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>> Apple iPhone 5s vs. LG G2 vs. Nokia Lumia 1020: War of the worlds
8 October 2013
Winners, Runners Up, and 3rd Place Contenders in 13 Categories
In the articles text the GSMArena Team compares the 3 smartphones in 13 categories and in each category picks a Winner, a Runner Up, and a 3rd Place contender. The summaries in each category are excerpted below. I've summarized each contender in the matrix below awarding 3 points to the Winner, 2 points to the Runner Up, and 1 point to the 3rd place contender, then totaled the points awarded. A different result would, of course be obtained if each category was weighted to suit personal preferences.
• Exterior and Build
Winner: Apple iPhone 5s. To be clear, it's the handling and premium feel that we rate in this one. The iPhone's design may've been used on a few generations already, but it's still relevant, to say the least. Apple's flagship looks, as usual, more like an elegant accessory than a working tool. And it's not just the looks, the iPhone 5s is built to perfection, with great attention to detail. You can easily say the same about the other two as well but theirs is a classic example of looks being second to power and performance.
Runner-up: Nokia Lumia 1020. The polycarbonate unibody has enough of a premium feel and, while the handling might be awkward at first, the solid build and the fact that Nokia integrated such a vastly superior camera tech into a phone's body, help it clinch the second spot.
Third place: LG G2. Certainly not by a mile, though - the LG smartphone is probably the most practical of the three, delivering the highest screen estate to footprint ratio and an ample battery. The lack of any controls on the front to spoil the looks also means that while not as pretty as the other two, the G2 is certainly not a smartphone you'd mind being seen in public with.
• Display Comparison
Winner: LG G2. LG G2 has the biggest, brightest display with the highest resolution. Quite expectedly the G2 screen is really sharp with the excellent 424ppi ratio and its color reproduction is more accurate than Lumia 1020's AMOLED. All those wins are enough to compensate for its unspectacular performance in direct sunlight.
Runner-up: Nokia Lumia 1020. The AMOLED screens are still among the best on the market and the extra punch they provide is preferred by many. It is bigger than the 4-inch Retina and with better contrast. This is, along with the larger size, is enough to easily overshadow the iPhone 5s victory on the sunlight test.
Third place: Apple iPhone 5s. The 4" Retina is a great screen with excellent image quality, but when you put it next to the much ampler displays of the other two, it just can't compete. It's no longer at top of the food chain when it comes to density either, so it only has the top-notch sunlight legibility going for it in this battle.
• Battery Life: Talk time, Web browsing, Video playback
Winner: LG G2. Despite a very respectable performance by the Nokia Lumia 1020, the LG G2 is the clear winner here. It outscored the Lumia 1020 on the call test, beat it on the web browsing test by a mile, and it also remained on par with it when playing videos.
Runner-up: Nokia Lumia 1020. The Lumia 1020 overall battery endurance rating is just an hour less than the LG G2, however it's a long way behind when it comes to web browsing and calling endurance and only marginally better in video playback, which is what really matters to power users (and those are usually the ones shopping flagships). The Lumia 1020 has to be given credit for offering the most efficient stand-by of the trio, though.
Third place: Apple iPhone 5s. Posting the lowest endurance rating and showing that irritating stand-by drain bug, the Apple smartphone is some way off its competitors here. Its excellent web-browsing endurance that puts the Lumia 1020 will provide some consolation, though.
Winner: LG G2. The Android OS is highly customizable and with functionality that the other two can't come close to. It has an open file system, file manager, best multi-tasking and huge developer community. Its last standing problem was the sub-par performance, but that stopped being an issue when the 4.1 Jelly Bean release came out.
Runner up: Apple iPhone 5s. The iOS 7 might have lots of restrictions, but it is very easy to use, looks great and gives you access to the world's top-grossing app and content stores. It's got excellent after-market support, too, with each iPhone getting timely updates for at least three years.
Third place: Nokia Lumia 1020. An awful long time has passed since the last major update of the Windows Phone 8 OS and for a platform this young this is pretty bad news. The app catalog also pales in comparison to the the other two platforms. Software-wise the two major selling points of the smartphone are the complete MS Office suite and the offline navigation, but those are just not enough to give the Lumia 1020 anything but third place here.
• Performance Benchmarks
Winner: Apple iPhone 5s. The iPhone 5s topped most benchmarks and with iOS 7 designed around it, it provides the best experience for general use, gaming and web browsing.
Runner up: LG G2. The LG G2 lost a few synthetic benchmarks, but works smoothly all the same. We did expect four 2.26GHz cores to stack up a little better against the two 1.3GHz custom Apple cores though.
3rd place: Nokia Lumia 1020. While the gap between iPhone 5s and LG G2 is almost negligible, the Nokia Lumia 1020 is tangibly behind both in terms of 3d and web performance. Yes, the UI and apps run smoothly, but the old chipset is limiting to developers.
• Image Galleries
Winners: Apple iPhone 5s and LG G2. The iOS and G2 galleries share great looks, awesome sharing features, and great organization. Photo Stream is an awesome perk of the iPhone 5s, but it's balanced by the very enjoyable experience that is browsing photos on the 5.2" screen of the G2.
Third place: Nokia Lumia 1020. The Windows Phone gallery offers less sorting and viewing options and looks stale.
• Video Players
Winner: LG G2. Quite obviously LG G2 has the most capable, feature-rich and powerful video player among the three.
Runner up: Lumia 1020. Windows Phone 8 offers USB mass storage and supports a lot more codecs than its iPhone rival. Even if you get a more versatile third-party player for iOS, the iTunes-dependency is still an issue, which the less than lightning-fast cloud transfer cannot quite make up for.
Third place: Apple iPhone 5s. The latest Apple flagship definitely has the worst video capabilities among all three smartphones. Its video player hasn't been improved in ages and should definitely be higher on the priority list for the iOS 8 development.
• Music players and Radio
Winner: LG G2. The G2 music player might not be the best looking, but it offers customizable equalizer presets, handy search and sorting options. The G2 also comes with an integrated FM tuner.
Runner-up: Nokia Lumia 1020. Nokia Lumia 1020 comes with a free music streaming service, just like the iPhone 5s. It also comes with a skilled music player with equalizer presets. What it has over the iPhone though is a regular FM radio.
Third place: Apple iPhone 5s. The iPhone offers free music streaming, the music player is quite the looker with its simplistic design, but it lacks customizable equalizers or other value-added features and the 5s has no FM radio.
Winner: Nokia Lumia 1020. It's a simple game of numbers here and the Nokia smartphone wins it.
Runner up: Apple iPhone 5s. Three second places in the three tests secure the iPhone 5s the silver medal here.
Third place: LG G2. Consistently the quietest of the three.
• Camera Features
Winner: Nokia Lumia 1020. The manual controls of the Nokia Lumia 1020 are of interest to photo enthusiasts, while the lossless digital zooming will benefit casual users. The audio is great too and Nokia has some of the best hardware OIS. The one major complaint is the slow shot-to-shot time.
Runner-up: LG G2. The LG G2 has goodies like dual-shot, VR Panorama, Time catch shot, face effects and audio zoom, not to mention the hardware OIS - even if you use only half of them, that's still more than what the iPhone offers.
Third place: Apple iPhone 5s. The iPhone 5s has a great camera but it's the embodiment of the point-and-shoot mentality. Apple still ignores things like selectable image resolution, let alone adjustable image properties like white balance or saturation.
• Still Photos: Good Light
Winner: Nokia Lumia 1020. The Nokia Lumia 1020 produces amazing 5MP photos and that's that. The full resolution shots look good too, but 5MP is quite enough for virtually all displays. It still pays to shoot full res shots as they allow you to enjoy zooming, cropping and reframing on the phone later on.
Runner-up: LG G2. The LG G2 photos have accurate color rendering and the higher resolution allows it to capture more detail than the iPhone 5s.
Third place: Apple iPhone 5s. The iPhone 5s features an improved camera over the iPhone 5 and photos do look very pleasing to the eye, but having 40% fewer pixels than the G2 (and no supersampling to rely on), takes its toll.
• Still Photos: Low-Light
Winner: Nokia Lumia 1020. The Nokia Lumia 1020 had the best shots with and without flash hands down. The OIS could have helped a bit more, but the 1020 is the clear winner here.
Runner up: Apple iPhone 5s. The iPhone 5s does very well for a 7.6mm thick smartphone that doesn't have the benefit of a huge sensor, a bulky xenon flash or optical image stabilization. Photos without flash were a bit underexposed, though.
Third place: LG G2. The LG G2 beats the iPhone 5s when the flash is off, but its single-LED flash proved too weak to be in any help in our test scene.
• Video Recording
Winner: Apple iPhone 5s. The iPhone 5s videos look great and though they lose some field of view (due to the digital stabilization). Our only major complaint here is the audio, there's no excuse for mono sound.
Runner up: Nokia Lumia 1020. The Lumia 1020 has more detail in low-light and the best audio of the three by a mile, though the image processing and compression could use some work. It may be the runner up here, but it's a close call.
Third place: LG G2. The LG G2 video is good, but the focus hunts too much, the exposure is way off and it doesn't have as much detail as the other two. A firmware update or two with some fine tuning to the processing, along with the 60fps mode might help it climb higher, though.
Summary Matrix of Winners, Runners Up, and 3rd Place Contenders in 13 Categories
I've summarized how the contenders placed in each of 13 categories in the matrix below awarding 3 points to the Winner, 2 points to the Runner Up, and 1 point to the 3rd place contender, then totaled the points awarded.
Lumia 1020 LG G2 iPhone 5S
========== ===== =========
Exterior and Build 2 1 3
Display 2 3 1
Battery Life 2 3 1
Software 1 3 2
Benchmarks 1 2 3
Image Galleries 2 1 1
Video Player 2 3 1
Music Players and Radio 2 3 1
Loudspeaker 3 1 2
Camera Features 3 2 1
Still Photos: good light 3 2 1
Still Photos: low-light 3 1 2
Video Recording 2 1 3
========== ===== =========
Total Points 28/39 26/39 20/39
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- Eric -