Hands on with the Samsung Ativ S, Lumia 920 and 820

Neowin has spent the better part of this week up in Microsoft's neighborhood and among the many meetings and conversations, we got a chance to play with the Samsung ATIV S, Lumia 920 and 820 (the blue phone above is my Lumia 900). While our time with the devices was brief, consumer impressions are made in just a few seconds after picking up the device and so we have posted our initial impressions below.

The devices were all production models that will be hitting the shelves here in the near future but we were not allowed to turn them on. Microsoft said that they have a few surprises still up their sleeves with Windows Phone 8 and that when the time is right, they will show them off. So consider that the information below based solely on the look and feel of the devices.

The Lumia 920 is a top tier device from Nokia that will compete head to head with the newly announced iPhone 5. In your hand it feels similar in build quality to that of the Lumia 900. The shiny surface on the yellow 920 was not slippery in the hands as one might expect and it brings over the Lumia 800 rounded edge on the front glass. For those of you who have the Lumia 900, you will notice that there is a small ledge at the edge of the screen, this is not present on the Lumia 920. The device is solid, has a great weight to it, and feels like a fantastic phone as long as Windows Phone 8 is able to complete the package from a software perspective.

The Lumia 820 is clearly targeted at a lower market segment. The back cover pops off with a bit of effort which is a good thing as it does not feel like the interchangeable covers will fall off while using the device during your daily routines. In your hand it is noticeably lighter than the 920 and despite only having a slightly smaller screen, it definitely feels like the younger sibling when compared to the 920. The 820 has a more plasticy feel to it when compared the the 920 but this is expected as the lower range device will certainly be a budget winner when compared to other devices on the market.

The Lumia devies felt complete with no noticeable creaking or shifting components when playing with them in your hand. A quick horizontal and vertical torquring on the device was met with much resistance and the phones showed little flex when pressure was applied.

The Samsung Ativ S is a different approach to the Windows Phone segment. Unlike Nokia, Samsung's device has a more industrial look to it and swaps the bold colors of the Lumia for gun-metal grey and is wrapped in an aluminum package. The aluminium enclosure feels good in your hand but the pictures are a bit deceiving. Despite being made of metal, the phone is really light and depending on who you are, this may be a good thing, or not. I am not fully convinced either way on the Ativ S, it certainly looks attractive but the overall ranking of the device is to be determined when we get more time to fully test out the device.

The takeaway is that Windows Phone has quite a few interesting products around the corner and that the Lumia line of devices certainly stand out with their bold colors. With HTC right around the corner and likely to announce a Titan III (fingers crossed), Windows Phone is shaping up to have many attractive options this holiday season. 

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49 Comments

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CW-88 said,
Blue 920? Or is that a 900?

EDIT: I'm a retard lol I still wish there was a blue 920 though

It's a Lumia 900. Look at the Windows Phone 7 logo printed onto the home button.

iMamoru said,

It's a Lumia 900. Look at the Windows Phone 7 logo printed onto the home button.

haha yeah I know, I realised that as soon as I posted. Pity though as I would love a blue 920.
Still buying a 920 regardless

Samsung's device has a more industrial look to it and swaps the bold colors of the Lumia for gun-metal grey and is wrapped in an aluminum package. The aluminium enclosure feels good in your hand but the pictures are a bit deceiving. Despite being made of metal, the phone is really light and depending on who you are, this may be a good thing, or not.

Just to be clear, ATIV S is made of aluminum or not? I mean aluminum is metal, aluminum-like plastic, is still plastic.

I think I'd be happier with a Lumia 820 design, without interchangeable backs, hopefully making it a little thinner, with the Lumia 920 internals.

Taste is a big factor in these things, but to my eyes, the Samsung is the same old boring design language that's made me tire of Android after three years. It looks way too much like just-another Galaxy phone.

The Lumia is winning in a lot of comparisons. It's one of the most impressive LCDs on the market with a stand-out implementation of touch (all those California reviewers shrugged off touch-through-gloves, but anyone living somewhere with all four seasons will love this). It has a camera that won't need to hide its suck behind instagram ("It looks crappy on purpose, honest!"). And it doesn't look like leftover Android hardware hurled together to have something on the shelf.

This "review", if you can even call it that seems be poisoned by bias. The writer wrote two sentences about the Ativ S, and 3 paragraphs about the Nokia phones. I personally don't care for the Ativ S (or Samsung in general), but I'd like an honest assessment of it anyway.

ahinson said,
This "review", if you can even call it that seems be poisoned by bias. The writer wrote two sentences about the Ativ S, and 3 paragraphs about the Nokia phones. I personally don't care for the Ativ S (or Samsung in general), but I'd like an honest assessment of it anyway.

no 2 lumia and 1 samsung ativ s
he wrote
2 paragraph general talking about windows phone
1 paragraph for lumia 920
1 paragraph for lumia 820
1 paragraph for ativ S
1 paragraph for HTC event and rumor about HTC Titan 3

subcld said,

no 2 lumia and 1 samsung ativ s
he wrote
2 paragraph general talking about windows phone
1 paragraph for lumia 920
1 paragraph for lumia 820
1 paragraph for ativ S
1 paragraph for HTC event and rumor about HTC Titan 3
The hyperbole regarding the paragraph count was intentional. Thanks for counting for me though!

ahinson said,
This "review", if you can even call it that seems be poisoned by bias. The writer wrote two sentences about the Ativ S, and 3 paragraphs about the Nokia phones. I personally don't care for the Ativ S (or Samsung in general), but I'd like an honest assessment of it anyway.

Just called a hands on. The Nokias are far more intriguing to me as well. Samsung looks nice but it's generic and I don't like the big wompin' windows button on it. Now gimme a 920.

ahinson said,
The hyperbole regarding the paragraph count was intentional. Thanks for counting for me though!

glad to help you out if you need me to help you reading the paragraphs too i'll be glad to help you

my favorite phone is lumia 920 the price will determine between 920 and 820
there was a russian hands on ative S youtube video the guy said that the back cover of samsung Ativ s is Plastic

Is the extra weight on the Lumia 920 noticable? I currently have a SGS3 and it's extremely light. I don't really mind a bit of extra weight but if it feels like a brick in my pocket then it defeats the purpose.

scorpian007 said,
Is the extra weight on the Lumia 920 noticable? I currently have a SGS3 and it's extremely light. I don't really mind a bit of extra weight but if it feels like a brick in my pocket then it defeats the purpose.

It's 185g and whilst the SIII ushered in a raft of incredibly thin and light phones the Lumia 920 is still only 185g. It's about the weight of a standard chocolate bar. Go to your local supermarket and look for an appropriately sized chocolate bar and you will see what I mean.

No way should you notice any issues (even if you are used to a Galaxy SIII). I personally like a bit of weight as I find people with very light phones tend to hold the phone very gently and end up dropping them more often.

as147 said,

No way should you notice any issues (even if you are used to a Galaxy SIII). I personally like a bit of weight as I find people with very light phones tend to hold the phone very gently and end up dropping them more often.

I don't think I would mind either, especially if the Lumia 920 lives up to the hype.

Verizon: "Well ... we've always had a good relationship with HTC, and that Nokia we've never really had one with. So let's just take whatever low end phone they have and take the top HTC phone. People trust HTC. So glad we have our finger on the pulse of what our customers want."

: |

1) This is about as much a hands on as those "exclusives" on The Verge.
2) Remains to be seen whether WP8 comes with actual surprises. The leaked SDK didn't show anything special.

I called it a hands on because I had time with the devices, I can't speak for those exclusives on the verge, but I am not claiming these are a review if you read the post.

bdsams said,
I called it a hands on because I had time with the devices, I can't speak for those exclusives on the verge, but I am not claiming these are a review if you read the post.

But you didn't have time with the devices, you had time with metal and glass.

Rosyna said,

But you didn't have time with the devices, you had time with metal and glass.


I don't mean to sound like an ass, but HE HAD TIME WITH THE DEVICES! Devices are Hardware, not software. Sure we want to review Windows Phone 8, but it only just recently got RTM. So suck it up and wait for Microsoft to announce new ****!

Rosyna said,

But you didn't have time with the devices, you had time with metal and glass.

What's the weather like on your planet?

Jarrichvdv said,

Just disappointed that they made the back glossy! Still an awesome looking phone

they have matte versions in black and gray

i'm most likely going to get the gray

dooksifut said,

they have matte versions in black and gray

i'm most likely going to get the gray


Thx, I completely forgot about those. I still prefer the bright color in matte.

The Samsung looks pretty comfortable to hold and neat compared to the yellow Nokia phone.

Edited by ShMaunder, Sep 14 2012, 11:40pm :

ACTIONpack said,
After seeing the Ativ S next to the Nokia 920 and 820. You can tell the style and quality is so much better!

Your comment is kinda ambiguous. Which has the better quality? The Samsung or the Nokias?

Might be but Nokia has top notch software support. Almost every month a new Nokia app comes out for their devices. Samsung on the other hand. well good luck.

ACTIONpack said,
After seeing the Ativ S next to the Nokia 920 and 820. You can tell the style and quality is so much better!

Wyn6 said,

Your comment is kinda ambiguous. Which has the better quality? The Samsung or the Nokias?

He said that the ATIV got a better quality, I subscribe, it looks better to be honest.

ACTIONpack said,
After seeing the Ativ S next to the Nokia 920 and 820. You can tell the style and quality is so much better!

Samsung much better than the Nokia? Don't think so.

efjay said,

Samsung much better than the Nokia? Don't think so.

Sorry I word that wrong. I was talking about Nokia was a better looking fun!

SubZenit said,

He said that the ATIV got a better quality, I subscribe, it looks better to be honest.

This whole thread is so confusing... "I subscribe"??

DrakeN2k said,
I want a windows phone 8 , I might be able to play the apps I made for the platform
are they on the marketpl.. i mean, windows phone store?

Sas Center said,
are they on the marketpl.. i mean, windows phone store?

They are, my first game is not very good tbh (Galaxy Wars), but this second (coming soon) one im quite proud off.