Monday, August 5, 2013

Which Smart LTE Phone is for you?

Comparison between Samsung Galaxy S4, Sony Xperia Z, Sony Xperia V, Nokia Lumia 920, ZTE T82, and Huawei Ascend D1.

Smart, the leader in Wireless and the first to launch LTE here in the Philippines is offering LTE phones with their plans. Out of the many units, have you decided which one is for you? Let me help by giving you a summarized side-by-side comparison of each phone using the data we gathered. In the end of course, you still decide what you want to get.

Here are the phones available via Smart LTE plans: (Click the units to see actual photos)
  • Samsung GALAXY S4
  • Nokia Lumia 920

  • Huawei Ascend D1
  • ZTE-T82

  • Sony Xperia Z
  • Sony Xperia V

Point system
Below are the comparisons we made. We will be using a point system to determine the overall comparison score but if one criteria is more important to you than the other, just check out that category to help you decide easily.
(6) means 6 points, (5) means 5 points and so on. 6 is the perfect score and 1 is the least perfect.
For other categories, there will be only 1 and 0. 1 means that the phone gained that additional point for having "that" feature (e.g. FM Radio) and 0 means it lacks that feature.

(6) Samsung Galaxy S4 - 1080 x 1920 pixels, 5.0 inches (~441 ppi pixel density) / Super AMOLED
(5) Sony Xperia Z - 1080 x 1920 pixels, 5.0 inches (~441 ppi pixel density)
(4) Sony Xperia V - 720 x 1280 pixels, 4.3 inches (~342 ppi pixel density)
(3) Nokia Lumia 920 - 768 x 1280 pixels, 4.5 inches (~332 ppi pixel density)
(1) ZTE T82 - 540 x 960 pixels, 4.3 inches (~256 ppi pixel density)
(2) Huawei Ascend D1 - 720 x 1280 pixels, 4.5 inches (~326 ppi pixel density)

In terms of display based on the data given, the Samsung Galaxy S4 leads the pack with 1080 x 1920 at 5.0 inches with 441 ppi pixel density. Although they have the same display specs as the Sony Xperia Z, the S4 has Super AMOLED which gave him the additional edge he needs to get the most points.

Based on the date given, the ZTE T82 has the least pixel density and has one of the smallest screens so if display is important to you and you want a 4.3 inch display, better go for the Sony Xperia V as it has a pixel density of 342 with the same 4.3 inch screen.

    Processing power and Quadrant Standard score
(6) Samsung Galaxy S4 - Quad-core 1.6 GHz Cortex-A15 & quad-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A7 (QS Score: 12676) [Update:]
(5) Sony Xperia Z - Quad-core 1.5 GHz Krait (QS Score: 8066)
(4) Sony Xperia V - Dual-core 1.5 GHz Krait (QS Score: 6257)
(3) Nokia Lumia 920 - Dual-core 1.5 GHz Krait (QS Score: n/a)
(3) ZTE T82 - Dual-core 1.5 GHz Krait (QS Score: 4609)
(3) Huawei Ascend D1 - Dual-core 1.5 GHz (QS Score: 4624)

If you can see the date above, there's a 'score' with a corresponding number. That is the Quadrant score. Quadrant is a benchmark for mobile devices, capable of measuring CPU, memory, Input/Output and 3D graphics performance. It is not 100% accurate but it gives you a feel on how the processing power of the phone in several aspects combined is. It's free for download in the Google Playstore so you can do a test on your own. Take note that not all tests have similar results as the scores depend on how many number of storage it can hold and has been used etc and several more factors. The best way to test it is to freshly switch on the phone without a lot of things saved on it and close off all running applications.

Since Windows Mobile 8 doesn't have a Quadrant Standard application, the Lumia 920 was just pitted against the phones that has the lowest Quadrant score since we cannot really know the QS score. Anyway, the T82, D1 and 920 all gets (3) points, (1) point lower than the Xperia V. All of them has the dual-core 1.5 GHz Krait CPU.

Obviously, based on the data given, we gave the (6) points to the Samsung Galaxy S4 which got a QS score of more than 12,676! The Xperia Z scored great also at 8,066.

(5) Samsung Galaxy S4 - Li-Ion 2600 mAh (Rated standby time: 370 hours)
(6) Sony Xperia Z - Non-removable Li-Ion 2330 mAh (Rated standby time: 530 hours)
(2) Sony Xperia V - Li-Ion 1750 mAh battery (Rated standby time: 400 hours)
(3) Nokia Lumia 920 - Non-removable Li-Ion 2000 mAh battery (BP-4GW) (Rated standby time: 400 hours)
(1) ZTE T82 - Li-Ion 1900 mAh battery (Rated standby time: 300 hours)
(4) Huawei Ascend D1 - Li-Ion 1800 mAh battery (Rated standby time: 400 hours)

The scores came from the battery mAh and the rated standby time. Take note that the "non-removable" battery is also something we consider a disadvantage. Again, these are just the scores we gave them based on how we interpret the given data. If you think we scored something wrongly, we accept comments. :)

    Memory / Ram
(6) Samsung Galaxy S4 - 16/32/64 GB storage, 2 GB RAM
(5) Sony Xperia Z - 16 GB, 2 GB RAM
(3) Sony Xperia V - 8 GB, 1 GB RAM
(4) Nokia Lumia 920 - 32 GB storage, 1 GB RAM
(1) ZTE T82 - 4 GB, 1 GB RAM
(2) Huawei Ascend D1 - 8 GB, 1 GB RAM

For some, storage capacity is as important as the processing power of the phone and RAM is equally important. Usually, the higher the RAM the better the phone can multitask. In our world now, multitasking is the norm so this criteria might be important for a lot of people. Take note though that it doesn't mean that the phone has 8 GB of storage capacity, you can use all that 8 GB. Take the Huawei Ascend D1 for example. Even though it says there 8 GB, only 5.8 GB is available for the user.

    Expandable Memory
(2) Samsung Galaxy S4 - microSD, up to 64 GB
(2) Sony Xperia Z - microSD, up to 64 GB
(1) Sony Xperia V - microSD, up to 32 GB
(0) Nokia Lumia 920 - No expandable memory slot
(1) ZTE T82 - microSD, up to 32 GB
(1) Huawei Ascend D1 - microSD, up to 32 GB

Usually used to store large files like music, movies and photos, this is also an important factor in deciding. One, without expandable memory, you'll have a harder time getting the photos off from your phone. Yes, you can connect it via data cable etc but admit it, a microSD card is easier to use as you don't have to install phone softwares etc.

(2) was given to the phone capable of up to 64 GB, (1) to the 32 GB and (0) points for not having expandable memory slot.

(5) Samsung Galaxy S4 - 130 g (4.59 oz)
(3) Sony Xperia Z - 146 g (5.15 oz)
(6) Sony Xperia V - 120 g (4.23 oz)
(1) Nokia Lumia 920 - 185 g (6.53 oz)
(2) ZTE T82 - 151 g (5.33 oz)
(4) Huawei Ascend D1 - 132 g (4.66 oz)

A mobile phone is a necessity nowadays. This means that you'll be bringing it with you almost everyday. Obviously, the lighter, the better.

    Camera/ Video
(6) Samsung Galaxy S4 - 13 MP, 4128 x 3096 pixels / 1080p@30fps (Dual Video)
(5) Sony Xperia Z - 13.1 MP, 4128x3096 pixels / 1080p@30fps (HDR)
(4) Sony Xperia V - 13 MP, 4128x3096 pixels / 1080p@30fps
(3) Nokia Lumia 920 - 8 MP, 3264 x 2448 pixels, Carl Zeiss optics / 1080p@30fps
(1) ZTE T82 - 8 MP, 3264x2448 pixels / 1080p
(2) Huawei Ascend D1 - 8 MP, 3264x2448 pixels / 1080p@30fps

Actual performance and photo output is a big factor but the comparison above was based on the data given and the slight feature differences might made some phones score more than the others. Here are screenshots from GSM Arena from their actual performance.

Based on the sample images, the Samsung Galaxy S4 is a clear winner. The Lumia 920, although a bit clearer than the Xperia V and Z is a bit saturated in terms of color. Too bad they do not have samples for the D1 and T82. 

    Graphics / Gaming
(6) Samsung Galaxy S4 - PowerVR SGX 544MP3
(5) Sony Xperia Z - Adreno 320
(4) Sony Xperia V - Adreno 225
(4) Nokia Lumia 920 - Adreno 225
(4) ZTE T82 - Adreno 225
(3) Huawei Ascend D1 - PowerVR SGX540

Based on the date, we got the scores above. I cannot delve into more details because I do not know much about graphics processors but I was able to find comparisons that I used to derive the scores I placed above. All the units have the standard Accelerometer, gyro, proximity and compass. Samsung Galaxy S4 has additional sensors like barometer, temperature, humidity and gesture control.

    NFC - Near Field Communication
(1) Samsung Galaxy S4 - Yes
(1) Sony Xperia Z - Yes
(1) Sony Xperia V - Yes
(1) Nokia Lumia 920 - Yes
(0) ZTE T82 - No
(0) Huawei Ascend D1 - No

Although we are not sure if NFC will really fly in the near future, we do see a lot of potential applications for it and in some countries, they are already using this technology. It's not a new technology per se but given that your mobile phone is with you almost every day, it makes you less prone to forgetting what you use the NFC for.

To give you a brief explanation on what NFC is, here's an excerpt from Wikipedia,

Near field communication (NFC) is a set of standards for smartphones and similar devices to establish radio communication with each other by touching them together or bringing them into close proximity, usually no more than a few inches. Present and anticipated applications include contactless transactions, data exchange, and simplified setup of more complex communications such as Wi-Fi. Communication is also possible between an NFC device and an unpowered NFC chip, called a "tag".

Basically, it's like how phones and gadgets communicate before through infrared then it eventually evolved to bluetooth and wifi. NFC is more powerful though and is more capable in utilizing in real world scenarios like cashless transactions.

FM Radio
(0) Samsung Galaxy S4 - No
(1) Sony Xperia Z - Yes
(1) Sony Xperia V - Yes
(1) Nokia Lumia 920 - Yes
(1) ZTE T82 - Yes
(1) Huawei Ascend D1 - Yes

Finally. Something every phone has that Samsung Galaxy S4 doesn't have! That phone has (almost) everything! Having a FM radio is also important for me. You can listen to live radio wherever and whenever you want. Although buying your music is also really convenient, you can't listen to live happenings and events without FM radio.

   Notable Features
(1) Samsung Galaxy S4 - Air gestures and more
(2) Sony Xperia Z - Water proof / dust proof
(2) Sony Xperia V - Water proof / dust proof
(0) Nokia Lumia 920 - None
(0) ZTE T82 - None
(0) Huawei Ascend D1 - None

Water proof and dust proof? Need I say more why the Xperia V and Z deserves (2) extra points? Awesome! Perfect for a tropical country like ours!

Free at Plan (?)
(0) Samsung Galaxy S4 - Free at Plan 2000
(0) Sony Xperia Z - Free at Plan 2000
(1) Sony Xperia V - Free at Plan 1500
(1) Nokia Lumia 920 - Free at Plan 1500
(1) ZTE T82 - Free at Plan 1500
(1) Huawei Ascend D1 - Free at Plan 1500

Subjective as it is not always the cheaper the better, this now depends on your budget but yes, the lower cost the better for majority of us. 

    Actual Usage
(6) Sony Xperia Z
(5) Samsung Galaxy S4 
(4) Sony Xperia V 
(3) Huawei Ascend D1 
(2) Nokia Lumia 920
(1) ZTE T82

I've personally used all these units and tested them out. Since I made this comparison, I think I have the right to put on my own scores based on how the unit actually performed while I was using it. The T82 and D1 are just so-so phones. I didn't fully enjoy using them but they are great LTE phones. 

The Lumia 920 looks very good even on the heavy side. I really felt the weight on that one. I just had one major problem. The unit lent to me was not working well. I checked out the settings to do some configurations and it won't let me open the settings. It just stays stuck until it restarts. This is why I gave Lumia a (2).

Both the Xperia Z and V underwent water tests and it worked well even after washing it and dipping it in shallow water. The mere fact that it can withstand that is already awesome enough for me! Again, we live in a tropical country where it either is rainy or sunny.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 is a worthy winner. Other than being water proof and dust proof, it has almost everything you can think of for now. Of course, there will be improvements and upgrades next time but for now, this is my best bet. Battery life wise, do not expect too much but given the fact that the battery is user changeable, just buy an extra battery and you're good.

Here are the final scores. (Perfect score is 55 points)
#1 Samsung Galaxy S4 with 49 points
#2 Sony Xperia Z with 46 points
#3 Sony Xperia V with 37 points
#4 Huawei Ascend D1 with 26 points
#5 Nokia Lumia 920 with 26 points
#6 ZTE T82 with 17 points

Given all that data and results, have you chosen the LTE phone for you? Let me summarize it a bit per criteria. If you are going for:

*The phone with the best display resolution, go for the Samsung Galaxy S4.
*The phone with the best processing power, go for the Samsung Galaxy S4.
*The phone with the best rated battery life, go for the Sony Xperia Z
*The phone with a lot of storage capacity, go for the Samsung Galaxy S4
*The lightest phone among the pack, go for the Sony Xperia V
*The phone with the best camera, go for the Samsung Galaxy S4
*The phone with the best graphics processing power, go for the Samsung Galaxy S4
*The phone with the most useful add-on features, go for the Sony Xperia Z or V

You might ask my why the iPhone 5 is not included in the comparison. First, these 6 units was lent to me all at the same time. I did not get any compensation whatsoever nor did I get to keep any of these phones. Also, I do not want to be biased because I currently own an iPhone 5. But, I did try to score the iPhone 5 against them and I got a score of around near 40s without adjusting the scoring system and adding a (7). That will make it rank around 2 or 3.

For more info about plans and pricing, head over to,

Smart LTE phones:
Samsung Galaxy S4
Sony Xperia Z
Sony Xperia V
Nokia Lumia 920
Huawei Ascend D1

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Anonymous said...

Cool! Thanks for this! So helpful :-)

Ynal said...

I really want the Galaxy S 4. The best phone ever. I am a Samsung fans ever.