iPhone 5 opens the door for Nokia, Samsung

There's no doubt that the iPhone 5 is going to be a great, fast-selling smartphone, but it's out-innovated by Nokia and Samsung.

Nokia Lumia 920
Sarah Tew/CNET

News flash: The iPhone 5 is not the end-all and be-all of the smartphone universe , a fact that should thrill Nokia and Samsung alike.

Here's what it is: a strong improvement to the iPhone 4S that offers up a larger screen, 4G LTE speeds, and a terrific camera. The iPhone 5 carries on the goodness that Apple excels at, like iTunes entertainment and cloud storage.

But however good the iPhone 5 is, it lacks the knockout, gasp-inducing feature that Apple followers have come to expect: perhaps double the battery life of any other phone on the market, or an innovative camera feature that lets you drag and drop subjects around the screen, or other far-out concepts come to life.

Instead, we see a lot of catching up: LTE support, panorama mode, and photo capture while a video records, maps with turn-by-turn navigation, and a slightly larger screen with the same pixel density as on the iPhone 4 two generations ago. And it still lacks certain other perks, like NFC , which is useful for mobile payments, and for sharing content from phone to phone.

For the first time in a long time, Apple has given its rivals room to bask in their own innovations.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2
Samsung's Galaxy Note 2 is the anti-iPhone. Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

The Nokia's Lumia 920 offers wireless charging, for example, a capability it'll pilot in coffee shops and airline lounges . Its camera is literally surrounded by springs, and the screen uses a very smart display filter that could match or even surpass the iPhone 5's display (we have to wait to see them side by side.

Meanwhile, Samsung's Galaxy Note 2 offers up an enormous 5.5-inch screen and a truckload of tricks with its S Pen stylus, and a new camera feature that will compile the best of a handful of group photos, increasing the chances that everyone's smiling. Its phone/tablet hybrid is the antithesis of the smaller iPhone screen.

On the battery front, Motorola's new Motorola Droid Razr Maxx HD can't be beat; it features a powerful 3,300mAh battery that promises 21 hours of talk time to Apple's 8 hours of talk time over 3G on the iPhone 5.

Make no mistake that the iPhone 5 will sell like wildfire and bring delight to Apple fans everywhere -- in fact, I even think it makes for a great universal choice.

Yet its lack of a "gotcha" feature gives shoppers considering other powerful alternatives -- like the intriguing Lumia 920, the larger-than-life Samsung Galaxy Note 2, or even the won't-quit Motorola Droid Razr Maxx HD -- fewer reasons to stick with Apple.

 

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