Well, technically speaking, it’s more like a battle of cameras and specs, since both phones seem to cost around the same, more exactly $520-530 carrier-free. Nokia’s Lumia 1020 and Lumia 1520 are then, medium-budget phones. What do they bring to the table? Which one is worth picking up? How to they handle the competition? That’s what we’re here to find out.
Nokia Lumia 1020
The Lumia 1020 is the slightly older model. It’s known to be a camera with a phone, not the other way around. If you take a look at the specs below, you should know that the 41 MP Camera is not a typo. No, it’s not 4.1 MP, it’s actually 41. The Nokia Lumia 1020 is a beast in terms of mobile-phone photography, and the only reasonable competitor to date is the Sony Xperia Z1 or Z2. Other than that, the Nokia Lumia 1020’s camera pretty much trumps everything.
That being said, there are drawbacks to the Nokia Lumia 1020. First of all, battery life is poor. Due to a small battery and a camera that soaks up energy like a sponge, the Nokia Lumia 1020 is not exactly the most durable phone when it comes to how long it can last without charging. The display isn’t great either, coming with a low resolution for how wide it really is. It’s not unusable or terrible, but we’d expect more in the price-range. The worst part about it is the lack of microSD support and limited storage space, which somehow renders the epic camera useless.
Hardware-wise, the Nokia Lumia 1020 is mediocre at best. The CPU leaves something to be desired, although the 2 GB of RAM are a nice touch. The design is typical Nokia, with decent enough build-quality but a lack of appeal. It comes with Windows 8.1 Mobile, which is not bad at all, but not everyone is into windows, and the limited amount of apps available make it a less than desireable OS. Overall, we’d only recommend getting the Nokia if you’re really into photography, as the phone excels in that regard.
- CPU – Dual-core 1.5 GHz Krait / Qualcomm MSM8960 Snapdragon
- GPU – Adreno 225
- DISPLAY – Corning Gorilla Glass 3, 768 x 1280 pixels, 4.5 inches (~332 ppi pixel density) with AMOLED capacitive touchscreen
- MEMORY – 32 GB, 2 GB RAM / 64 GB, No card slot
- BATTERY – Non-removable Li-Ion 2000 mAh battery (BV-5XW)
- CAMERA – Primary camera 41 MP (38 MP effective, 7152 x 5368 pixels), Carl Zeiss optics, optical image stabilization, auto/manual focus, Xenon & LED flash; Secondary camera 1.2 MP, 720p@30fps
- VIDEO – 1080p@30fps, 4x lossless digital zoom and video light
- BODY – 130.4 x 71.4 x 10.4 mm, 96.9 cc (5.13 x 2.81 x 0.41 in)
- WEIGHT – 158 g (5.57 oz)
- WIRELESS – Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, dual-band, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot
Nokia Lumia 1520
The new Nokia Lumia 1520 is an entirely different matter altogether. This is actually a really good phone, or rather phablet. The Nokia Lumia 1520 brings a 6 inch screen to the table, with a full HD resolution and much better visual quality. Hardware is also top-of-the line for a change (let’s face it, Nokia hasn’t gotten us used to really powerful phones so far), with a powerful Snapdragon Quad-Core 2.2 GHz CPU and 2 GB of RAM. Storage options are much more generous, and battery life is about 40% better, which is considerable.
If you think this comes at the cost of the great camera, you’d be surprised. Yes, on paper at least, the Lumia 1020 has a better camera, but in reality, the two are pretty much equal. Because of the larger display, it’s so much easier to take quality shots with the Lumia 1520. There are no distinguishable characteristics between the two phones when it comes to photography, but overall, the 1520 proves easier to use. Solid build-quality completes an already great phone, and we really can’t hold anything against the Nokia Lumia 1520. This time, Nokia got it right!
- CPU – Quad-core 2.2 GHz Krait 400 / Qualcomm MSM8974 Snapdragon 800
- GPU – Adreno 330
- DISPLAY – Corning Gorilla Glass 2, 1080 x 1920 pixels, 6.0 inches (~367 ppi pixel density) with IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen
- MEMORY – microSD, up to 64 GB, internal card 16 GB (RM-940 only)/32 GB, 2 GB RAM
- BATTERY – Non-removable Li-Ion 3400 mAh battery (BV-4BW)
- CAMERA – Primary camera 20 MP, 4992 х 3744 pixels, Carl Zeiss optics, optical image stabilization, autofocus, dual-LED flash; Secondary camera 1.2 MP, 720p@30fps
- VIDEO – 1080p@30fps, video light, stereo sound rec.
- BODY – 162.8 x 85.4 x 8.7 mm, 120.3 cc (6.41 x 3.36 x 0.34 in)
- WEIGHT – 209 g (7.37 oz)
- WIRELESS – Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi hotspot
At this point, there’s no real question about which one to pick up. The Nokia Lumia 1520 trumps the 1020 easily, in almost all aspects. The only downside of the Lumia 1520 is its size, a size that may not be appealing to everyone. In truth, it’s a really large phone that’s hard to hold and hard to store. But if bigger is better, don’t even blink. With powerful hardware, a good display and an incredible camera, the Lumia 1520 is the phone to pick from the two, and with a price-tag of around $530, the Lumia 1520 actually can provide worthy competition to more popular phones.