one of the best looking smartphones on the market. It is constructed from a single block (unibody) of solid polymer, the same material often found in ice hockey helmets. The Nokia Lumia 900 is available in black, white, cyan and magenta colours and polycarbonate casing is coloured all the way through in the manufacturing process. This means scratches, dents or marks from everyday use will not show up. Overall, there is no doubting that the Lumia 900 is one of the best looking and most elegant smartphones on the market today.

Samsung Galaxy S III vs. Nokia Lumia 900: Software

The battle between rival operating systems is always tough to call. In most cases, whether or not one OS is "better" than the other is an entirely subjective point of view. One user may love the simplicity and elegant look of Microsoft's Windows Phone platform, while another may prefer the flexibility and customisation that Android brings.

There is no doubt that both of these smartphones offer a wealth of features in a relatively easy to use package. If customisation and flexibility is what you're after, then you're going to prefer the Galaxy S III. If you want a unique, simple and slick experience then the Lumia 900 is definitely worth considering.

The Galaxy S III runs the latest Ice Cream Sandwich version of Android, but it also comes with the latest version of Samsung's TouchWIZ UI overlay. New software features include Direct Call, the ability to call a contact you are currently messaging by simply holding the phone up to your ear, Smart Alert, which vibrates and flashes a notification LED when you pick up the phone after a missed call, and S-Voice, which appears to be a Siri-like voice recognition feature that can be configured to control various features of the phone. Samsung also includes 50GB of free Dropbox storage for all users, while the popular Flipboard social network aggregator app will be exclusive to the Galaxy S III for a limited time before being made available on other Android phones.

The Nokia Lumia 900 comes with the latest version of Windows Phone, dubbed 7.5 or "Mango". Using the Lumia 900 is an almost identical experience to every other Windows Phone on the market. This isn't such a bad thing as the Windows Phone platform is slick, modern, user friendly and smooth. There's no lag during general use, applications open swiftly with no delay and most core tasks are easy to access and use on a daily basis.

One of the biggest selling points for Nokia's Windows Phone devices is Nokia Drive, a free turn-by-turn GPS navigator. The app is completely free and allows you to install street maps for most countries. Once installed, you can use the map without the need for a mobile Internet connection. The Lumia 900 also includes a free 25GB of SkyDrive storage, along with Nokia Music and Nokia Maps applications.

Samsung Galaxy S III vs. Nokia Lumia 900: Camera

The Samsung Galaxy S III has an 8-megapixel rear camera and a 1.9-megapixel front facing camera that also shoots 720p video. The rear camera doubles as a full HD 1080p video recorder. Numbers aside, Samsung has made a number of software tweaks to the camera in an attempt to create a better user experience. These include Best Photo, which takes 20 shots in burst mode (six photos per second) and uses software algorithms to select the best photo, Face Zoom, which recognises individual faces and zooms in to take a photo of them, Face Slideshow, which focuses on a single person in an image slideshow, and Smart Stay, which uses the Galaxy S III's front-facing camera to dim the screen when you aren't looking at the phone. The Galaxy III's camera can also take still photos while recording video.

The Nokia Lumia 900 can't boast the Galaxy S III's ability to take still photos while recording video, but it also has an 8-megapixel camera. A dual LED flash, a Carl Zeiss lens and 720p HD video recording at 30 frames per second are other features. The image quality of the Lumia 900 won't match the quality of the unrivalled Nokia N8 but it definitely takes a decent photo, provided you are backed by good lighting.

Samsung Galaxy S III vs. Nokia Lumia 900: Internals

The Samsung Galaxy S III is powered by the company's new 1.4GHz Exynos 4 quad-core processor, has 1GB of RAM and comes with either 16 or 32GB of internal memory. Samsung says a 64GB model will be available at a later date, while all models have a microSD card slot for memory expansion. The Galaxy S III is a quad-band HSPA+ smartphone, but Samsung will have an LTE 4G model available in the US, Japan and Korea. It is not yet known if a 4G model will be available in Australia.

The Nokia Lumia 900 is powered by a single-core 1.4GHz processor and 512MB of RAM. It comes with 16GB of internal memory, but doesn't have a microSD card slot for extra storage. It is important to note that despite specifications that could be deemed "lesser" than many rival flagship Android phones, the Nokia Lumia 900 offers excellent performance with little to no lag during general use.

Samsung is expected to announce Australian launch details for the Galaxy S III smartphone later this month. The Galaxy S III is expected to be sold on all three Australian carriers — Telstra, Optus and Vodafone.

The Nokia Lumia 900 is available in Australia through Optus.

What do you think about the Samsung Galaxy S III and the Nokia Lumia 900? Let us know in the comments below!

Related articles

Samsung Galaxy S III preview
Nokia Lumia 900 review
Where can you buy the Samsung Galaxy S III?
Windows Phone 7.5 Mango: hands-on review
Samsung Galaxy S III vs. Galaxy S II: We compare Samsung's Android phones

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Ross Catanzariti

Ross Catanzariti

PC World
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