Samsung have just launched their best camera phone yet- the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom. In fact with its 10x optical zoom lens it actually looks more like a camera than a phone. But they’re not going to have the market to themselves as the Nokia Lumia 1020 is on the way and that has some serious camera credentials of its own. So which is the best? Read on to find out.
Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom vs Nokia Lumia 1020 – Build quality and durability
The Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom has a body made mostly of white plastic. However there’s also a metallic strip running along the edges, much like the one found on the Samsung Galaxy S4. It looks reasonably high quality and feels solidly built too, but it’s very bulky for a smartphone as it has a massive camera lens on the back.
The Nokia Lumia 1020 manages to still look like a phone as unlike the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom it doesn’t have an optical zoom lens. It’s just as plastic as the S4 Zoom though, featuring a polycarbonate body. They’re both well built but thanks to being less bulky we’d say that the Nokia Lumia 1020 is the better looking device.
Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom vs Nokia Lumia 1020 – Display
The Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom has a 4.3 inch 960 x 540 Super AMOLED display with 256 pixels per inch. It’s made with Gorilla Glass 3, so it’s stronger than normal glass. It produces bright and colourful images, but the resolution isn’t great.
The Nokia Lumia 1020 has a 4.5 inch 1280 x 768 AMOLED display with 334 pixels per inch. So it’s both slightly bigger and substantially higher resolution than the display on the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom. Like the Zoom it’s made with Gorilla Glass 3 and it also uses PureMotion HD+ and ClearBlack technologies, which ensure that colours are vibrant, reflections are reduced, motion blur is eliminated, the screen is visible in bright sunlight and the handset can be operated with gloves or fingernails. With all that in mind it has a substantially better display than the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom.
Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom vs Nokia Lumia 1020 – Power
The Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom has a 1.5 Ghz dual-core processor and 1.5GB of RAM. Neither of which is particularly impressive, especially for an Android handset where quad-core processors and 2GB of RAM are increasingly common.
The Nokia Lumia 1020 has a 1.5 Ghz dual-core processor of its own, but it has 2GB of RAM- so slightly more than the S4 Zoom. Also while the processor is the same speed, performance on the Nokia Lumia 1020 is likely to be better as Windows Phone 8 is less power hungry than Android.
Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom vs Nokia Lumia 1020 – Camera
If you’re buying either of these handsets it’s likely to be in the main for the camera. The Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom has a 16 megapixel sensor and a 10x optical zoom lens. It also has a Xenon flash, optical image stabilisation and a wealth of shooting modes and options, such as ‘Sound & Shot’ and ‘Animated Photo’, alongside more conventional fare like HDR and panorama. By smartphone standards it can take brilliant pictures and with the zoom lens you can capture things in the distance without sacrificing quality. It can also shoot 1080p video at 30fps and backing up the main camera there’s a 1.9 megapixel front facing snapper.
The Nokia Lumia 1020 has a 41 megapixel sensor and a Carl Zeiss Tessar lens. Like the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom it also features optical image stabilisation and a Xenon flash. Unlike the S4 Zoom it doesn’t have an optical zoom, however by leveraging those 41 megapixels it can manage a software zoom while still maintaining a high level of detail. The lack of an optical zoom also makes the Lumia 1020 less bulky than its rival and when not zooming it can use the full 41 megapixels to capture photos more detailed than the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom could ever hope to.
We haven’t been able to put the Nokia Lumia 1020’s camera through its paces yet, but on paper it should be better than the one in the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom.
Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom vs Nokia Lumia 1020 – Battery life, memory and connectivity
The Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom has a 2330 mAh battery while the Nokia Lumia 1020 has a 2000 mAh battery. Samsung haven’t released any battery stats, but given the size combined with Samsung’s generally solid battery performance we’d say the Zoom is likely to have the better battery life.
The S4 Zoom has just 8GB of built in storage, but that can be boosted by micro SD cards of up to 64GB. The Lumia 1020 has more storage out of the box as there’s 32GB built in, but that can’t be expanded as there’s no micro SD card slot.
Both handsets support Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G and NFC. They also both have Bluetooth, but in the S4 Zoom it’s version 4.0 while in the Lumia 1020 it’s 3.0. The Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom also has an infrared port, which the Nokia Lumia 1020 doesn’t.
Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom vs Nokia Lumia 1020 – Conclusion
Both of these handsets are superb camera phones, arguably delivering compact camera levels of performance while still being smartphones as well. Overall though the Nokia Lumia 1020 is the better of the two, as its camera performance looks to slightly outshine that of the Galaxy S4 Zoom.
Not only that, but the Nokia Lumia 1020 also has a better screen, more RAM, more built in storage and still manages to be less bulky than the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom.
The S4 Zoom has slightly more connectivity options and a micro SD card slot. Plus it’s running Android- and if that’s your preference then you won’t be sacrificing much by opting for it, but ultimately it can’t quite match the Nokia Lumia 1020, either as a camera or a phone.
By Simon Thomas on 17th July, 2013