Google Nexus 4 full review

Nexus 4 vs Lumia 920

If you don't want an iPhone - and, believe it or not, there are plenty of us who don't - for most consumers there are just two choices: a smartphone running Android or one that packs Windows Phone 8. We reckon the Nexus 4 currently leads the Google pack, while Nokia's flagship Lumia 920 is a prime example of Microsoft's mobile platform. But, Google Nexus 4 or Nokia Lumia 920, which is the best smartphone? Read our Google Nexus 4 vs Nokia Lumia 920 comparison review to find out.

Of course, the beauty of not being an iFan is you get to make your own choices about such things as which multimedia apps you can install, how much customisation you can levy and, importantly, which smartphone model you pocket. If you've got your heart set on Windows Phone 8 you might also like to check out our Nokia Lumia 920 vs HTC Windows Phone 8X comparison review, or if you've Android in mind it's worth comparing the Nexus 4 against Samsung's Galaxy S III. And if you're still not sure about the iPhone 5, check out our Google Nexus 4 vs Apple iPhone 5 comparison review. You can also read our standalone reviews of the Google Nexus 4 and Nokia Lumia 920, or scroll down the page for video reviews of these Android and Windows Phone 8 smartphones.

Google Nexus 4 vs Nokia Lumia 920: Price

Google scores major brownie points in this category for the Nexus 4's showstopping price tag. This is a high-end smartphone - in fact, we reckon it's the best Android handset on the market right now - with a mid-range price tag. You can grab an 8GB Nexus 4 for just £239, and the 16GB model for £279 - if you're prepared to wait, that is: Google's Nexus 4 has spent much of its first two months on sale sold out at Google Play.

Remember, though, that this is not the norm: Google subsidises its handset to encourage uptake of Android and content sales at Google Play. That the Nokia Lumia 920 costs at least £300 more (currently available at Amazon for £535) doesn't mean it offers poor value. This is especially so if you'll be getting your handset free with an 18- or 24-month contract - in which case, it often makes little difference how much the handset is worth, since you'll still be paying over the odds. Nokia's pinned all its future hopes on the success of Windows Phone 8, and it needs to make some cash. Since it doesn't sell content, that money needs to come from handset sales.

Also note that Nokia quadrouples the Nexus 4's internal storage: you'll get 32GB built into the Lumia 920 as standard. Given that most high-end handsets come on to the market at around £500 - and the equivalent 32GB iPhone 5 costs a huge £599 - it's not as expensive as it might first appear when compared to the Nexus 4.

And if you are determined to get a contract phone and pay nothing upfront, you'll find that the difference in price here is negligable.

Google Nexus 4 vs Nokia Lumia 920: Dimensions

The Google Nexus 4 and Nokia Lumia 920 are almost identical in their sizing, but the Nokia's heavier weight (185g versus 139g) makes it feel more brick-like and unwieldy. You shouldn't necessarily be put off by this: you do get used to it, and some people will prefer the reassurance of being able to feel their smartphone in their pocket. It has a slightly smaller screen, at 4.5in versus 4.7in, but the Lumia 920 is a touch wider than the Nexus 4, at 70.8mm versus 68.7mm. Both smartphones are 133.9mm tall and 9.1mm wide.

Google Nexus 4 vs Nokia Lumia 920: Build

These are two beautiful smartphones. The Google Nexus 4, on the one hand, is the best-looking Android handset yet, while the Nokia Lumia 920, which was supplied to us in white, is the nicest white phone we've ever set eyes on.

Google's black-only Nexus 4 is cheap only in its asking price: it looks and feels great in the hand, both sturdy and attractive, with a screen that sits flush to the bezel. It's a slippery character, although a rubbery finish to the circumference usefully adds grip.

The Nokia Lumia 920, which is available in yellow, red, white or black, has a one-piece polycarbonate body, with ceramic zirconium camera detailing and side keys. It's very well built, with the only cheap-feeling component the Micro-SIM tray. Usefully, given the snow threatened imminently in the UK, you can use the Lumia 920 while wearing gloves, but you'll need to be careful not to drop it: like the Nexus 4, the glossy Lumia 920 is a slippery smartphone.

We'll talk more about the software later in our Google Nexus 4 vs Nokia Lumia 920 comparison review but, when viewed side by side, you can't help but take a shine to Microsoft's tile-based Windows Phone 8 interface, with its big, bright, bold colours. That the Lumia 920 looks great is not only down to Nokia's design, but the attractive OS it runs. In comparison with Android, Windows Phone 8 is quite the looker.

Google Nexus 4 vs Nokia Lumia 920: Screen

There's little difference in the displays selected by Nokia and Google (or LG, as that company actually makes the Nexus). Both are in-plane switching (IPS) panels, protected from scratches and accidental damage by Corning Gorilla Glass, and capable of displaying a 1280x768-pixel resolution. As Google stretches its pixels across a slightly larger screen - 4.7in vs the Nokia's 4.5in - there are fewer pixels per inch. Whereas the Nexus 4 packs in 320 pixels per inch, the Lumia 920 has 332; you may not notice the difference - both are in Apple's 'Retina' territory, in which individual pixels are indistinguishable to the human eye - but in this category Nokia takes a small lead.

We found the Nexus 4's screen stunning, with excellent contrast, rich colours, fantastic viewing angles and good detail. In our tests it performed particularly well when viewed in direct sunlight. Meanwhile, Nokia refers to its display as a 'PureMotion HD+' screen, and claims it as "the world's brightest, clearest, fastest touchscreen". It certainly offers excellent contrast and eye-popping colours.

Google Nexus 4 vs Nokia Lumia 920: Processor & performance

Google's Nexus 4 runs a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, clocked at 1.5GHz and paired with 2GB of RAM. The Nokia Lumia 920 also has a Snapdragon S4 chip clocked at 1.5GHz, but this is the dual-core version and it's paired with just half the memory.

It's easy to assume that the Nexus 4 is the faster phone, given that it has double the processor cores and memory allocation of the Lumia 920. But that would ignore the hardware requirements of the operating system: the Nokia's spec is sufficient for Windows Phone 8, while Android requires a little more oomph for smooth operation.

Unfortunately, two of the three benchmarks we use to test smartphone performance, Geekbench and GLBenchmark, are not supported in Windows Phone 8. That's bad news for the Nexus 4, given that in these tests it delivered excellent results. Google's 2,009-point score in Geekbench is the fastest we've ever seen from a smartphone, while the Nexus 4's 39fps tally in GLBenchmark is evidence of very good mobile gaming framerates.  

It gets worse for Google: in the only benchmark that is supported by Windows Phone 8, the SunSpider JavaScript test, the Lumia 920 kicked ass. We recorded 922ms for the Nokia, which is not too far off the very impressive 903ms of the iPhone 5, and a comparatively sluggish 1,906ms for the Nexus 4.

In our subjective tests, both smartphones are very fast. The Nexus 4 has the edge overall, if not in web browsing, while we found some apps could take a couple of seconds to load and menus would judder when scrolling slowly on the Lumia 920.

NEXT PAGE: Nexus 4 vs Lumia 920 storage, cameras, connectivity and software >>

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