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Nokia Lumia 1020 vs Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom – A Battle of the camera-giants

By Surajkumar Harikumar on Wednesday 24th of Jul 2013

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Nokia and Samsung, two massive OEMs go head-to-head competing for the best camera-phone. The camera-phone as such is an up and coming area, in keeping with the trend of moving towards better phones. Unlike most of the other products on the market, the Lumia 1020 and Galaxy S4 Zoom were meant as cameras, with the phone feature being secondary. However, it is only fair to compare them spec-wise and camera-wise, which is what we do here.

Form Factor & Screen

The Lumia 1020 has a solid polycarbonate shell and weighs in at 158 g, while the S4 Zoom has a plastic shell, like the other Galaxies, and weighs in at a whooping-208 g. The S4 Zoom is also about 50% thicker than the 1020, but whether this accounts for the zoom lens is unverified.

The Lumia 1020 has a less obtrusive camera on the back, and feels like a novel take on a phone, while the Zoom feels like Android slapped onto an old-school digital camera. The Zoom also has camera-click buttons, and a few other that adorn its digital camera ancestors.

The S4 Zoom is an offset from the S4 mini, targeted at the camera market, and spec wise it reflects that too. It carries a 4.3 inch Super AMOLED screen with 256 ppi, while the Lumia 1020 boasts a 4.5 inch PureView AMOLED screen with 334 ppi.

In this segment, the Lumia 1020 is smaller, lighter, and has more of a smartphone feel to it than the S4 Zoom. In terms of screen too, the 1020 inches forward from the Zoom

Camera

Getting to the meat of the matter, the cameras are very different here. Samsung’s Galaxy S4 Zoom uses a 16-megapixel CMOS sensor with an f/3.1-f/6.3 24-240mm 10x zoom lens in front. The Lumia 1020 however, features a 41-megapixel PureView sensor that has an f/2.2 lens.

We already did an extensive coverage of the Lumia 1020 here. The zoom on the S4 Zoom works like your digital camera, with the setup retracting and expanding, while the 1020 captures images and does a software zoom. The 10x zoom on the S4 is quite impressive, but don’t forget that oversampling of images on the 41 MP Lumia 1020, can give between 3-6x of no-loss images. Both carry solid image stabilization mechanisms, and some good low-light performance specs.

The S4 Zoom has a secondary camera in at 1.9 MP, while the 1020 has a 1.2 MP front camera.

The Lumia 1020 uses their ProCam software for advanced image settings, while the Zoom also boasts some great software to make use of the heavy-duty camera. However, images cannot be taken using Apps like Instagram or Vine, and need to be captured with the native camera app if it is to use the advanced tweak settings present here. Same goes for the Lumia 1020, minus Instagram and Vine in the WP store.

On the Camera front, it is yet undecided, as we haven’t had the chance to go head-to-head with image comparisons. But both of these are beasts in the camera segment, and come with fairly good camera software.

Hardware, Battery and Storage

The S4 Zoom carries a Pega dual-core 1.5 GHz processor, with 1.5 GB of RAM, while the Lumia 1020 has a more-conventional Qualcomm Snapdragon dual-core 1.5 GHz, with 2 GB of RAM.
In terms of specs, the Lumia comes on top, with the tried-and-tested Snapdragon, and more RAM, giving it a leg-up from the S4 Zoom

The S4 Zoom has a 2330 mAh battery, while the Lumia’s is slightly lower, at 2000 mAh. The S4 Zoom takes forward here

The Lumia 1020 has 32 GB on non-expandable internal storage ( no SD card pluggable ), while the S4 Zoom has 8 GB of internal memory, expandable with microSD and microSDHC card families.

While the lack of an SD card slot seems jarring, image transfer rates to SDCards are usually slow, and if this is meant as a true camera phone, 32 Gig of Internal memory seems fine. The S4 zoom lets you plug-in and play music with the SD slot though.

Software

The S4 Zoom comes with the most recent Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2 with the TouchWiz Samsung UI and their apps, while the Lumia 1020 packs the Windows 8 OS and some Nokia apps too. The W8 app market is still lacking, and this may be a turn-off for many, as it lacks some of the well established apps, like Instagram. There is no question though about the Android Play Store, and it’s magnificence.

 Wrap-up

Based on pure hardware and screen, the Lumia 1020 wins out, while with battery, and probably storage, the Zoom takes the upper hand. We are yet to pit them based on camera quality, which will come in due time. The major deciders here are the Operating System and form factor. Whether the user is drawn in by the abundance of Play Store apps, or is willing to sacrifice some apps for the Windows 8 experience. Whether they don’t mind the large form factor of the Zoom, or whether they want to experiment with the sleek and slim, brand new camera tech in the Lumia 1020. As with most other things, it is a matter of personal choice.

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Nokia Lumia 1020 Quick Specs

OS Windows Phone 8, upgradeable to WP8 Black Processor Dual-core 1.5 GHz Krait
Touchscreen Capacitive touchscreen Display Resolution 768 x 1280 pixels
Display 4.5" AMOLED Primary Camera 41 MP
Dimensions 130.4 mm x 71.4 mm x 10.4 mm, 96.9 cc Weight 158 g

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