18 Apr 2013
Following on from Samsung's highly popular Galaxy S3 handset, Samsung clearly has big hopes for the S4, having predicted a massive boom in sales and profits come its release in its last quarterly sales forecast. The S4 is doubly interesting as it marks the first serious attempt by Samsung to market one of its Android smartphones to business customers.
Design and build
Samsung has openly said that the S4 is designed to look a lot like its predecessor the Galaxy S3. It features the same rounded, pebble looking polycarbonate case and metal sides as the S3 and measures in at an equivalent 137x70x7.9mm. The Galaxy S3 by comparison measures in at a slightly fatter 137x71x8.6mm.
The only immediately noticeable difference on the black version we tried in Samsung's demo room is that the S4 features a patterned, rather than matte finish. However the pattern is only aesthetic and the S4's finish is still smooth meaning that in hand it feels all but identical to the S3.
This fact is aided by the fact that the two phones are pretty much identical in weight, with the S4 weighing 130g and the S3 133g.
For us this is a good thing as it means the S4 features the same ergonomic design as the S3, making it feel far more comfortable and less unwieldy than most similarly sized devices.
However, the use of polycarbonate did leave us concerned about the S4's build quality. In the past Samsung's Galaxy devices, while looking nice, have proven far more delicate than competing metal HTC and Apple devices, being more susceptible to accidental damage.
Interestingly, despite being slightly smaller than the S3, the S4 actually features a larger display. The S4 packs a 5in full HD super Amoled 1920x1080 display, 441ppi display, that during our opening hands-on tests put the S3's 4.7in, 800x400 resolution display to shame.
Testing the S4 head to head with our S3 we found the new Galaxy's display was brighter, crisper and features astoundingly good colour balance levels. Though we didn't get a chance to test the S4 in more adverse lighting conditions our opening impressions of it are very positive and we're thinking its screen may prove a key selling point.
The S4 runs on the latest Google Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean operating system overlaid with Samsung's own Touchwiz user interface. Like previous Touchwiz versions we weren't immediately enamoured with the S4's UI, with many of the touches at first looking either pointless or detrimental to the Android experience.
Key offenders include the host of custom widgets Samsung's loaded onto the S4 and needless apps and stores like the Samsung Hub, which generally don't offer better services than their inbuilt Google equivalents.
That said we did notice a number of useful features that more than made up for the inclusion of these needless apps and widgets during our time with the device. Key among these were the S4's Smart Pause, Air Gesture, Air View and Eye Scroll services.
Smart Pause is a feature designed to automatically pause videos playing on the screen when the user looks away from the device.
Eye Scroll is a similar feature designed to let the S4 know when its user has finished reading a page and automatically scroll down to the next section of text. Air Gesture lets users navigate the device's menus without touching the S4's display, via swipe gestures.
Testing the features during our hands-on time, we found that in general they were fairly responsive and worked hassle-free once we got the hang of using them.
Our only qualm with the features was that on a few occasions the S4's Air Gesture and Eye Scroll features could take a few seconds to activate and could very occasionally not recognise our commands. However a Samsung spokesperson on hand said that these issues are the result of bugs on the pre-release software used on the demo handsets on show and have been fixed on the production models.
Samsung's Knox security software was also notably absent on the demo unit we were using. Knox is a nifty feature designed to offer business S4 users a similar sandboxing service to BlackBerry Balance, letting them set up separate work and home areas on the phone.
The Korean firm has confirmed Knox will run on the S4, but has remained hazy on the details of when, leaving it ambiguous whether the service will be included on the first run of handsets set for release on 27 April.
Sadly the UK isn't going to get the octa-core version of the Galaxy S4, instead receiving the more modest quad-core model. While this will be disappointing to spec connoisseurs performance-wise we didn't have any issue with the quad-core demo unit we used.
Packing a sizable 1.9GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor, while we didn't get a chance to really put the phone through its paces or properly benchmark it, we found the S4 is very fast.
Running on an overloaded press Wi-Fi, we found the S4 was very slick, loading multiple web pages and streaming multiple videos. Being honest, we never once found the S4 to be lacking power-wise during our opening tests.
The S4 comes loaded with a 13MP rear camera and 2MP front camera. Testing the rear camera we were fairly impressed how well it performed in the brightly lit showroom conditions.
Even with bright lights surrounding us, photos taken on the S4 didn't come out over-exposed and didn't suffer from the noise issues we've seen on certain other 13MP camera phones.
Sadly though we didn't get the chance to test the camera in low light, or try some of its custom camera modes, like dual shot - a nifty option that lets you take simultaneous shots with the front and rear cameras to superimpose yourself in the photo. (Picture on right taken with Galaxy S4)
Chances of success
Overall our impressions of the Samsung Galaxy S4 are positive. While the device doesn't have the wow factor of the HTC One and Nokia Lumia 920, which brought much more in your face innovations to the table, the score of software innovations made by Samsung more than make up for the S4's understated redesign.
Check back with V3 later for a full review of the Samsung Galaxy S4.
15 Mar 2013
Samsung and Apple have been battling for control of the top-end smartphone market since the Korean firm released its first Galaxy phone nearly half a decade ago.
In the past, while Samsung has managed to beat Apple in overall smartphone sales by swamping the market with a horde of affordable handsets, its top-end Galaxy S2 and S3 devices have always played second fiddle to the iPhone.
Yet, the gap in sales between Samsung and Apple has gradually been narrowing with each passing year. Analysts have since cautiously predicted that the Galaxy S4 may be the first Android phone to beat the next iPhone in global sales.
However this victory will hinge on Samsung's ability to beat the Apple iPhone in both technical specifications and software innovations. Here we take a look at the crucial specs and which firm has the most impressive device.
Measurements and weight
Samsung Galaxy S4: 137x70x7.9 mm, 130g
Apple iPhone 5: 124x59x7.6 mm, 112g
It's undeniable the Apple iPhone is lighter and more small-hand friendly than the Samsung Galaxy S4, however it achieves this at the expense of screen size.
Samsung Galaxy S4: 5in full HD super Amoled 1920x1080 display, 441 ppi
Apple iPhone 5: 4in 1136x640 Retina display, 326 ppi
When it was released last year the iPhone 5's Retina Display was the best ever seen on a smartphone. However since then competitors like HTC, Sony and now Samsung have caught up creating even higher pixels-per-inch displays.
Samsung Galaxy S4: 1.6 GHz Octa-Core Processor or quad-core 1.9GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor in US, Canada and Sweden
Apple iPhone 5: A6 dual-core
Apple has consistently claimed there's no need for quad-core processors in a smartphone as the device's speed is largely dependent on how well optimised the software is for the components.
This claim has proved true in the past and for that reason we think the eight-core processor in the Galaxy S4 could be overkill.
Samsung Galaxy S4: 2,600 mAh
Apple iPhone 5: 1,440 mAh
The Galaxy S4's battery is significantly bigger than the iPhone 5's. However powering the much larger display it's still up in the air whether the increase capacity will result in a longer battery life.
Samsung Galaxy S4: Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean
Apple iPhone 5: iOS 6
Picking which operating system is better is largely down to the individual user's personal preference.
However it's worth noting the S4 does feature several innovative camera and interactive features the iPhone does not. These include Air Gesture and View features that let users interact with the device using Minority Report style gestures.
Samsung Galaxy S4: 13MP rear, 2MP front
Apple iPhone 5: 8MP rear, 1.2MP front
The Samsung Galaxy S4 on paper has a better megapixel count, though as demonstrated by the HTC One, pixel count is not indicative of photographic quality.
Samsung Galaxy S4: 16/32/64GB user memory + microSD slot (up to 64GB)
Apple iPhone 5: 16/32/64GB internal
Both devices are available with multiple storage options. If you really want to store a lot of media, Samsung is offering up its new HomeSync product, which offers users 1TB of storage via a streaming server. However, with the advent of low-cost cloud storage services like iCloud, Google Drive and DropBox it's unlikely you'll ever be short of space with either smartphone.
Samsung Galaxy S4: GSM/GPRS/EDGE/HSPA+/4G LTE Cat 3; Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, GPS, NFC, Bluetooth 4
Apple iPhone 5: GSM/EDGE/HSPA+/HSDPA/LTE 4G; 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, 802.11n on 2.4GHz and 5GHz; Bluetooth 4; GPS
The upload and download of either device will depend on the network carrier and location of the user.
With the iPhone 5 midway through its lifecycle, the Samsung Galaxy S4 is on paper far more powerful.
However, specs aren't always 100 percent accurate meaning it's all but impossible to know which is better till we've had more hands-on time with the Galaxy S4.
Additionally, while the iPhone 5 is one of the S4's biggest current competitors, its real enemy, the next iPhone is yet to appear.
Check back with V3 later for a full review of the Samsung Galaxy S4.
10 Jan 2013
LAS VEGAS: Samsung unveiled its Windows 8-powered Series 7 Chronos alongside its new Ultra ultrabook at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) on Sunday.
Running Windows 8 standard and featuring a touchscreen, Samsung touted the Chronos as proof it was capable of making laptops oozing with business appeal.
Design and build
The Chronos' most striking feature is its bare metal chassis and ample dimensions, with it measuring in at 376x249x20.9mm.
This meant that while the Chronos feels very sturdy, with its aluminium chassis giving the impression it could withstand the odd heavy whack, it's also fairly heavy, even when compared to other devices in its size bracket. For this reason, the Chronos is more a desktop replacement than portable device and won't be suitable for execs expecting to rack up the air miles.
Its large backlit keyboard does have advantages though. Testing the Chronos, we were pleased with the keyboard, with it proving very responsive and pleasant to type on.
Additionally, the Chronos' size has let Samsung load it with a slew of ports. These include two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0, and individual HDMI and VGA ports. On its top, the Chronos also features a 720p integrated camera for video calling.
Samsung's loaded the Chronos with a 15.6in Full HD display. Boasting the increasingly common 10-point touch functionality, we found the display suitably eye-pleasing and responsive, recognising and enacting our touch inputs instantaneously.
The only issue we noticed with the Chronos' screen was that it could be prone to glare when it caught the light at a certain angle - though this could be more to do with the insanely bright lights Samsung had on its show floor and might not be an issue when using the Chronos in normal conditions.
Power-wise the Chronos sits in the middle of Samsung's laptop range, packing an AMD Radeon HD 8870M Graphics chip with 2GB GDDR5 Graphic Memory on board that is complemented by an Intel Core i7 processor.
While we didn't get the chance to fully run the Chronos through its paces during our hands on, we were pleasantly surprised by how smoothly it ran. Testing the Chronos using the slew of pre-installed apps on it we found the device could easily handle multi-tasking and most general tasks.
We're looking forward to seeing how the Chronos performs when challenged with more intensive tasks come our full review.
Samsung claims the Chronos will boast an eight-hour battery life off one charge. We didn't get the chance to test Samsung's claim during our hands on, but if true this should mean the Chronos will last a full working day off one charge.
However, given the device's large size, we're not sure how often users will find themselves using the Chronos on the go, away from a power station.
There's currently no official word on the Chronos price or release date. However given its middling specifications, we're guessing the Chronos will come with a similarly middling price tag. If our guess is right, then while its large size and weight make it unsuitable for prolonged mobile use the Chronos could be a solid choice for users looking for a desktop replacement.
Check back with V3 later in the year for a full review of the Samsung Series 7 Chronos.
08 Jan 2013
LAS VEGAS: Samsung initially announced its plans to use Windows 8 to increase its presence in the enterprise space in October 2012, when it unveiled its Ativ series of convertible tablet-laptop hybrids.
Following up its opening salvo, Samsung unveiled its Series 7 Ultra ultrabook at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas on Monday.
Eager to get a look at the device, V3 wrestled past the crowds at Samsung's CES booth and took a hands on look at the Ultra to see how it measures up to its more established Lenovo, HP and Dell-built competition.
Design and build
The first thing that strikes you about the Ultra is its unashamedly ultrabook design, featuring the telltale polished aluminium chassis that has become synonymous with with the title.
With its familiar brushed metal finish, the Samsung Series 7 Ultra looks sleek and stylish and feels fairly solidly built.
It also looks to be extremely travel friendly, measuring just 18.9mm thick and weighing a modest 1.65kg.
Underneath its shiny metal exterior, the Ultra packs a surprisingly large backlit keyboard. But during our tests we found the keyboard, though usable and responsive, did feel slightly less well built than the rest of the device. The keys had a disconcerting spongy feel when pressed.
The Ultra sports a surprising number of ports, despite its diminutive size, packing a single USB 3.0 port, a pair of USB 2.0 connectors, HDMI, mini VGA and HP/MIC options.
Another added boon for business users is the inclusion of a 720p HD camera, which when tested was more than adequate for video calling.
The Samsung Series 7 Ultra packs a 13.3in Full HD 1920 x 1080, 1080p, 10-point multi-touch screen.
Using the device we found the screen was suitably responsive, recognising our pinch, zoom and swipe commands instantly, making navigating its Windows 8 Pro operating system an absolute joy.
The Ultra we tested was powered by an Intel Core i7 processor though there is also an Intel Core i5 model is to launch too.
Testing the i7 version we were pleased how well Ultra handled, with programmes loading blazingly fast. We're looking forward to pushing the Ultra further and seeing how it handles more intensive tasks come our full review.
Samsung claims the Ultra will boast an eight-hour battery life. If true this will be another strong selling point for the Ultra, adding to its "use on the go" travel friendly appeal.
The Samsung Series 7 Ultra offers great performance - although a critical point, as ever will be price, a key bit of information Samsung's chosen to keep quiet about.
Check back with V3 later for a full review of the Samsung Series 7 Ultra.
29 Oct 2012
Google has unveiled the latest entry in its Nexus range of tablets, yet rather than sticking with Asus for its first 10in model, the company has instead chosen to team up with long time smartphone partner Samsung.
By doing so Google has made the Nexus 10 something entirely different from the older Nexus 7, carrying a radically improved screen, but potentially at the cost of its processing prowess.
The Nexus 10's screen is one area we're guessing is going to be a massive selling point. The device comes loaded with a larger 10in 2,560x1,600 resolution 300 ppi display.
Considering Samsung's strong track record of loading its devices with beautifully crisp and bright displays, we're guessing the Nexus 10's screen will prove to be a massive improvement on the older Nexus 7's 7in 1,280x800 216ppi component, which at times could look slightly dull.
That said, we're still not sure if the Nexus 10's display will look as stunning as the Apple iPad's 9.7in 2,048x1,536 264 ppi Retina Display, which thus far has blown all the competition away in our head to head reviews.
The Nexus 10's design is another key area separating it from the smaller Nexus 7. Measuring in at 264x178x8.9mm and weighing 603g, the Nexus 10 visually looks like a Samsung product, featuring a much rounder design than the more angular Nexus 7.
One concern we have regarding the tablet's design, is that its light weight indicates the Nexus 10, like Samsung's own Galaxy range of tablets, will feature an entirely plastic chassis. If so then the Nexus 10 could potentially suffer the same build quality issues as Samsung's other recent tablets, which are prone to picking up marks and scratches.
Another change made for the Nexus 10 is that instead of running on the 1.2GHZ quad-core Tegra 3 processor used in the Nexus 7, the new 10in tablet will feature Samsung's own dual-core A15 component.
While Google hasn't released the processor's exact specifications, we're thinking it will run at a minimum 1.7GHz. This means that while not being quad core, the tablet should still be very fast, especially when paired with Jelly Bean's Project Butter coding - which in our experience removes all the chug and speed glitch issues that plagued older Android versions and led to the call for quad-core technology in the first place.
Debatably the biggest addition made by Samsung for the Nexus 10 is the inclusion of a 5MP rear-facing camera. The original Nexus didn't feature a rear-facing camera. According to Asus this was an intentional move designed to keep the Nexus 7's cost down.
While on paper this sounds like a great addition, we're not convinced it will prove that useful in the long run. Taking photos on any tablet is a fairly trying experience and considering the quality issues we've had with previous Samsung tablets' cameras, we're thinking the Nexus 10's 5MP unit may prove a disappointment.
The Nexus 10 will be released running Google's latest Android 4.2 Jelly Bean operating system. The update features a slew of upgrades to the OS including an improved keyboard, new actionable notifications, refreshes for Google Now and access to the music section of the Play store.
The Google Play updates promise to expand the service to offer UK users the ability to purchase as well as rent movies and bring the company's Music service to Europe.
Pricing and prospects
One key area we're thinking the Nexus 10 could win on is its price. Google has confirmed the Nexus 10 will be available in 16GB and 32GB versions and will launch in Europe on 13 November. Google has confirmed the smaller 16GB version will cost £319 and the larger 32GB version will be £389.
Considering the fact that this is close to half the cost of other top end Android tablets, like the Asus Transformer Pad Infinity, we're thinking the new Nexus could pull the same trick as its predecessor, snapping up users looking for a premium tablet experience on a budget.
However, Google could face a challenge winning business from Apple fans, as the 10in Nexus will only offer a £10 saving over the £329 Wi-Fi only iPad 2, and is only £80 cheaper than the latest 16GB 10in iPad.
Check back with V3 later for a full review of the Nexus 10 by Samsung.
24 Oct 2012
Samsung unveiled its first ever Windows Phone 8 handset, the Ativ S, at IFA in Berlin earlier this year. At Samsung's Windows 8 launch this week, V3 got a chance to put the Ativ S through its paces. We have to say, despite Samsung's Android focus, our opening impressions of its first WP8 phone are positive.
Visually the Ativ S is close to identical to the Galaxy S3, featuring the same ergonomic, slightly curved chassis. This means that in hand, the Ativ S is all but indistinguishable from the S3; it is practically the same size, measuring in at 137x70x8.7mm. The Galaxy S3 by comparison measures in at a slightly tweaked 131x71x8.6mm.
The same is true of the Ativ S' weight, with it being only two grams heavier than the S3 weighing a featherweight 135g. So similar are the two that were it not for the placement of the Windows logo on the Ativ S' physical home button, when turned off, it would be all too easy to mistake the Ativ S for the S3.
Sadly, while meaning the Ativ S is comfortable in hand, its similarity to the S3 left us feeling concerned about its durability. The Galaxy S3, while a fantastic phone, is prone to picking up marks and scratches, particularly on its removable back plate. Featuring a close to identical design to the S3, we're worried the Ativ S may suffer the same problem.
The Ativ S has the same 4.8in 720x1,280, 306ppi pixel density, super Amoled touchscreen display as the Galaxy S3. Though we only got to test the device in an incredibly dimly lit showroom, we were very impressed with the Ativ S' screen.
Like the S3, the Ativ S' display is incredibly bright, so much so that when we turned it up to maximum brightness we were left dazzled. The same was true of the display's clarity, with images, icons and videos all appearing crystal clear, with no fuzziness around their edges or colour balance issues.
Windows Phone 8
Since unveiling its new operating system, Microsoft has touted Windows Phone 8 as its best mobile offering to date.
The OS features the same tiled user interface as Windows Phone 7, but this time adds the ability to resize tiles. While this is nothing new to Android smartphone users, the ability is a welcome one as it allows users to create a UI that truly meets their needs.
During our test run of the Ativ S we attempted to create our own UI. Being avid social media users we started our endeavour by increasing the size of our People tile to make it easier to check our Twitter and Facebook feeds more quickly. To make room for the new UI we shrunk our less used Hotmail and Netflix tiles.
Like the Lumia 920, the Ativ S is blazingly fast. Playing with the Ativ S we found navigating its menus and opening apps was a seamless, chug and glitch free experience. So impressed were we with the Ativ S' performance, that if we were to go off our opening impressions alone, we'd say the device is just as smooth and fast as Apple's iPhone 5.
Another key addition to the Windows Phone platform in WP8 is the inclusion of dual-core processor support. Previously, Microsoft had insisted there was no need for multi-core processors on a mobile device. Yet, having tested the Ativ S and its dual-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm MSM8960 Snapdragon processor, we have to say Microsoft was wrong.
That said, the Ativ S we had on show didn't come loaded with any particularly power hungry apps. That meant we didn't get the chance to see how it performed on more demanding tasks.
Not content with Microsoft's core offering, Samsung has loaded the device with several custom apps. These include things like its Music Hub and Chat On. While we didn't get a chance to try out the services, we're not convinced the additions are necessary. Most off the added services we saw are simply duplicate versions of Microsoft made apps already preloaded onto the device.
This means that, unless you're one of the few people to sign up to Samsung's services, we're not convinced the apps are really necessary. Would you really pick the Samsung Music Hub over Microsoft's infinitely more complete Xbox Music service?
Camera and storage
The Ativ S boasts an 8MP rear-facing and 1.9MP front-facing camera. Though we only got to see a few sample shots pre-taken on the device, with a software block stopping us taking any of our own, the sample shots did look decent, boasting decent colour and light levels and picture clarity.
Considering the fact the Ativ S' rear camera features the same autofocus, LED flash Geo-tagging and image stabilisation features as the S3, we have high hopes for its camera and are looking forward to getting a more thorough go with it.
Though our opening impressions of the Ativ S are positive, with it featuring many of the strengths that made the Galaxy S3 great, we're still unsure of its chances.
By running Windows Phone 8, Samsung is going to be competing against Nokia, a company with far more experience developing for the ecosystem.
This means that where Samsung has added a few apps, previously seen on its Android handsets to its flagship Windows Phone, Nokia has created a host of truly interesting services for its flagship Lumia 920 smartphone.
These include upgrades to its already popular Nokia Maps and Drive services and the addition of its new City Lens feature. For this reason alone we're thinking the Ativ S may struggle.
Check back with V3 later for a full review of the Ativ S.
BERLIN: Qualcomm's developer tablet was on show at the company's IQ 2012 Berlin event on Monday.
V3 took the chance to test the Qualcomm developer tablet's Snapdragon processor against the Exynos quad-core chip used in Samsung's popular Galaxy Note 10.1.
On paper, the Note and Qualcomm development tablet are incredibly similar. Both devices run Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and house 10.1in screens.
Additionally, both the Note and the development tablet feature processors made by their parent companies. Specifically, the Note 10.1 features a Samsung-made 1.4GHz quad-core Exynos 4412 processor, while Qualcomm's development model packs a 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro.
This means comparing the two should be fair, with both featuring custom designed components.
To start its comparison, V3 tested both the Note and the development tablet using the Antutu and Quadrant benchmarking apps. On both occasions Qualcomm's Snapdragon S4 Pro demo unit came out on top.
Qualcomm's Snapdragon demo unit scored an impressive 138,888 on Antutu; the Note by comparison scored a still impressive 12,578.
With Quadrant's CPU, I/O and 3D graphics benchmark, the Qualcomm tablet scored 7,639, while Samsung's Galaxy Note tablet scored a less impressive 5,261.
This means that on paper the Qualcomm developer tablet is on paper one of the fastest we've ever seen, easily trumping most, if not all of the top end tablets currently available.
Interestingly though this increased power doesn't translate into a better user experience on Qualcomm's demo unit.
The Qualcomm tablet is by its nature a demo product and as such doesn't feature the same polished feel the Note does. The Snapdragon tablet's WXGA display is significantly less responsive than the Note's and doing basic things like navigating the display is cumbersome.
Additionally, the Qualcomm demo unit's 13MP camera didn't really live up to our expectations. While photos taken using the unit looked reasonable, they weren't as detailed as we'd expect. We're thinking this is due to a software oversight that stops the tablet taking full advantage of its 13MP sensor.
While these oversights can be forgiven on a demo unit, they would be unforgivable on a product released for purchase to the general public. Hopefully though these problems will be fixed by other manufacturers hoping to release products using the Snapdragon S4 Pro, letting the impressive processor really show off what it can do.
Check back with V3 later for further coverage of Qualcomm's IQ 2012 event.
Samsung unveiled its Ativ S Windows Phone 8 smartphone at IFA, a week before Nokia's prescheduled New York event, in a move clearly designed to steal some of the Finnish phone maker's thunder.
Since then Nokia has unveiled its new flagship Lumia 920 smartphone, leading to speculation over whether Samsung will be able to wrest control of the Windows Phone ecosystem.
In terms of specifications, little is known about the Ativ S, other than it will run using the Microsoft Windows Phone 8 operating system. But from what we do know, it will be fairly similar to the Lumia 920's specs.
The Ativ S will pack a sizeable 4.8in Super Amoled display, while the 920 will feature a 4.5in Nokia PureMotion HD+ WXGA IPS LCD screen. The question here will be whether Nokia's PureMotion HD+ will be able to match Samsung's Super Amoled technology's performance.
The Puremotion HD+ technology is an evolved version of the ClearBlack feature seen on Nokia's Lumia 800 and 900 smartphones.
While we were impressed with the earlier Lumia's screens, we couldn't honestly say they were as good as the Super Amoled displays seen on Samsung's recent top-end Galaxy smartphones.
This means Nokia will have had to seriously improve the technology if the Lumia 920 is going to compete with the Ativ S display.
Both the Ativ S and Lumia 920 have been confirmed to run using 1.5GHz dual-core processors. As Windows Phone 8 is significantly less power hungry than Android, we're expecting both smartphones to be incredibly fast and more than capable of matching most top-end Android devices' speeds.
Technically, the only factor we can see that will help the Lumia 920 differentiate itself from the Ativ S is the inclusion of Nokia's incredible Pureview camera technology.
Nokia claims that the Pureview technology means that the Lumia 920's 8.7MP rear camera is the best currently available on any smartphone capturing "five to 10 times more light than competitors devices". If it's anything like the camera tech seen on the 808 Pureview, we believe it.
That said, as noted by several industry analysts, it's not just about the Lumia 920's and Ativ S' technical prowess, it's also about their software.
Nokia already has a strong history of developing for the Windows Phone platform, while Samsung at best can be described as having tested the water.
This means that, as far as we currently know, the Ativ S will be released running an untouched version of Windows Phone 8, while the Lumia 920 will feature a slew of custom-made Nokia apps and features.
"What makes the Lumia 920 unique from competitors are the range of services that Nokia developed to create additional value to its clients and to compete with other Windows Phones that will come to market in the next quarters," noted IDC analyst Francisco Jeronimo.
Nokia already confirmed its Nokia Maps, Transport, Music (in the US) and newly unveiled City Lens services will be featured on the 920. Many of these features have proven incredibly popular with existing Windows Phone users and have become a unique selling point for the Nokia brand.
Nokia's City Lens offers users an augmented reality display that gives dynamic information about users' surroundings. When considered alongside the other custom apps, we think it could be a serious factor differentiating the Lumia 920 from the Ativ S.
Combine this innovation with the Lumia 920's Fatboy wireless charger and we really have to question the Ativ S' current chances of succeeding in the Windows Phone 8 ecosystem.
Check back with V3 later in the year for full reviews of the Samsung Ativ S and Nokia Lumia 920.