iPhone 5: How does it stack up?

A head-to-head comparison between iPhone 5, past Apple smartphones, and assorted Android and Windows Phone 8 devices

When the iPhone was first released in 2007, there really wasn't anything like it on the market, with the greatest respect to BlackBerry. Apple's iconic smartphone quickly carved out its own niche, and woe betide the OEM that tried to compete directly.

These days, however, competition in the smartphone market is quite a bit stiffer - which means the iPhone 5 has a great deal more company than its earliest predecessors. Here's our preliminary look at how the iPhone 5 stacks up next to the latest and greatest in Android and Windows Phone 8.

1. - IPHONE 5

iPhone 5

The star of the show packs some high-end features that make it a tough competitor for the Android and Windows Phone 8 devices of the world. A sleek form factor and uncompromising internals

CPU: Claimed twice as fast as previous chip, implying 1.6GHz dual-core

RAM: Not announced (The iPhone 4S had 512MB, for reference.)

Storage: Available in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB configurations

Screen Size: 4 inches

Screen Resolution: 1136x640

Pixel Density: 326 ppi

4G?: Yes

Cameras: 8MP rear, 0.9MP front

Major U.S. carriers: Verizon, AT&T, Sprint

Keith Shaw and Ken Mingis discuss the features of Apple's iPhone 5 smartphone, and whether the larger screen, 4G LTE network and other features will excite the legions of Apple fans.

And now, a look at the Android heavy hitters.

2. - SAMSUNG GALAXY S III

Samsung Galaxy S III

Samsung's current flagship arrived on U.S. shores in late July with a considerable amount of fanfare, and looking at the device, it's easy to see why - the screen is beautiful, the hardware is top-notch, and the Android is at least not Gingerbread. (An update to the latest version, Jelly Bean, is set to appear any day now.)

CPU: 1.5GHz Qualcomm dual-core

RAM: 2GB

Storage: Available in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB configurations, plus 64GB of MicroSD

Screen Size: 4.8 inches

Screen Resolution: 1280x720

Pixel Density: 306 ppi

4G?: Yes

Cameras: 8 MP rear, 1.9 MP front

Major U.S. carriers: AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile

3. - HTC ONE X

HTC One X

Arguably the weakest of the major Android manufacturers' current flagship phones, the One X is nonetheless an impressive piece of equipment. Packing comparable specs to the rest of the Android field, the One X suffers from reputed battery life issues. Currently runs Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0), no word on a Jelly Bean update.

CPU: 1.5GHz dual-core

RAM: 1GB

Storage: 32GB

Screen Size: 4.7 inches

Screen Resolution: 1280x720

Pixel Density: 312 ppi

4G?: Yes

Cameras: 8MP rear, 1.3MP front

Major U.S. carriers: AT&T only

4. - MOTO DROID RAZR HD

Motorola Droid Razr HD

Motorola's just released Verizon exclusive doesn't offer anything qualitatively different than the rest of the field, but the company promises major battery performance and an upgrade from Ice Cream Sandwich to Jelly Bean before the end of 2012.

CPU: 1.5GHz dual-core snapdragon

RAM: 1GB

Storage: 32GB, plus up to 32GB of MicroSD

Screen Size: 4.7 inches

Screen Resolution: 1280x720

Pixel Density: 312 ppi

4G?: Yes

Cameras: 8MP rear, 1.3MP front

Major U.S. carriers: Verizon only

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Next, let's have a look at two new up-and-comers from the Windows Phone 8 ecosystem

5. - Nokia Lumia 920

Nokia Lumia 920

The first of the new generation of Windows Phone 8 devices, the Lumia 920 came out last week, with specs comparable to the current top-flight Android devices. Windows Phone hasn't made huge inroads into the iOS/Android dominated smartphone market, but it's well-regarded by many as an OS, and could be competitive as long as Nokia keeps its hardware current.

CPU: 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon

RAM: 1GB

Storage: 32GB

Screen Size: 4.5 inches

Screen Resolution: 1280x768

Pixel Density: 332 ppi

4G?: Yes

Cameras: 8.7MP rear, 1.2MP front

Major U.S. carriers: Unannounced, though both HSPA+ and LTE connectivity suggest it could work with all carriers.

6. - NOKIA LUMIA 820

Nokia Lumia 820

Though the specs on the Lumia 820 are generally similar to its bigger brother, the lackluster screen probably won't provide much of the "wow" factor that Windows Phone 8 devices will need to differentiate themselves from flashy iPhones and Androids.

CPU: 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon

RAM: 1GB

Storage: 8GB, plus up to 32GB on MicroSD card

Screen Size: 4.3 inches

Screen Resolution: 800x480

Pixel Density: 217 ppi

4G?: Yes

Cameras: 8MP front, 0.3MP rear

Major U.S. carriers: Unannounced, though both HSPA+ and LTE connectivity suggest it could work with all carriers.

Quick reaction 

Apple's iPhone 5 is an undeniably impressive smartphone, and deserving of a place in the highest echelons of the mobile world. However, the company didn't deliver the same level of jaw-dropping innovation as it has in the past, and most of what was announced today had already been widely rumored.

What's more, many of the features highlighted by Apple have long been available outside the iOS ecosystem, including browser synch across multiple devices, text responses to phone calls, and - critically - 4G/LTE connectivity. Put it another way, Apple just had to play catch-up.

That said, of course, the iPhone 5 will undoubtedly sell in huge numbers and create another enormous windfall for Apple. But it'll be interesting to see what happens over the long-term, if the next generation of competitors continues to raise the bar.

Email Jon Gold at jgold@nww.com and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

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