The Nokia Lumia 1520 and Samsung Galaxy Note 3 are both high-end phablets. They both have huge touch-screen displays and high-end specifications, but one runs on Windows Phone and the other runs on Android. Read on to see how they compare.
Nokia Lumia 1520 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3 – Design
Nokia’s Lumia 1520 adopts a similar design to the rest of Nokia’s Lumia range. That means it benefits from a unibody plastic design which feels solid, sturdy and surprisingly premium. It’s also a thin device at 8.7mm, but it’s pretty heavy tipping the scales at 209g.
Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 is a much lighter device weighing just 168g and it's also slightly thinner than Nokia’s phablet (8.2mm). The build-quality feels as solid as any Samsung Galaxy device and you can remove the back-cover (something not possible on Nokia’s phablet).
Talking of the back cover, the Note 3 now features a leather-effect which feels grippier to hold than the glossy back-cover featured on the Samsung Galaxy S4. It’s a smart decision because the Galaxy Note 3 is a real handful and anything to improve grip is appreciated.
Verdict: Nokia’s device feels a little more premium, but the reduced weight and thickness of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 gives it the edge when it comes to design.
Nokia Lumia 1520 or Samsung Galaxy Note 3 – Display
The Nokia Lumia 1520 has a whopping 6 inch display and it’s the first Windows Phone to have a full HD 1080p IPS LCD display (1920*1080 pixels) giving it a pixels-per-inch rating (PPI) of 368.
It utilises Nokia’s ClearBlack technology which provides deeper blacks, improved contrast, reduced reflections and higher brightness. And the touch-screen is ‘Super Sensitive’, meaning it can be controlled even when wearing gloves or with a stylus (but you’ll need to buy one separately).
Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 has a slighty smaller 5.7 inch Super AMOLED display which also runs at a full HD resolution - giving it a slighty higher 386ppi. The major benefit of AMOLED displays is that individual pixels are lit independently, rather than lighting up the whole display at once – leading to deeper black levels and improved contrast.
While, Samsung’s phablet is a fully-optimised S-Pen device enabling you to draw, scribble and control the smartphone with a stylus.
Verdict: Overall, there isn’t much to choose between the two displays with both delivering excellent image quality with Nokia’s ClearBack technology eradicating the normal advantages enjoyed by AMOLED displays.
Basically it comes down to size: do you think that the Lumia 1520’s 6 inch display is too big, or is it the perfect size for web-browsing and multimedia playback?
Nokia Lumia 1520 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3 – Power
The Nokia Lumia 1520 is the first Windows Phone to come with a quad-core processor. It’s powered by quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor runs at 2.2GHz that is backed up by 2GB of RAM, making it one of the most powerful mobiles in the world.
Unfortunately, it’s up against the Galaxy Note 3 which – on paper at least – is the fastest mobile device in the world. It’s powered by the same quad-core processor, but the clock-speed is raised to 2.3GHz and it has another 1GB of RAM (a total of 3GB).
Verdict: Clearly the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is more powerful than the Lumia 1520, but both devices offer truly staggering performance with the Lumia 1520 setting new standards for Windows Phones.
Nokia Lumia 1520 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Cameras
The Nokia Lumia 1520 has a 20 mega-pixel camera with optical-image stabilisation (OIS) and a dual-LED flash. While, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 only gets a 13 mega-pixel camera that lacks OIS and only has a single LED flash. Nokia's camera sensor is also larger (1/2.5-inch sensor v 1/3.2-inch sensor) and has a higher aperture (f/2.4 v f/2)
The end of result is that Nokia's Lumia 1520 takes higher-quality pictures with improved lighting, while video recording will be less-jerky thanks to the inclusion of OIS. However, Samsung's Galaxy Note 3 is capable of recording 4k (3840 × 2160 pixel) videos at 30fps or 1080p video at 60fps , while the Lumia 1020 can only record 1080p video at 30fps.
Above: Stunning sample shot taken on Lumia 1520 (Click to view full-res image)
Samsung's Galaxy Note 3 has a slighty better 2 mega-pixel front-facing camera compared to Lumia's 1.3 mega-pixels snapper - but both are perfectly adequate for video calling.
Verdict: Overall, the Nokia Lumia 1520 has a better camera for taking static shots and - in our humble opinion - better camera software. If 4k TV's and monitors were more widespread it would have been a closer battle, but Nokia's phablet has the edge right now.
Nokia Lumia 1520 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3 – Battery Life, Storage and Connectivity
Both phablets come with 32GB of onboard memory which can be expanded by another 64GB using microSD cards. And they also come with support for NFC, Bluetooth, WiFi, 3G and 4G LTE. Samsung's smartphone comes with a video-out for connecting the smartphone to your TV, while Nokia's Lumia 2520 is the only one supporting wireless charging.
Nokia's Lumia 1520 also shouldn't need charging as often because its got a larger 3.400 mAH battery compared to the Galaxy Note's 3200 mAH battery. We'll have to wait till we get our hands on Nokia's phablet to compare it's real world performance because Windows Phone has never before driven such a powerful, large device. It should also be noted that you can remove the battery from the Note 3, but not on the unibody Lumia 1520.
Verdict: There is very little between the two devices in these categories, unless your planning to connect the phablet to your TV (in which case get the Note 3) or are very keen to have wireless charging (if so then get the Lumia 1520).
Nokia Lumia 1520 v Samsung Galaxy Note 3 – Price
The Nokia Lumia 1520 is the cheaper of the two devices and will be available for around £500 when it lands in the UK before the end of the year. Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 costs around £100 more and is already on sale in the UK.
Nokia Lumia 1520 v Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Our Verdict
The Nokia Lumia 1520 is a stunning handset in its own right and the Windows Phone 8 platform is simple-to-use, intuitive and better for business users (the smartphone comes with a free version of Microsoft Office). It's also got a better camera, is the first Windows device to have a quad-core processor and 1080p display, and is the cheaper device. However, we feel the 6 inch display is a touch on the large size and it's a little bit too heavy for our liking.
Samsung's Galaxy Note 3 is the lighter, thinner and smaller of the two devices and we feel that the 5.7 inch touch-screen is the perfect size. It's also more powerful, comes with Samsung's S-Pen interface and benefits from the vast array of applications available for the Android platform.
It's a close-call, but we still believe that the Galaxy Note 3 is the best phablet in the world right now.
- Related Reading: Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Review
- Related Reading: Nokia Lumia 1520 v Lumia 1320 - What are the differences?
By Simon Thomas on 30th October, 2013