Nokia’s first ever full HD smartphone, the Lumia 1520, was announced for India in New Delhi today. The Lumia 1520 has a massive 6-inch display, which makes it the largest Windows Phone 8 device in the market and also puts in on the top of the Nokia line-up. With hardware that can match the best in the world, the Lumia 1520 will land smack in the middle of the phablet war in the Indian market. This includes Samsung’s most-recent Galaxy Note 3, the Xperia Z Ultra from Sony and the HTC One Max. Let’s have a closer look at the contenders.

The contenders

The contenders

Nokia Lumia 1520
When it comes to phablets the big focus is always on the display. With a large 6-inch 1080p display, the Lumia 1520 does not disappoint. Moreover, Nokia’s patented ClearBack display technology should deliver enhanced contrast and deeper blacks, which makes the Windows Phone UI pop. The hardware running this is quite beastly. The 1520 runs on a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 SoC and comes with 32GB of internal memory that can be further expanded up to 64GB via microSD cards. Like every other Lumia phone we have seen of late, the camera will be the key highlight of the 1520 as well, with Nokia throwing in every feature save the kitchen sink into the app. This one comes with a 20-megapixel PureView camera, with a reworked Nokia Camera app as well as a bunch of other apps such as Nokia Pro Camera, Nokia Refocus and all the other Nokia Lens goodies. The Lumia 1520 runs on the latest Windows Phone OS with the GDR3 update. This has added a third column to the Live Tiles home screen, allowing users to see and do more on the larger screen. One of the key points that the company focused on was the presence of four built-in microphones, for better audio capture in video recording.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3
We’ve already gone over the Note 3’s specs and performance in our review. You can have a look at the in-depth review here, but in respect to the Lumia 1520, the Note 3 has a smaller display, which immediately gives the Nokia phone a bit of advantage. But the Note 3’s trump card always has been the S-Pen that comes bundles with it. This year, Samsung has managed to add a lot more functionality to the S-Pen, without making it a cumbersome process. If a large smartphone display is mainly used by you to draw your ideas or make creative sketches, then the Note 3 has no competition. However, in terms of design and overall look, the Note 3 is notches lower than the Lumia 1520. The polycarbonate used on the Nokia phone looks more solid and less tacky (hello, faux leather!). The 1520 also has the advantage in terms of the camera, which should ideally deliver much better pictures than the 13-megapixel module in the Note 3. So Nokia looks to have outdone the Note 3 in a couple of aspects at least. The decisive factor here unfortunately is that Android has a lot more apps which let you make best use of the large display than Windows Phone. In addition, Samsung’s native customisations add a greater degree of multi-tasking in the Note 3 than the Lumia 1520 has. These factors work in the Note 3’s favour.

Sony Xperia Z Ultra
Sony’s massive phone has the largest display of the lot, but there are a bunch of distinct disadvantages here. For one, the camera on the Z Ultra is merely passable with not even an LED flash on the back. The call quality, as we found in our review, is not up to scratch either. But once again, the display dominates and tries to help you forget the Z Ultra’s drawbacks. If you are going to use a phone primarily as an entertainment device for media consumption, the Z Ultra is quite phenomenal. The 6.4-inch display is absolutely stunning, but aside from that it gets bested in nearly every department by this field. The chipset in the Z Ultra is the same as the Nokia Lumia 1520 and the LTE variant of the Note 3, so performance should be on par. The Z Ultra also has the honour of being the biggest smartphone of this bunch; at 7.06 inches tall, it’s as big as a small tablet. Having launched before any of these others, the Z Ultra has the lowest price tag in this contest.

HTC One Max
This is HTC’s latest take on the One design and the One Max looks every bit as good as the smaller flagship. The sleek contours, the polished surfaces and the solid build make the One Max the best looking phone of this lot. It’s the One’s glorious design taken to higher levels. The back sports a fingerprint sensor, unique among the contenders here and the HTC UltraPixel camera is great for low-light shooting. The 5.9-inch Super LCD3 with 1080p resolution is on par with the rest of the competition. HTC has used a slightly underpowered Snapdragon 600 SoC, which is still quite beefy for most Android tasks, but is one peg lower than the Snapdragon 800 on the others. The One Max’s strong points are terrific audio output, thanks to the BoomSound speakers, a future-proof connectivity suite of Wi-Fi ac, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC and GLONASS. But on the downside, this one is the most expensive of the lot, which automatically puts it at a disadvantage.

 

Nokia Lumia 1520

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Sony Xperia Z Ultra

HTC One Max

Display

6-inch

5.7-inch

6.4-inch

5.9-inch

Resolution

1080p

1080p

1080p

1080p

Pixel density (PPI)

367

386

344

373

Protection

Gorilla Glass 2

None

IP58 certified – dust and water proof, Shatter proof and scratch-resistant glass

Gorilla Glass 3

Dimensions

162.8 x 85.4 x 8.7 mm

151.2 x 79.2 x 8.3 mm

179.4 x 92.2 x 6.5 mm

164.5 x 82.5 x 10.3 mm

Weight

209 g

168 g

212 g

217 g

Chipset/ Processor/GPU

Qualcomm Snapdragon 800/ 2.2 GHz quad-core/ Adreno 330

Qualcomm Snapdragon 800/ 2.2 GHz quad-core/ Adreno 330
Exynos 5 Octa 5420/ Quad-core 1.9 GHz Cortex-A15 & quad-core 1.3 GHz Cortex-A7/ Mali-T628 MP6

Qualcomm Snapdragon 800/ 2.2 GHz quad-core/ Adreno 330

Qualcomm Snapdragon 600/ 1.7 GHz quad-core/ Adreno 320

RAM

2GB

3GB

2GB

2GB

OS

Windows Phone 8 (Nokia Black)

Android 4.3 Jelly Bean (with TouchWiz)

Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean (with Sony custom UI)

Android 4.3 Jelly Bean (with Sense UI)

Internal storage

32GB

16/32/64GB

16GB

16/32GB

Expandable storage

Yes, up to 64GB

Yes, up to 64GB

Yes, up to 64GB

Yes, up to 64GB

Battery 

3400 mAh

3200 mAh

3050 mAh

3300 mAh

GPS

Yes, with A-GPS support and GLONASS

Yes, with A-GPS support and GLONASS

Yes, with A-GPS support and GLONASS

Yes, with A-GPS support and GLONASS

Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band

Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band

Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band

Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac

Bluetooth

4.0

4.0

4.0

4.0

NFC

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Primary camera

20MP, OIS, 1/2.5'' sensor size, PureView technology, dual capture

13MP, Dual Shot, Simultaneous HD video and still recording, image stabilisation

8MP, image stabilization (stills and video), HDR video

4 MP (HTC UltraPixel) 1/3'' sensor size, 2µm pixel size, simultaneous video and still recording

Secondary camera

1.2MP

2MP

2MP

2.1MP

Flash

Dual LED

LED flash

No

LED flash

FM Radio

Yes

No

Stereo FM radio with RDS

Stereo FM radio with RDS

Special features

7GB free SkyDrive storage, Nokia Here suite, Nokia Pro Camera, Free access to Big Flix, Nokia Music

S-Pen, S-Pen apps, Multi-window, Auto-scrolling, Auto-pausing, Air View, Air Gestures

Water resistant over 1 meter, Triluminos display, free Sony music and movies

Fingerprint sensor, HTC BlinkFeed, free Google Drive 50GB storage, BoomSound dual front speakers

Price

Rs 46,999

Rs 47,900

Rs 43,990

Rs 56,490

The bottom line
The One Max’s high price and the relatively underpowered chipset make it the least attractive option of the lot. And the Xperia Z Ultra’s weak camera specs as well as some crucial flaws put it out of the running. So it’s down to the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, which is arguably the Lumia 1520’s biggest competition. With the clever use of the S-Pen feature, Samsung has actually made the stylus useful again, but for Nokia the advantage is in the camera department, where the 20-megapixel shooter looks to have the edge over Samsung’s camera. However, when it comes to actually using the phones to do more than just multimedia consumption and casual browsing, the Note 3 wins hands down thanks to the large selection of Android apps, to actually do something productive with the phone. Don’t get us wrong; the Lumia 1520 sounds and looks absolutely like a Note-killer, but it’s the sparse Windows Phone Store that might prove to be its downfall.

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