Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs Nokia Lumia 1520: first look

Peering into the phablet market, there’s a one constant that seems to take precedence each and every time. It should be no surprise to anyone that Samsung’s Galaxy Note line continues to be the class-leader in the space – and it looks to stay like that with the Samsung Galaxy Note 4. In the Android space, it’s clearly the phone to beat, but it still has competition from the Windows Phone side. To be more exact, not only is the Nokia Lumia 1520 deemed as a phablet worthy enough to give any Android smartphone a good run for its money, but it’s arguably the best phone representing Microsoft’s platform.


Even though Samsung is able to sprinkle a subtle premium element to the Note 4’s design, our eyes can’t get away from the Lumia 1520’s stylish design – more so when it’s available in a palette of colors. Sure, they’re both constructed primarily out of plastic, but Nokia Lumia 1520’s plastic build has a more solid feel to it. Throw in the Lumia 1520’s tapered edges, there’s no arguing that there’s a higher degree of style to Nokia’s offering. In contrast, though, the Galaxy Note 4 opts to favor a more sophisticated look.

Certainly, there’s little hiding the fact that these two are regarded as phablets, due to their immense sizes of course. However, our hands are better able to cope with the slimmer confines of the Galaxy Note 4 – thanks in part to Samsung’s engineering in shaving off more of the bezel surrounding the display. Handling both phones require two hands for a more comfortable feel, but we’re still better able to handle the Note 4 more than the Lumia 1520. Nokia’s offering is seriously a beast of a phone – both in size and weight.


Without going into the details regarding the specs of their displays, our own two eyes are able to tell us which of the two displays is the superior one. Frankly, it’s one-sided victory for the Galaxy Note 4’s 5.7-inch 1440 x 2560 Super AMOLED display, seeing that it produces the sharper looking details. Looking back, the Lumia 1520 is notable for being the first Windows Phone to feature a 1080p resolution display, which is paired with a 6-inch screen. From a normal viewing distance, it’s still effective enough to match the sharpness and clarity of its rival’s display, but upon closer inspection, there’s no denying the crisper looks of the Note 4’s display. Furthermore, we can attest from the short time handling the Note 4, that its display is noticeably brighter – giving it more visibility under various lighting conditions.

In the end, considering that the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is the newer device, it benefits from having the more prized and attractive display. In fact, it’s looking like it’s going to beat the Lumia 1520’s display in nearly every category.

Interface and Functionality

Sporting the latest Samsung TouchWiz experience, we’ll gladly be honest and mention that the customized Android experience of the Note 4 is still a step up from the Windows Phone 8.1 experience of the Lumia 1520. Microsoft has made considerable strides with its latest software experience, but at the end of the day, when it comes to getting stuff done, the Note 4 is equipped with a ton of software features that make it conducive to the needs of productivity conscious users. Heck, the Note 4’s multi-window mode is enough to blast the multi-tasking execution of the Lumia 1520’s offering.

Visually, though, we’re more favorable to the Windows Phone 8.1 experience of the Lumia 1520 – primarily for its modern looks and dynamic feel. In comparison, TouchWiz continues to look very much cartoony, so it’s long overdue for a major redesign to match the contemporary looks of Windows Phone 8.1.

Processor and Memory

Outfitted with Qualcomm’s newest chipset, a Snapdragon 805 SoC coupled with 2GB of RAM, we notice that the Note 4 exhibits a slightly more fluid response – albeit, the Lumia 1520’s Snapdragon 800 is still powerful enough to handle similar tasks. Despite packing hardware deemed as last-gen, the Lumia 1520 is still a highly effective phone for gaming. On the flip side, we surely know that the Note 4 is more than equipped to handle the most demanding things. Games included!

We really can’t complain about their storage capacities, as they both offer a spacious 32GB, which can be supplemented by their microSD card slots. However, since the Lumia 1520’s slot requires a special tool to access, we find the Note 4’s slot to be more accessible.


Shutterbugs might want to listen up, that’s because these are two formidable photo-taking devices. Don’t count out the almost year-old Lumia 1520, as it continues to be a trailblazer with the impressive quality put out by its 20-megapixel PureView camera, which is arguably one of the best in the category. Well, the Note 4 packs some heat of its own in the form of its updated 16-megapixel camera, one that is now greeted with optical image stabilization – a feature that’s also available on the Lumia 1520. In the past, we’ve been astounded by the sheer amount of details captured by the Lumia 1520’s camera, but it’ll be interesting to see how the Note 4 is able to compare.


Competition is in abundance everywhere we look, so it’s no surprise that these two prized smartphones are on a crash course collision towards one another. Thanks to availability of Windows Phone 8.1, the Nokia Lumia 1520 can now match the Android’s diversified portfolio of software features – albeit, the Note 4 receives some additional enhancements to give it yet more functionality than its rival. At the same time, the Galaxy Note 4 as a whole has all of the bells and whistles to make it every bit of a flagship device. There’s no arguing the popularity surrounding Sammy’s Note line, but we can’t neglect the Nokia Lumia 1520’s impressive tally as well.

Related phones

Galaxy Note 4
  • Display 5.7" 1440 x 2560 pixels
  • Camera 16 MP / 3.7 MP front
  • Processor Samsung Exynos 7 Octa, Octa-core, 1900 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3220 mAh(20h 3G talk time)
Lumia 1520
  • Display 6.0" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 20 MP / 1.2 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, Quad-core, 2200 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3400 mAh(25.1h 3G talk time)



1. Zack_2014

Posts: 677; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

@John V Is there any specific reason as to why the USB 3.0 is removed? Or its just a marketing strategy for the next Note 5.

28. rd_nest

Posts: 1656; Member since: Jun 06, 2010

Probable reasons: It used to interfere with the radio communication. Larger connector. Fast charging is already taken care of and for better transfer rates you can easily do it through Airdroid or ES File Explorer

51. Daniel.95

Posts: 89; Member since: Sep 20, 2012

Note Edge sucks.

2. T.Law

Posts: 423; Member since: May 10, 2014

Is this a joke?! The Note4 is light-years ahead that lumia.

3. fouadqr

Posts: 326; Member since: Nov 21, 2012

I think ur comment is the real joke .. Lumia 1520 is one of the best

31. bigdawg23

Posts: 467; Member since: May 25, 2011

How is the 1520 one of the best? The WP OS has limitations. Before people call me a Android Troll, I own the Note 3 and Lumia 1020. Two main reasons I went back to the Note 3 are App Selection and Function with WP and second, the closed OS and not allowing a person to attach multiple documents like PDF, XLS and DOC. Only allow people to use Photos and Videos creates issue. I have a iPhone 5 as my personal phone, which has the same attachment but the APP selection and Function is way ahead of WP.

42. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

You can actually. I suspect you just didn't try hard enough. While I agree while in email app you should be able to add more than just photos etc through the attachment thing. But the easy way is to simply open up onedrive (where you stuff should be anyways), use the multiple select and bam you can send multiple files in one shot, word, excel, pp, photo, video etc, can either send link, or actual files (link is preferred imo). While clumsy, it can be done, it is not a limitation of the OS more so just a 'limitation' of the stock email app attachment system.

4. NokiaFTW

Posts: 2072; Member since: Oct 24, 2012

That's a little exaggerated don't you think?

5. gazmatic

Posts: 822; Member since: Sep 06, 2012

Light years is a measure of distance. It's newer. That's for sure. This comparison is a joke though

9. Deaconclgi

Posts: 405; Member since: Nov 03, 2012

Why is the comparison a joke? He compare actual hardware between the two. Be sure to call all other comparisons of devices with similar hardware but with your favorite OS a joke as well. I'll check the other comparison posts to see if you are there saying the same thing. I'll wait for you, otherwise there is nothing but bias in the comment about the comparison being a joke.

24. ManusImperceptus

Posts: 724; Member since: Jun 10, 2014

The comparison is a joke because 1: He hands the Note 4 the size victory, despite the 1520 having a much larger display. 2: He hands the Note 4 the brightness victory, despite the 1520 obviously being auto-dimmed to reflect the surrounding illumination. 3: He hands the clarity victory to the Note 4, possibly deservedly, but without bringing them outdoors, where the Lumia traditionally shines (beats the crap out of the GS5 in direct sunlight)... All in all a very unconvincing comparison, perhaps to be expected considering the short availability of the Note 4.

30. tech2

Posts: 3487; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

'but without bringing them outdoors, where the Lumia traditionally shines (beats the crap out of the GS5 in direct sunlight)..' LOL....stop spreading lies boy. Watch this video before talking non sense: When it comes to Amoled no one does it better then Samsung. Period.

36. hemedans

Posts: 761; Member since: Jun 01, 2013

why is your video has so many dislike? watch here lumia 1520 sunlight test nothing beat clear black display when it come to sunlight readability

44. tech2

Posts: 3487; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

1. The dislikes are mostly because he didn't set the same wallpaper. 2.Inspite of that if you watch the entire video you'll see how it doesn't matter as the difference is so huge. 3. In your link the person is not holding the phone exactly at the sun so. More importantly its not a comparison between GS5 so that is completely invalid anyways. Also, when he tries at 5:22 he confirms 'reflection would make problems in reading'. 3. My video still has more likes and views then your video. 4. on GSMarena Lumia 1520 scored 1.813 vs 3.5 of GS5 in sunlight contrast ratio. So yeah 'Clear Black' technology easily got pawned here too. As GS5 is almost twice better in sunlight then L1520 not to mention its much more brighter and produces accurate screen. It has higher PPI and GG3.

46. ManusImperceptus

Posts: 724; Member since: Jun 10, 2014

I'm 41. Judging by your usual posts in these articles I'd guess you to be 17 or an immature 20 something; I'd keep that 'boy'-stuff under lids if I was you...! "Non sense"? Nonsense is one word; splitting it up is nonsense, that's for sure. I own a 1520 and my brother owns a GS5; my 1520 is actually viewable in angled sunlight, unlike his GS5. I talk from experience, not from random bids on the internet. But then again, this is not the first time you reference half-baked reviews. I'd recommend you to grow a bit of critical sense; it'll serve you well in the long run...

48. tech2

Posts: 3487; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

Seriously !? Now since you don't have an actual point to counter me you are going on age ? News flash buddy I am not 17 and even if I was that has nothing to do with what I write. It doesn't make your over-the-top claims more relevant. Also, I own a GS5 and Moto G. You are more then welcome to check my previous comments to validate that. Although that is irrelevant too. Lastly, you are clearly suffering from denial syndrome (aka blind fanboy) who turns blind-eye to whatever isn't in his favour. If you find the review 'half-baked' mention the reason why do you feel that way instead of raising irrelevant points like age. smh PS: Don't bother replying unless you actually have a 'critical sense' as to why you think that video is 'half-baked. I'll be more then happy to argue on the base of facts.

52. marcski07

Posts: 600; Member since: Apr 25, 2014

what are you talking about? i dunno about L1520, but my n9 doesn't give me a problem on direct sunlight. I can browse, read, play games.

53. marcski07

Posts: 600; Member since: Apr 25, 2014

clearblack is awesome dude, they don't nid super bright display to be able to display under direct sunlight. you should try it and see it yourself

34. Deaconclgi

Posts: 405; Member since: Nov 03, 2012

Thank you for your reply.

6. akki20892

Posts: 3902; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

Dude......there is a best android phone till now and there is a best windows phone till now.

7. Deaconclgi

Posts: 405; Member since: Nov 03, 2012

What constitutes light years ahead? Serious question as this article clearly compared certain aspects of each device and I don't see a light-year of difference in either of them beyond the better screen and processor in the Note 4. How is it a joke when the facts are stated? "That lumia" is as good as it has been stated in this article and many more. The Note 4 is as good as been stated as well, from the limited hands on. This is a simple comparison, no room for sensational fanboyism. There isn't any jokes in this article.

18. gazmatic

Posts: 822; Member since: Sep 06, 2012

Dude. Open an English dictionary. Light years is a measure of distance. It cannot be used here. It's like saying the galaxy note is five kilometers ahead of the Lumia. It makes no sense. The galaxy note is brand new. That's what's different. The only reason this comparison is valid is because there are only two windows phone phablets. Can't compare this with a Lumia 1320 now can we? I'm just saying that the galaxy note is newer. I would take it in a WP version though. Long rant short. You can't use light years.

26. T.Law

Posts: 423; Member since: May 10, 2014

Light years ahead Definition Technologically advanced. Clearly better than the rest. (light years) INFORMAL A long distance or great amount: the new range puts them light years ahead of the competition Idiom Definitions for 'Light years ahead' If you are light years ahead of others, you are a long way in front of them in terms of development, success, etc. Either you're not a native speaker or you're a poor reader.

14. Dastrix unregistered

LOL do you even know what light years is?

16. bbblader

Posts: 590; Member since: Oct 24, 2011

It's a measurement. That's why we use it here. For device A is far(light years) ahead of device B

17. T.Law

Posts: 423; Member since: May 10, 2014

I can see I did hurt the feelings of a whole bunch of WP Fanboys. And yeah, the Note 4 is light-years ahead of the L1520. Deal with it!

19. gazmatic

Posts: 822; Member since: Sep 06, 2012

You're just making yourself look stupid on the internet dummy. Light year -noun 1. Astron. the distance traversed by light in one mean solar year, about 5.88 trillion mi. (9.46 trillion km): used as a unit in measuring stellar distances. Abbr.: lt-yr 2. light-years, (a) a very great distance (b) a very long time: It's been light-years since I've seen my childhood friends. Light years are only applicable when talking about distance and time. Idiot

23. T.Law

Posts: 423; Member since: May 10, 2014

Perhaps you're too dumb to get it. May I recommend you Vaseline?

33. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

Vaseline? I take it you use it quite regularly. No he is stating the difference between the two devices while one is newer yes, is not 'light years'. Light years would be a 1995 PDA to the Note 4. That is light years.

41. SemperFiV12

Posts: 949; Member since: Nov 09, 2010

lol, that was funny.

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