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.

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