Nokia Lumia 1520 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs HTC One Max vs Sony Xperia Z Ultra: Which Phablet to Buy?

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By Rohit KVN | December 21, 2013 6:56 PM EST

Earlier in the week, Nokia launched the company's biggest and most powerful handset Lumia 1520 in India.

Though Nokia is slightly late to the phablet business arena, Lumia 1520's feature-rich specifications as well as refreshing updated Windows Phone 8 OS are certain to sway some first-time phablet buyers who are looking for a competent alternative to Android powered phablets such as Samsung Galaxy Note 3, Sony's water-proof Xperia Z Ultra, and the new HTC One Max which boasts a finger-print sensor.

Here is brief description of stand-out features of the phablets:

Display and Design:

First, the new Nokia Lumia 1520 ships with tough polycarbonate body and sports a mammoth 6.0-inch full HD (1920x1080p) AMOLED display with pixel density of 368 ppi (pixels per inch).

Like all Samsung devices, Galaxy Note 3 comes with a plastic body, but this time company has introduced faux leather stitching on the rear-side to give the phablet a premium look, but it failed to impress many tech critics. However, don't let the lack-luster back-cover cloud your judgment on display quality as many global reviewers and fans (who already own Galaxy Note 3) alike are very much impressed with the bright  and sharp 'Super AMOLED' Full HD (1920x1080p) display (5.6-inch) with pixel density of 386ppi.

HTC One Max sports a premium metal-clad curvaceous smooth shell on the back side like we seen in its flagship sibling HTC One and flaunts a 5.9-inch super LCD 3 full HD display with pixel density of 373 ppi.

On the other hand, Xperia Z Ultra is the biggest among the rival. Some feel it is too big to handle, but Sony compensates the drawback by making it thin and light. Xperia Z Ultra is just 6.5-mm thick and weighs just 212 g making it the slimmest full HD phablet in the market. It features Triluminos TFT LCD screen boasting X-Reality for Mobile display technology and BRAVIA Engine 2 and also comes with shatter proof sheet along with scratch-resistant glass shield.

Processor, RAM and Storage:

Nokia's Lumia 1520 and Sony Xperia Z Ultra boasts same chipset - 2.2GHz Snapdragon 800 series quad-core processor and also feature 2GB RAM and expandable memory (up to 64GB).

Samsung's Galaxy Note 3 in India ships with company's proprietary Exynos 5420 Octa-core chipset (containing two quad-cores - 1.9GHz Cortex and 1.3GHz Cortex A7), unlike developed ones which boasts of Snapdragon 800 series processor. It houses 32GB inbuilt storage with expansion up to 64GB and 3GB RAM, highest among any contemporary handsets in the market.

Whereas HTC One Max features a generation old Snapdragon 600 series quad-core processor with top CPU speed of 1.7GHz. It is supported by sumptuous 2GB RAM and 16GB memory.

Camera:

Like all its high-end Lumia predecessors, Lumia 1520 also boasts feature-rich camera. It flaunts 20.0-megapixel main camera with 6-element lens (Carl Zeiss optics), OIS (Optical Image Stabilization), Dual-LED flash, Nokia Camera applications and on the front side, it houses a 1.2-megapixel wide-angle HD camera with f/2.4 aperture.

Galaxy Note 3 is no less of a competitor, it also boasts good 13.0-megapixel camera with BSI sensor, auto-focus, LED flash (High CRI), full HD recording at 60fps and houses 2.0-megapixel camera with BSI sensor and full HD 1080p video recording.

[Trivia: Galaxy Note 3 LTE variant boasts UHD -4K resolutions (3840x2160p) video recording at 30 fps speed]

HTC One Max features 2.0-Ultrapixel main camera (equivalent to 4.0-megapixel), 2.1-megapixel camera front-facing camera, same features as seen inside its sibling HTC One.

Unlike its top-end Xperia siblings, Sony Xperia Z Ultra's camera specifications is bit stripped down. It features 8.0-megapixel camera with Exmor RS lens technology and 16X digital zoom, full HD video recording and a 2.0-megapixel front-facing camera (can record full HD video as well).

Operating System:

Apart from Nokia Lumia 1520, all the three- Samsung Galaxy Note 3, HTC One Max and Sony Xperia Z Ultra run on Android platform (under different Jelly Bean versions). They are also expected to get the new KitKat OS update early next year.

Key features of KitKat include smarter caller ID, more organised message grouping Hangouts (all text, audio and video messages can be found under one-roof ), quick access to settings, wireless printing (compatible with select HP printers), Quickoffice word document app, Bluetooth MAP (Message Access Profile) and many more.

Whereas, Lumia 1520 ships with upgraded window Phone 8 aka Lumia Black and is expected to be compatible for the new firmware Windows Blue aka Window Phone 8.1 which is rumoured to bring in 3D gesture control as well as voice-search command features (like Apple iOS Siri and Google Now).

Price:

Nokia has priced Lumia 1520 at ₹46,999 (MRP), whereas Samsung Galaxy Note 3 has seen major price-cuts since its launch (₹49,990) in September, and right now its price is hovering around ₹44,500. Sony's Xperia Z Ultra costs around ₹42,000, while HTC One Max is the most costly phablet among the rivals. It costs around ₹53,500.

[Note: buyers do not miss out on checking with online retailers and the nearby local brick-and-mortar stores as they are bound to offer discounts (or gift vouchers) on occasion of Christmas holiday season]

Verdict:

Nokia Lumia 1520:

Pros: Good build quality (tough polycarbonate material), top-notch camera specifications

Cons: Though Windows Phone offers refreshing interface, it lacks major applications and games in the ecosystem

Samsung Galaxy Note:

Pros: One of the best display among the big-screen smartphones, good-camera and Stylus functionalities

Cons: Faux leather stitching fails to give the phablet a premium look. [People just have to buy a third party flip-cover]

 HTC One Max:

Pros: metal-clad shell gives HTC One Max a premium look and Finger-print sensor certainly gives un-paralled technological edge over the rival phablets. [Trivia: Apple iPhone 5S is first smartphone in the industry to feature this biometric technology]

Cons: Too expensive for a phablet featuring an old Snapdragon 600 series chipset and sub-par camera specifications.

Sony Xperia Z Ultra:

Pros: Good build quality with dust-proof and water-resistant IP55/IP58 certifications enabling people to take videos and photos under water (5-feet deep for 30 minutes) and one of the slimmest phablet in the market, it measures just 6.5 mm thick.

Cons: With 6.44-inch display, some people may find too big to handle and specifications wise, Sony Xperia Z Ultra's camera features are trivial compared to the rivals and its own Xperia line of smartphones.

Models

Nokia Lumia 1520

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

HTC One Max

Sony Xperia Z Ultra

Display

6.0-inch full HD (1920x1080p) AMOLED display with pixel density of 368 ppi (pixels per inch); comes with Corning Gorilla Glass 2 protection

5.7-inch (5.68-inch) Super AMOLED Full HD (1920x1080p) display with pixel density of 386ppi (pixels per inch); comes with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 shield

5.9-inch full HD (1920x1080p) super LCD 3 screen with pixel density of 373 ppi (pixels per inch)

6.44-inch Full HD Triluminos TFT LCD screen boasting X-Reality for Mobile display technology and BRAVIA Engine 2; also comes with shatter proof sheet along with scratch-resistant glass shield.

Resolution: 1920x1080p

pixel density: 342 ppi (pixels per inch)

OS

Updated Windows Phone 8 version -Lumia Black

Android v4.3 Jelly Bean OS

Android v4.3 Jelly Bean OS with Sense v5.5 UI

Android v4.2 Jelly Bean OS

Processor

Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 series quad-core processor with CPU speed of 2.2GHz

Exynos 5420 Octa-core processor with two quad-core processors-one A15 with 1.9GHz and another A7 with 1.3GHz CPU speed.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 series quad-core processor with 1.7GHz CPU speed

Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 series quad-core processor with 2.2GHz (chipset type: MSM8974)

GPU

Adreno 330

Mali-T628 MP6

Adreno 320

Adreno 330 graphics engine

RAM

2GB

3GB

2GB

2GB

Storage Capacity

32GB, expandable up to 64GB

32GB, memory can be further expandable up to 64GB

16GB/32GB, expandable up to 64GB

16GB, expandable up to 64 GB via microSD card

Camera


Main: 20.0-megapixel camera with 6-lens Carl Zeiss optics, OIS (Optical Image Stabilization), Dual-LED flash, Nokia Camera applications and more

Front: 1.2-megapixel wide-angle HD camera with f/2.4 aperture

Main: 13.0-megapixel camera with BSI sensor, auto-focus, LED flash (High CRI), UHD -4K resolutions (3840x2160p) at 30 fps, full HD recording at 60fps

Front: 2.0-megapixel camera with BSI sensor, full HD 1080p video recording

Main: 2.0 UltraPixel (equivalent to 4.0-MP) camera with BSI sensor, dedicated HTC ImageChip 2, f/2.0 aperture, 28 mm lens, full HD video recording

Front:2.1-megapixel camera with wide-angle (88-degree) lens having HDR capability full HD video recording

Main: 8.0-megapixel camera with Exmor RS lens technology and 16X digital zoom, full HD video recording

Front: 2.0-megapixel camera  (can record full HD video)

Network

3G

3G

3G

3G

Battery

3400 mAh (non-removable);

Talk time: up to 27.4 hours (2G) & 25.1 hours (3G)

Standby time: close to 32 days

3200 mAh (removable);

Talk time: up to 21 hours

Standby time: close to 420 hours

3300 mAh (non-removable);

Talk time: up to 25 hours

Standby time: close to 585 hours

3050 mAh (non-removable);

Talk time: up to 16 hours;

Standby mode: up to 820 hours;

Add-ons

Wireless charging capability, Bluetooth v4.0 with A2DP, Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac), NFC, micro-USB v2.0, A-GPS, GLONASS, microSD card slot, 

S-Pen functionality, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n (HT80),Bluetooth v4.0 (LE), IR LED (Remote control), MHL v2.0,GPS/GLONASS, NFC

Finger-print sensor, Micro-SIM, Dual frontal HTC Boom stereo speakers, NFC, Bluetooth v4.0 with aptX enabled, Wi-Fi (802.11 a/ac/b/g/n), Internal GPS antenna + GLONASS,  micro-USB v2.0, microSD card slot

Dust-proof and Water-resistant IP55/IP58 certifications, NFC, Bluetooth, v4.0,A-GPS,Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi hotspot, micro-USB v2.0, MHL support

Dimensions

168.0 x 85.4 x 8.7 mm   

151.2 x 79.2 x 8.3 mm

164.5 x 82.5 x 10.29 mm

179.0 x 92.0 x 6.5 mm

Weight

209 g

168 g

217 g

212 g

Price [MRP]

₹46,999/-

₹49,900/-

₹53,909

 MRP ₹43,990/- (online stores: 42,000)

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