1. 3earnhardt3's Avatar
    I'm sure many 928 users are just now coming out of contract and would appreciate an updated Ativ SE and Icon comparison to help them decide how to tidy them over until Verizon gets a new flagship. I have extensive 928 and Icon experience, and thought my next phone was going to be an Icon when my 928 contract was up, but I ultimately landed on the Ativ SE instead. I will not include the HTC One in this comparison as I have no actual hands on experience with it. And in my opinion, do not keep the 928. The Snapdragon S4 is lightyears behind the S800 in performance and the only redeeming feature of the 928 is Glance. If you hate waiting for web pages to load, poor javascript performance, crashing/resuming and the other 100 flaws the 928 has, the Icon and Ativ SE have none of that.

    First things first, please do not expect to purchase an Ativ SE or Icon on contract. It is a waste of money and will keep you from being eligible for the windows 10 flagship upgrade later should you decide to do so. Verizon offers a $25 bring your own device discount on the $40 access fee once you are out of contract, which everyone should be taking advantage of while it lasts. This will save you $150 to $200 in access fees while you wait for the next flagship (or more if you can afford to purchase the flagship outright and continue using the BYOD discount). A manufacturer refurbished (mine was actually brand new in a refurbished box) Ativ SE will run you $159 on Ebay, Seller BidAllies. An Icon will run you about $239 (less if you catch one on ebay at the right time, make sure it is manufacturer refurb not seller refurb). Both are affordable, but the Ativ SE is in the impulse buy price range whereas the Icon is in the 'ask the wife' price range.

    Both devices run the same Snapdragon 800, with the Ativ SE slightly higher clocked. There is a noticeable difference in the responsiveness of both devices when using them side-by-side. The icon takes on average 1 second longer to load web pages with heavy java. Doesn't seem like much but it is enough to mention. RAM, Screen Size, Loudspeaker Quality are all nearly identical. The AMOLED on both devices is absolutely beautiful, I prefer it to the 1520 LCD I briefly had. There may be a slight advantage in sunlight to the Icon here.

    While the internals are very similar, everything else is completely different. The ATIV SE is light as a feather and very comfortable to hold in the hand. The Icon is relatively heavy in the hand and the boxier corners are more likely to dig into your hand while holding it. However, I feel like I could use the Icon as a blunt weapon and it would survive. The Ativ SE fake metal plastic design may not win any awards, but I prefer it to the cold metal feeling of the Icon. One of my favorite features is the physical home button on the Ativ SE with the disappearing navigation capacitive keys. It really brings out the simplicity of windows phone design. The honeycomb pattern bezel is atrocious, though luckily from any further than 3 feet away it just looks slate gray. I prefer the black bezel on the Icon because the AMOLED melts into the bezel in a way that makes it look like the screen is edge to edge.

    The Icon has a leg up on internal memory (32 vs 16) but the Ativ has MicroSD support. The Icon places the SIM slot on top, while the Ativ SE hides it behind the back cover (which I prefer, but to each his own). The big win for the Icon is physical camera button. This priceless feature is missing on the Ativ SE and you will miss it coming from a 928. I won't speak to camera quality as I am by no means a photo expert, but the speed at which the Ativ SE takes photos compared to the Icon is worth more to me than anything. The Samsung can take on average two photos for every one Icon photo (Ativ Camera App vs Lumia Camera 5). It makes a huge difference when trying to catch that fleeting moment with the kids. The Icon does have superior Mic performance, so that may sway you if you plan on taking videos in loud or crowded places.

    The Icon has a few exclusive apps that I will miss, PlayTo for one, but both have the most important apps. Call blocking is available on both. Wireless charging is available native to the Icon and $7 add-on for the Ativ SE. You need to purchase a Galaxy S4 qi receiver, and I suggest you order a flexible printed circuit one from china as it is significantly slimmer and fits under the cover better (couldn't find any American sellers). Support is questionable on both devices, the Samsung won't likely get much active firmware upgrades but will get windows 10 through Microsoft. The Icon is Verizon's most hated device and only narrowly beat the Ativ SE to 8.1.

    In the end I couldn't justify the extra $80 difference in price for a device that I will only be holding on to until the windows 10 phones release. I am very pleased with the device, as I wouldn't have considered the Ativ SE if it were similarly priced to the Icon. Is it as good as the Icon, No. Is it worth the $80 savings...that is up to you.
    05-21-2015 09:13 AM
  2. fatclue_98's Avatar
    The SE also has a removable battery and IR Blaster. All in all, a very nice comparison piece.
    05-21-2015 02:38 PM
  3. Nogitsune Micah's Avatar
    I am considering an SE myself personally. I'll have to look up more info but i'd probably still choose an Icon. It's supported by Win10 preview presently and Samsung isn't...I don't think and I just feel like even though discontinued, it has more of a future than the Se does and i'd hate the idea of wasting money.
    aximtreo likes this.
    05-24-2015 01:28 PM
  4. Harish39's Avatar
    I'm sure many 928 users are just now coming out of contract and would appreciate an updated Ativ SE and Icon comparison to help them decide how to tidy them over until Verizon gets a new flagship. I have extensive 928 and Icon experience, and thought my next phone was going to be an Icon when my 928 contract was up, but I ultimately landed on the Ativ SE instead. .....
    Hi. I bought the same Ativ se unlocked refurbished one from ebay a week back and its supposed to arrive here in india tomorrow. I have a doubt, after updating the mobile to wp 8.1.1 does it stay unlocked? or there's a problem setting up the apn?
    05-26-2015 10:03 AM
  5. fatclue_98's Avatar
    Hi. I bought the same Ativ se unlocked refurbished one from ebay a week back and its supposed to arrive here in india tomorrow. I have a doubt, after updating the mobile to wp 8.1.1 does it stay unlocked? or there's a problem setting up the apn?
    SIM unlocking has nothing to do with firmware.

    Sent from my LG G3 via Tapatalk
    Harish39 likes this.
    05-26-2015 10:11 AM
  6. Harish39's Avatar
    SIM unlocking has nothing to do with firmware.

    Sent from my LG G3 via Tapatalk
    Hi. My unlocked Ativ SE is only getting 2g speeds on data. Clearly 3g bands are supported for my network, is there any way i can activate 3g ?
    05-27-2015 01:45 PM
  7. fatclue_98's Avatar
    You may have to manually enter your carrier's APN information.
    mary beth hale likes this.
    05-27-2015 04:01 PM
  8. Harish39's Avatar
    You may have to manually enter your carrier's APN information.
    I tried that but no use, i am getting only edge signal
    05-27-2015 11:55 PM
  9. 3earnhardt3's Avatar
    I am considering an SE myself personally. I'll have to look up more info but i'd probably still choose an Icon. It's supported by Win10 preview presently and Samsung isn't...I don't think and I just feel like even though discontinued, it has more of a future than the Se does and i'd hate the idea of wasting money.
    It was a tough call for me too, but ultimately I don't plan on using this phone as soon as the continuum and windows hello compatible phones hit the refurb market. The goal for me is to save as much money as possible in the mean time, but if I was planning on going two years with a phone, I would choose the Icon for sure.
    05-28-2015 07:39 AM

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