Introduction


Cheap is the new expensive. Crazy to believe it, but it’s true as we uncover some of the recent devices to enter the market. For the longest of time now, high-end smartphones tend to fall within that golden price point of $200 with a 2-year contract. In this day and age, two companies come to mind in recent memory that have been known to push the boundaries with smartphone pricing – Google and Nokia. With the former, they’ve established their presence in the outright/off-contract realm with last year’s Google Nexus 4, which wowed many for its unprecedented $300 no frills costs. Meanwhile, it might be harder to remember, but Nokia has also been an aggressive company as well – evidenced by last year’s $100 on-contract Nokia Lumia 920.

Currently, they both have newcomers in the space this holiday season that continue the trend. It’s the battle of the affordables: The Nokia Lumia 1520 versus the Google Nexus 5. Not only do they entice consumers with their hard-to-resist pricing, but they’re stuffed with all of the gear befitting of any high-end device. Which one will prove to give consumers the most bang for the buck?

Design


This one is an easy call, mainly because the Google Nexus 5 has a modest approach with its design – to the point that it can be argued that it’s a bit on the conventional side. Bearing that in mind, it’s the reason why we prefer the design of the Lumia 1520. For starters, its tapered design lends to give it a very stylish edge, while the availability of color options is an added benefit for consumers who are looking for variety. And even though they’re constructed out of the plastic, there’s more sturdiness with the unibody construction of Nokia’s phablet.

Needless to say, there’s a considerable size disparity between these two, as the Lumia 1520 easily dwarfs the Nexus 5. Holding the two, it’s evident that our hands prefer the more comforting confines of the Nexus 5, seeing that we don’t need to stretch them as much in order to properly grasp. In contrast, the wide figure, heavier weight, and pointy corners don’t make the Lumia 1520 the most comfortable smartphone to hold.

Checking out the set of physical buttons on each device, their power and volume controls, we prefer the set on the Nexus 5 because they’re slightly raised, ensuring that they’re easier to feel out – while also exhibiting the springier response. Also, it’s worth pointing out that the LED notification light below the Nexus 5’s display is an appreciated addition. Around their trims, they pack along nearly all the same set of ports – like their 3.5mm headset jacks, various microphones, microUSB ports for charging/data connectivity, and speaker grills.

Flipping to the rear of both smartphones, it’s plainly obvious that the Lumia 1520 means business with its camera – a hump protruding out from the surrounding area. Within that hump lies a monster sized 20-megapixel PureView camera, which features a large sensor than its rival, a Zeiss lens with an aperture of f2.4, optical image stabilization, BSI, dual-LED flash, and 1080p video recording at 24, 25, and 30 FPS. Although it’s outmuscled on paper, the 8-megapixel snapper of the Nexus 5 bears many of the same elements – like its f2.4 aperture lens, OSI, and BSI sensor. For those curious about their front-facing cameras, it’s a 1.2-megapixel one in the Lumia 1520, and a larger 1.3-megapixel one in the Nexus 5.


Nokia Lumia 1520

Nokia Lumia 1520

Dimensions

6.41 x 3.36 x 0.34 inches

162.8 x 85.4 x 8.7 mm

Weight

7.37 oz (209 g)

Google Nexus 5

Google Nexus 5

Dimensions

5.43 x 2.72 x 0.34 inches

137.84 x 69.17 x 8.59 mm

Weight

4.59 oz (130 g)

Nokia Lumia 1520

Nokia Lumia 1520

Dimensions

6.41 x 3.36 x 0.34 inches

162.8 x 85.4 x 8.7 mm

Weight

7.37 oz (209 g)

Google Nexus 5

Google Nexus 5

Dimensions

5.43 x 2.72 x 0.34 inches

137.84 x 69.17 x 8.59 mm

Weight

4.59 oz (130 g)

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page



Display


Let’s get the details out of the way. Both employ IPS-LCD technology with their displays, which means that they offer great outdoor visibility – though, colors tend to be warmer with the Nexus 5, and colder with the Lumia 1520. At first glance, their viewing angles seem to be on par with one another, but we notice just a little bit of hazy distortion going on with the Nexus 5 at wider angles. It’s not a problem, since most people will hardly take notice of it.

In addition, they also feature 1080p resolution, which is something we come to expect with any high-end smartphone, but of course, seeing that their sizes are different, they compile different pixel density figures. Due to its smaller 5-inch display, the Nexus 5 coughs up the higher pixel density count of 445 ppi – a tally that trumps the 368 ppi count put out by the Lumia 1520’s larger 6-inch panel. Knowing that, Google’s offering wins on paper when it comes to detail superiority, but honestly, it’s almost hard to tell which of them is sharper from a normal viewing distance, producing similar level of sharpness and clarity.


Ultimately though, it’s simply a matter of preference – size specifically in this case. They’re sharp, detailed, colorful, and outstanding in almost every way, which are all the elements we’d want to find on any high-end display. Rather, it’s just their size that differentiates them greatly.

Nokia Lumia 1520 360-Degrees View




Google Nexus 5 360-Degrees View




FEATURED VIDEO

24 Comments

1. itsdeepak4u2000

Posts: 3718; Member since: Nov 03, 2012

Nice. Both are good, Nexus 5 is a future proof device while 1520 is of different taste and is a killer device. I'll chose 1520 for me. One question John: Why is the Call Quality in most of the phones are weak or not so impressive as per PA?

13. anirudhshirsat97

Posts: 408; Member since: May 24, 2011

Well come to think of it. Which phones have the best calling ability anyways PA? Answer me PA..this has been bugging me for a while now.

18. rodneyej1

Posts: 3576; Member since: Jul 06, 2013

The Lumia 1520 is better in every way❗ The 1520 has way more innovation..

24. taikucing unregistered

read comment #23 Nexus 5 is better in every way. Price/hardware ratio and the OS matter. No wonder WP sales in Asia keeps falling. My friends still love nokia, but the OS makes them away from buying Nokia. It's hard to do anything. Why the f**k do I need to sync just to copy a music file? I just plug it into PC and it acts like USB drive. And the most important thing is, I can transfer from android to android via WIFI at blazing fast megabytes speed.

14. LetsBeHonest

Posts: 1548; Member since: Jun 04, 2013

Yeah both are great, no doubt but since now I'm a little tight on money I'll go with nexus 5, it is a nice package for its price.

22. GeekMovement unregistered

I agree, seems like most phones are rated with subpar call quality on PA. They rated the Galaxy Note II to have excellent call quality so that was one of the reasons I purchased it.

25. PhillipCabral

Posts: 10; Member since: Nov 02, 2013

The reason the call quality is bad is our phone speakers don't have heavy enough magnets, now if they were to put a heavy magnet, chances are you wouldn't buy it because it would make the phone heavier; but in theory... better sound quality which is why phone speakers aren't anything like headphones. Im sure it also has to do with satellites and stuff I have no idea about. Hope I helped

2. bloodline

Posts: 706; Member since: Dec 01, 2011

lumia is a god dam brick

4. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

Lumia is a god damn phone as strong as a brick with a damn good design. There, I fixed it for you. You're welcome.

6. itsdeepak4u2000

Posts: 3718; Member since: Nov 03, 2012

Thanks for correcting him.

8. Shatter

Posts: 2036; Member since: May 29, 2013

Bricks are rather weak and heavy. Ever actually had some bricks to mess with? They are pretty easy to break.

11. akki20892

Posts: 3902; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

Go Lumia 1520.

3. shahulvm

Posts: 124; Member since: Apr 01, 2012

5" lumia would have been awesome....perfect fit, 6" is just too much to carry around without awkward looks at U

7. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

Those people who's looking at you with awkward faces are dummies. lol Smartphones are getting bigger and bigger, there's nothing so special about that. Btw, I agree with you, a 5 inch Lumia would have been awesome.

9. Shatter

Posts: 2036; Member since: May 29, 2013

I like how they used photoshopped images to make the 1520 bezels notlook massive. Real sizehttp://www.wpcentral.com/sites/wpcentral.com/files/styles/large/public/field/image/2013/11/Lumia_1520_Palm.jpg?itok=mH4jqOpk

5. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

Both are good phones, but I'd prefer the Lumia 1520.

10. Tuxedo

Posts: 356; Member since: Mar 19, 2013

Battery life seems dubius to me... seems like a 48% bigger battery on the Lumia yields 200% longer battery life. What gives? Either Nokia is doing some sweet magic on their side or Google is doing something craptastically wrong in the energy efficiency dept. Is the Nexus really that bad? And don't give me the "it is just an app launcher" excuse...

15. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

Windows devices with its light weight ui, and background manager that keeps things in check more efficiently, has outdone Droid OS imo for awhile in battery life, when compared with similar batteries.

16. Gemmol

Posts: 793; Member since: Nov 09, 2011

its the Windows os, droid pull more power, even though they use same chips, the Windows os do not pull as much power, this is the longest I went without charging my phone.....its been 2 days since I last charge my 1520, I am at 25 percent, I am wondering if I should charge it now or see if I can make it to 10 o clock tonight.....

19. rodneyej1

Posts: 3576; Member since: Jul 06, 2013

Its because WP is a very, very, very well developed, and optimized OS..

12. sniper1087

Posts: 537; Member since: Dec 31, 2011

They didn't mention charge times, while the nexus drains battery faster, it even charges faster than an iphone 5/5S. With 30 mins you can get a lot of charge.

17. Gemmol

Posts: 793; Member since: Nov 09, 2011

my Lumia tablet do that too, the 2520 it charge very fast, I have not charge my 1520 yet so I cannot say, its at 25 percent after using it for 2 days, this is probably the best battery ever

20. utg001 unregistered

that is a fact of smaller batteries, they do charge faster, but Lumia 1520 can charge up pretty fast too.

21. Ikechukwu

Posts: 262; Member since: Oct 03, 2011

1520 near flawless.

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