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Nokia Lumia 1020 vs. Sony Xperia Z1: Shutterbug Smartphones

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Nokia Lumia 1020 vs. Sony Xperia Z1: Shutterbug Smartphones

Sporting industry-leading cameras, the Lumia 1020 and Xperia Z1 are a photographer’s dream.

This year, the concept of the camera-focused smartphone has gained a lot of attention, as an increasing number of manufacturers have joined this market segment.. Nokia is one of the leading companies when it comes to building cameraphones, and last year’s 808 PureView is a prime example of that. Although the PureView hasn’t enjoyed a lot of commercial success, mainly due to an aging operating system and lack of availability in key markets, this year Nokia has borrowed some of the impressive camera technologies of the 808 and implemented them into a Windows Phone-powered device – the Lumia 1020.

In the opposite camp reside a handful of Android-powered cameraphones, the most recent one being the Sony Xperia Z1. Although not yet available for purchase, the Z1 was unveiled on September 4, just ahead of IFA 2013, and is now heading for the production line.

The Lumia 1020 and the Xperia Z1 appear to be the most capable choices for those who are looking for a camera-centric smartphone, and with that in mind, today we’ll take a closer look at what each of these handsets can offer.

Sony Xperia Z1 vs. Nokia Lumia 1020 – Specs Battle

Before delving into the “camera” aspect of these two handsets, we should discuss a bit about what makes them tick. After all, we’re not looking at two point-and-shoot cameras. These devices are designed to act as day-to-day smartphones when not taking pictures.

Since the Nokia Lumia 1020 is the older contender, we’ll give it a chance to prove itself first. Spec-wise, the Lumia 1020 arrives with a 4.5-inch AMOLED display featuring a resolution of 768 x 1280 and a pixel density of 332 pixels per inch, a Qualcomm MSM8960 Snapdragon dual-core processor clocked at 1.5 GHz, an Adreno 225 graphics chip, 2 GB of RAM, 32 GB of storage (non-expandable), a 2,000 mAh battery, and Windows Phone 8 OS. On the other side of the camp, the Sony Xperia Z1 benefits from a larger 5-inch Triluminos display which boasts a resolution of 1080 x 1920 and a pixel density of 441 ppi, a Qualcomm MSM8974 Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor running at a frequency of 2.2 GHz, an Adreno 330 GPU, 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB of storage (expandable by up to 64 GB via microSD), a 3,000 mAh battery, and Android 4.3 Jelly Bean.

Drawing a line here, it’s not difficult to realize that the newer Xperia Z1 packs a stronger punch than its competitor. It features a higher resolution display, a much more powerful CPU and GPU combo, and despite the fact that it offers less built-in storage, it benefits from a microSD card slot which balances things out.

However, as mentioned above, the main camera of these two handsets plays a big role, and here is where the Lumia 1020 impresses the most. The handset features a 41 megapixel (38 MP effective) camera with a 1/1.5 inch sensor size and Carl Zeiss optics with an f/2.2 aperture, optical image stabilization, 4x lossless digital zoom, Xenon and LED flash, and PureView technology.

The Lumia 1020, proving that it is truly a camera-focused device, also boasts an optional camera grip that gives it the appearance of a high-end point-and-shoot. The $59 grip includes an extended 1020 mAh battery and a universal tripod mount.

The Xperia Z1 on the other hand, features a 20.7 MP camera with a 1/2.3 inch sensor size, Sony G Lens, an Exmor RS sensor, f/2.0 aperture, 3x lossless digital zoom, video stabilization, an LED flash and a BIONZ image processor.

While both handsets offer impressive shooters, the Nokia Lumia 1020′s camera is the superior one, at least on paper. In return, the Sony Xperia Z1 seems to be a better all-rounder, with top-tier hardware specs and a pretty decent main sensor. In conclusion, prospective buyers need to ask themselves what they want from a cameraphone. Can you live outside of Android’s ecosystem and embrace the Windows Phone platform? Is the internal hardware the number one priority, or do you consider the camera to be the main, vital component of a cameraphone?

Although the Lumia 1020 is currently available in the US via AT&T, the handset is expected to hit the shelves in other regions in mid-September. Reportedly, the Sony Xperia Z1 will begin hitting store shelves from September 16 onwards. Until then, take your time to decide which device would best fit your requirements and don’t hesitate to share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

Vlad Andrici is editor for and writes about technology issues. Follow Vlad on Google Plus.