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A supersized face-off: The Nokia Lumia 1520 against the Galaxy Note 3 and Xperia Z Ultra

Announced today in Abu Dhabi at Nokia World 2013, the new Lumia 1520 is a step into the realms of the supersized smartphone. Make no mistake, it's a large phone, but it isn't the only supersized smartphone out there. Taking a tour of the booth, we've managed to snag a quick side-by-side comparison of the Lumia 1520 with a couple of the leading large phones from Sony and Samsung; the Xperia Z Ultra and the Galaxy Note 3. Suddenly, the Lumia doesn't seem quite so huge.

As you can see here, it sits in the middle of the three. A little taller than the Galaxy Note 3, but still somewhat dwarfed by the insanely large Xperia Z Ultra. All three have 1080p displays, but size only tells half the story. Of the three, the Lumia 1520 gives the best feeling in the hand. The gentle curves at the edges make a real difference on something this large. The Xperia Z Ultra is basically a giant rectangular slab, with straight edges that makes holding it much more uncomfortable.

The Note 3 doesn't suffer in this respect, but the textured back doesn't feel as sleek as the polycarbonate on the 1520. One thing all three do have in common; unless you have giant man hands you'll be using two hands to use all of them. All three are part of a demonstration on their respective displays, and how each fares in bright sunlight. It was pretty difficult to capture on camera – and the Z Ultra kept turning off – but the Lumia 1520 is a clear winner.

Also, just for kicks, the iPhone 5 is thrown in, and again the 1520 comes out on top in terms of outdoor visibility. It also shows just how large the Lumia 1520 is – or how small the iPhone is, if you want to look at it that way. That image is a couple of clicks below. Does this change any of your perceptions on the size of the new device?

Remember to check out our new Lumia 1520 forums!

Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

  • Niceeee.... And get that toy outta there lol @iPhone
  • Haha! Spot on!
  • And you people make fun of Apple fanboys? :/
  • Relax it's just a joke...
  • Just say it you are a fanboy :)
  • If anything I can be a Microsoft fanboy. I have a Lumia 920, I have a Surface Pro, and I'm a registered Windows Phone developer. So yeah. Your point?
  • umadbro?
  • This is my problem on any mobile device forum. People behave like kindergarten children playing cowboy and indian, only they replaced their sides with whatever device manufacturer or OS they picked.
    People need to understand that there are several good devices and mobile operating systems on the market, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.
    I mean sure, I have certain devices I like more than others. For example I've always been fond of Nokia and their great cameras, but I won't mock people who buy iPhones since they are usually a lot more pocketable, one-hand friendly and has an outstanding build-quality and well-integrated systems. Or Samsung with their thin designs and tailored software for each device. It's all whichever device and functions suit each person best, so people need to get those fanboy-sticks out of their butts.
  • And yes apple sucks :)
  • Meh, anyone who is a fan of anything in particular is a fanboy. There are only degrees.
  • Ahhh. I have a degree in blackberry fanboy and Windows phone fanboy.
  • That sony is just retarded... if I was in the market for a phablet the 1520 would definitely be the one to grab my atention, is miles ahead of the competition, especially with regards to design, camera, wireless charging, etc.
  • And especially with regards to applications.
  • 1520 is the WORST when it comes to software. It barely takes advantage of its huge screen - to the point where the OS will report that it's running on a 720p screen instead of 1080p. This is rather silly. I have played around with both Xperia Z Ultra and the Note 3, and I own a Lumia 920 that is running GDR3, and let me just tell you that this OS is not ready for the big screen. Ignoring note taking (let me just say that the inability to create notebooks in OneNote is ridiculous), there are many features where WP8 is lacking:
    Note 3 has side-by-side multitasking - not unlike the Windows 8 feature, and it's actually a very useful feature on a big screen.
    Both Note 3 and Xperia have onscreen apps - small utilities like a calculator or a notepad.
    Xperia Z Ultra has proper landscape support. And I'm not even talking about the advantages that Android has over Windows Phone - like intents, proper file APIs, and etc. What hurts me most about all this is that Windows RT actually has all these features, and if Lumia 1520 ran that instead of Windows Phone, I'd buy it on day 1, but right now I'm not really interested.
  • Cool story bro.
  • I have no words.
  • Do you even lift Lumia bro?
  • Lmao.
  • I won't just disregard your comment. Given that the 2520 runs RT with the same processor it would be interesting if they offered it on the 1520...I'm not sure how that might affect other aspects of a "phone" that I prefer in WP over RT, though, e.g., making calls, battery life. Well, that's all that I can think of so sounds like a good idea. I think RT and WP are merging together in the next 1-2 years so that's the direction this is going. Side-by-side snap would be awesome.
  • 1520 have tha best best software. It just tha apps
  • soft·ware
    1. the programs and other operating information used by a computer.
  • This is my exact fear about this device.  I would love to have a phablet sized device (though preferably in the sub 5.8" range), but screen size is only half the story.  Nokia has all of the hardware (well... would be nice), but MS needs to step up their game on the software front.  Office mobile needs an overhaul.  Email needs to be able to attach multiple documents and a wide varieity of documents. The ability to have 2 apps up at a time (referencing a map or web browser while typing out a text or email!) is a necessity.  I can take or leave a stylus, but there needs to be better onenote support that feels more like the full office app rather than an odd version of wordpad with tabs.
    With WP and winRT merged into a single department this kind of stuff may be fixed down the line, but until there is a productivity reason to upgrade from my 920 then I'll just sit and wait.  Nokia has taken care of their end, now MS just needs to start working on feature support rather than the hardware support that they have been focused on this last year.  Not saying that it was a mistake to focus on hardware first, but now that they have caught up on that front they need to do some serious damage controll.
  • I agree having Windows Snap on a phone the size of the 1520 would be useful. Personally I prefer Evernote to OneNote, mainly because I like to dictate lists. I too have no use for a stylus on either a phone or tablet.
  • It does have
  • Judging from what has been discussed on executive level, Microsoft had no desire to spend a lot of money and time on improving Windows Phone, since they regarded it as only throwing money at Nokia. As such, a brilliant hardware manufacturer went down the drain and was bought by a morally corrupt corporation.
    We'll see if their attitudes change once they acquire Nokia, though I secretly hope Nokia cancels the deal, drops Windows Phone completely and leave Microsoft to starve having lost their most important partner to their greed, idiocy and laziness. Nokia could adopt Jolla's Sailfish OS or some similarly great mobile OS instead and I'd be on-board on day 1.
  • and nothing you wrote was the truth...
  • Check out the Wall Street Journal:
    The WSJ reports that the slow update and feature introduction rate has been because of internal struggles at Microsoft - with the powers that be rightfully noting that a whirlwind of money and resources poured into Windows Phone, which Microsoft is certainly capable of, is only going to benefit Nokia. Now that Microsoft snatched Nokia for a cheap price, that last hurdle seems to be eliminated, and it should be smooth sailing ahead.
  • Lol misinformed about the 1520 software that u cliam is soo crap ?? Pff fanboy
  • Have you even read my comment?
  • I read your comment and I do agree.  Large phones need to be able to take advantage of it and not act identical to smaller phones in their operation.
  • Relax.  These things take time.  They don't come all at once.  If you want WinRT on the phone, listen to last week's Windows Weekly.  It sounds like WP and WinRT will be one within the next 18 months.  Whether it's more like phone or more like RT remains to be seen, but the two will merge.
  • Relax, MS is supposed to be combining RT and WP to use all the same API's.  I believe with GDR2 they were 30 there and GDR3 I think was 60 there.  I think WP8 blue is supposed share 100% of the API's with RT.
    How do you know what size screen the 1520 will report?  you own a 920 with GDR3.
  • WP8.1 si about 60% of the API.
  • 77%
  • I have to agree with you here, and I am a Microsoft supporter. When Microsoft first released WP7, I thought it was the best user experience I had ever seen from Redmond, and while they have made marginal improvements (and a supposedly significant kernal upgrade), I haven't seen any real WP innovation in the last 3 years. 
    Some of the other commenters have brought up the pending marriage of WP and RT, but knowing Microsoft, that promise is a long way from reality. Although I still love my Lumia 920, I do think that WP is getting stale, and Microsoft needs to step up the pace if it is to stay (become?) relevant in the mobile OS world.
  • There have been so many improvements under the hood, though. Maybe not as many user facing features as people want, but you have to do work under the hood to enable the future features that MS is aiming for. I do agree that they need to pick up the pace of updates, though.
  • I'm the same when it comes to 920. An actual upgrade has not shown up you know. The 1520 is an option but not an upgrade. Oh and what up Kevin?
  • Eh?
    - It has a calc and other note taking things
    - if it isnt 1080 optimisied why does it have a 6-tile length on the start screen?
    smoking some good stuff there bro
  • There's more to an OS than the start screen - read my comment again.
  • tj321 open the window to get the smoke out of the room and read Ezhil post again.
    Ezhil said ONSCREEN (like calculator and notepad) applications. The OS (Android) supports small apps to open in a floating window on top of other application. The OS also support side-by side multitasking, two applications open and functional on the same screen at the same time.
    When the hardware has a big screen the OS should use it! Microsoft need to work on the OS! Now that you learn something today you can go back to smoking! 
  • And it supports crashing and freezing. Rather robustly too :D
  • This too ;)
  • It would be amazing if Windows Phone 8.1 implemented side by side multitasking similar to Windows 8.1, that would make the 6 inch display significantly better for those little things like using the translator while online, or looking up a walkthrough without leaving the game you're in. Here's hoping they look to implement this in the future, there is certainly enough screen real estate for it.
  • Dude, with respect. 90% use the phones for multimedia purposes. Big display and 1080p is for this reason....
  • I have a Samsung Focus that is over 3 years old. It has both calculator and
    notepad.  It can not split screens it can however, change between apps very quickly and not lose the information you put in to the application. 
    I do agree they will have to get ride of RT and work with windows pro. Also, the windows phone 8 has not been out very long. Give it 2 more years and it will be very hard to compete with.
  • Yeah, because WP8 has lots of software.
  • What's wrong with that Sony? It's just a bit taller.
  • Sony are in tha way. They need stick with T.V.'s
  • Better than samesung & icraps. Can't wait till the day Nokia & Sony rule the phone world again
  • Sony will rule Jack! They get worst every year! They're products will slowly fade to dust and product left standing will be the PS brand.
  • PS still going tu lose. PS got all that hype for nothing
  • sony is the only android I would consider buying...
  • Those android phones coming out with the super specs are so tempting. The HTC One was the only that came close to buying because the blink feed. But swipe to the left and saw the Android layout, I hate! Its just so ugly and plain.
  • The Samsung's display looks pretty good to me aswell, to be honest.
    Other than that, I still preffer the Lumia. Much better design and appealing to the eye.
  • In real world use, the Samsung displays are extremely reflective when outside.
  • good contrast, but dim display :-/
  • Note 3 is not so big, is good in the hands, so this Nokia will be wonderful...... Next year there will be 1020 for sale as far as I'm seeing this pictures, I will change mine,great device...
    Please post a picture of then by the side...
  • iPhone 5's Display better than Z Ultra.
  • that is my next phone. when do they sell it
  • The Z Ultra is even more monstruous than the L1520. However, the Z1 is exactly like the L1520 except it has a more normal and pleasent size - 5".
    So I'd say, the L1520 beats the Z Ultra. But the Z1 beats the L1520.
  • You are just arranging them from big to small, am I correct?
  • That would mean I said the L1520 with 6" would beat the Z1 with 5", and the Z Ultra would beat the L1520. I said exactly the opposite of all this. ;P
  • No, you arranged them from big (Z Ultra) to small (Z1).
  • That's what she said!
  • Looking at the photo the first time I thought the Z1 was the 1520 and the 1520 was a 920. Then I saw the Sony logo and worked it out, but the Sony does look nice design wise, just ginormous.
    The Galaxy looks like an iPhone, until you scroll down and see the actual iPhone, which looks so ugly shown up like this (I think it looks nicer in real life, but Apple really do need an iPhone 6 sooner rather than later as it's looking dated now - and the 5c is even worse).
  • The Z1 isn't in the photo, though, the Z Ultra is. I personally think that it would make more sense to have the Z1 there (since specs wise is exactly the same as the 1520) than the Z Ultra. Buy since they're going for size, then perhaps they opted to get the biggest available instead.
    The designs of the Z line from Sony are gorgeous although they are more conservative and less headed towards a young audience. But honestly...when you get above the 5" mark, design stops being that can't manage the phone with one hand anyway lol
  • Ah my bad I thought it was a Z1, I don't even know the difference. I guess they just used what they had.
    Design is always important. But yes once it's that size you need two hands, but pocketability rears it's head and for some people 5" is fine in their pocket so will be preferable over 6".
  • That iPhone looks like a bad joke.
  • It is.
  • True!
  • The joke on those that support it. First siri and now finger print scanner. Wonder what's next? Maybe fart detector.
  • I don't kno why they put iPhone beside those big phones. Just leave iPhone out of it
  • is avilable information what physical sensor size 1520 have?
  • Sensor size: 1/2.5 inch
  • So "phablet" is what they are going with? I thought Nokia didn't like that name for this classification.
  • Debating weather to grab the 1020 or the 1520... Aaghh, or get both..Like a boss.
    P.s. Wouldn't it have been more appropriate to compare the Samsung mega rather that the note 3?
  • Did Samsung actually sell a Mega to anyone? ;-)
  • They have money to shell out all kinds of products. Slap a galaxy branding on it and it will sell.
  • In essence what youre saying is ,slap an apple logo on a piece of dried dog...poo and the iloyalist will buy it?!
  • Exactly! They'll claim the pooh is the the most innovative product Apple has ever incorporated into the iPhone. The media will be all over it! I can see the ipholks rubbing it all over their face and getting multiple orgasms.
  • The G Mega would be compared to the 1320 in regards to specs. It is not their high end as the 1320 is not either.
  • Yeah phablets aren't for me, but there's no denying there's a huge market for them (excuse the pun). If I were to get one, then there's no reason I can think of why I wouldn't go for the 1520. I mean...just look at it!
  • Waiting for a 12" display phone, this is far too small
  • Realistically I'm wait for a 6.5-7 inch phone. My gfs kindle fire fits perfect in my hand.
  • +1220
  • Lol
  • Get the iPhone off my butt LOL
  • Have Elop throw it in the corner for ya.
  • If only it had a pen.
  • The Xperia Ultra looks more like a mini tablet, rather than a "phablet" (hate this word)
  • I like the 1520, but I first update my Ativ-S to GDR 3 and then think about the 1520...
  • It's kinda useless without a stylus.
  • Do you mean the Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 or the Sony Z Ultra or the Fonetab or...
  • I love the smart use of text colour. The rest of the phones read:
    "This is just a screen"
    whereas the Lumia 1520 display is clearly something more advanced.
  • just look out that display. beats all
  • Is it just me or is the 1520 just slightly taller than the note 3?
  • Great now when is Nokia/MS gonna make a high end phone that fits in a normal humans hands. I'm 5'9" and have dropped my 920 more since I got it on launch day they I ever did with all of my iphones combined not to mention its impossable to hit all four corners with my thumb of the hand im holding it with making it very dificult to use one handed. I love the my 920 but its too dam big I can't imagen how impossable to handle these new 6" nokias are.
  • Maybe with a base ball glove?
  • If you put a ZAGG protector on it you probably wont drop it. The smooth polycarbonate feels great buts its a slippery material. Wrap it in ZAGG and the friction of the wrap almost glues it to your hand. Oh, and buy longer thumbs too. ;)
  • actually I do have a Zagg full wrap on it which combined with the fact the phone is bult like a brick meens . The issue isint silperyness its that the phone is just to big.  Is it to much to ask for a phone that is full featured but can still be used one handed easy?
  • You hold it wrong...
  • Nokia ftw!
  • THIS... IS.... JUST.... A.... one y'all
  • LOL @ "Suddenly, the Lumia doesn't seem quite so huge."  That Sony smartphone is a giant!
  • waw, I didn't know that the Sony Xperia z ultra is so big compared to the lumia 1520 and the samsung galaxy note 3
  • Wow that Sony screen is terrible