The Lumia 920 is definitely a heavyweight compared to the Windows Phone 8X. It weighs in at a hefty 6.5 ounces, compared to the 8X’s 4.5 ounces. That’s a huge difference, and we definitely noticed the Lumia’s additional heft, both when holding these phones and when carrying them in a pocket.
The 5.1 x 2.8 x 0.42-inch Lumia 920 is slightly thicker than the 5.2 x 2.7 x 0.4-inch Windows Phone 8X. However, in a side-by-side comparison with the 920, the 8X looks rail skinny, thanks to its cleverly tapered ends. We also prefer the 8X’s soft-touch back, which ensures a firm, comfortable grip. The Lumia 920’s glossy polycarbonate panel, on the other hand, was a breeding ground for fingerprints.
Because the 920’s volume rocker sits above the power button, we found ourselves constantly hitting the rocker expecting the phone to turn on. HTC placed the power button on the top right corner of the 8X, eliminating any confusion. However, because the 8X is slightly taller, we had to stretch our finger a bit to reach it.
The great thing about both of these phones is that they dare to be colorful. Nokia offers the 920 in white, red, yellow or cyan options, as well as a boring matte black. On AT&T, the Windows Phone 8Xcomes in two flavors: California Blue and the neon yellow Limelight. (The Verizon version comes in black, blue or red, while the T-Mobile model comes only in blue.)
WINNER: HTC Windows Phone 8X
While the Lumia 920 offers more color options, the 8X is much lighter and thinner, with a comfier, soft-touch finish.
Nokia has been doing a lot of crowing about its PureMotion HD+ display, and the screen lives up to the hype. The 4.5-inch screen on the Lumia 920 is not only larger than the 8X’s 4.3-inch Super LCD 2 panel, but it’s also slightly sharper (1280 x 768 versus 1280 x 720 pixels).
The Lumia’s display is also a bit brighter. The 920 registered a 310 lux score on our light meter, versus a 300 lux score for the 8X. Nevertheless, we had no problem reading either display outdoors.
Speaking of the outdoors, you can operate the 920’s display even when wearing a pair of gloves. We had no problem opening apps or scrolling.
Where the Lumia really pulls ahead is in its superior contrast and wider viewing angles. When viewing the high-def trailer of “The Life of Pi,” the luscious blacks greatly enhanced the electric beauty of a whale bursting forth from the phosphorescent sea. The same scene on the 8X looked somewhat faded.
On whiter pages like websites, the Lumia 920 has a more yellow cast, versus a rosier one for the 8X. HTC’s display had more oversaturated colors, but the 920 was closer to a true white.
WINNER: Nokia Lumia 920
The Lumia 920 wins on size, resolution and brightness, but especially black levels and viewing angles. The picture doesn’t wash out. The fact that you can use the Lumia with gloves is just icing on the cake.
Both the 8X and the 920 speakers delivered loud sound. However, the Lumia 920 and its bottom-mounted speakers delivered the better audio experience, especially during movies. The speaker ably delivered the tiger’s booming roar, as well as the gentle fluttering of exotic birds, in “The Life of Pi” trailer. The same sounds on the 8X were loud, but lacked depth.
When we listened to Beyonce’s “Rather Die Young,” the singer’s normally lilting mezzo-soprano sounded flat on the 8X, and the electric guitar was tinny. We heard fuller, richer audio on the 920, including a bass guitar and a strong piano layered into the ballad. However, Beyonce’s vocal sounded harsh on some of the higher notes.
Both phones feature built-in audio technology that activates when you plug in a pair of headphones. The Lumia 920 uses Dolby audio technology, while HTC relies on Beats Audio. In addition to giving us an equalizer to tweak, the 920 also offers audio profiles, including Bass Boost and Vocal Boost. Beats Audio eschews the EQ, automatically boosting the mid and lower ranges.
When we listened to Miguel’s “Vixen” on the 8X with headphones, the singer’s vocals were warm and playful, accompanied by tight snares and rich trumpets. However, the bass was a little heavier than we normally like. It gave us a greater appreciation for the 920’s EQ and profiles. After a little tweaking and after switching on the Bass Boost profile, we achieved a nice, even sound that hit on all tonal cylinders.
WINNER: Nokia Lumia 920
HTC’s Beats-assisted audio can deliver loud, rich sound, but the Lumia 920’s more powerful speaker and EQ settings gave us more aural satisfaction.