Nokia has a great Windows Phone 8 lineup, but is Samsung’s handset better for media enthusiasts?

Nokia Lumia 920 vs Samsung ATIV S - for some reason we don't have an alt tag here

The recently announced Nokia Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 pack some pretty impressive hardware, including wireless charging, a PureView camera, and a touch screen that even works through thick gloves. Unfortunately, the Lumia 920’s 32GB of storage isn’t accompanied by a microSD card slot, so if you’re concerned about being able to store a lot of media on your device, it might not be the best option.

The lack of expandable memory in the Lumia 920 is, according to Nokia executive vice president Kevin Shields, because “to put an SD card slot in it would have defiled [the uncompromised physical form].” While the design philosophy behind this is understandable – having minimal ports helps cut down on dirt and makes the chassis more streamlined – it’s just enough of a drawback to make some media enthusiasts consider going with a phone which supports expandable memory.

The Samsung ATIV S, in particular, looks like it will be great for storing lots of music, pictures, videos, and games thanks to its microSD SDXC card slot. The Secure Digital eXtended Capacity (SDXC) standard lends support for up to 2TB of data, but most microSD SDXC cards only go up to about 64GB. This means that you could, in theory, complement the stock 32GB with a 64GB card, resulting in a whopping 96GB of storage space. When you look at it this way, it’s obvious which choice is the best for media enthusiasts.

While one could make the argument that the cloud is the way to go – and indeed, every Windows Phone comes with 7GB of free storage on SkyDrive, plus up to an additional 100GB for $50 per year – we currently don’t know the extent of Windows Phone 8’s SkyDrive integration. If the OS ends up supporting streaming videos from Xbox Video, music streaming from SkyDrive, and a virtual music collection based on locations like SkyDrive and Xbox Music, than you might be able to get away with less storage. But some people want or need access to their content in an offline capacity when a data connection is inaccessible or too costly. Cloud storage also isn’t ideal for games and apps at this point.

Nokia has made a number of top-notch contributions to the Windows Phone ecosystem, such as wireless charging, great accessories, fantastic first-party apps, and timed exclusive third-party apps, so choosing a different brand would be a difficult decision. One has to take HTC’s soon-to-be-announced devices into account as well. But if storage is what you need on your Windows Phone, the ATIV S is currently the way to go. I haven’t made my decision yet, but the ATIV S is certainly compelling, despite the Lumia 920’s numerous advantages.

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William Devereux

William Devereux is the former Microsoft editor at Pocketables, as well as a Microsoft MVP and SkyDrive/Outlook.com Insider. As his title implies, he wrote about all things from Redmond, including Windows 8 and Windows Phone. He is currently carrying a Windows Phone 8X by HTC and a Microsoft Surface with Windows RT tablet.

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