A tale of two tablets: Nokia Lumia 2520 vs. Samsung Galaxy NotePRO (1: specifications)

Comparing the incomparable? Well, maybe. It's obvious the Nokia Lumia 2520 and the Samsung Galaxy NotePRO run on a different platform, just  like you can't possibly miss their difference in size. But what are they like to work with? What are the pros and cons of both in daily use? When do I prefer the sleek Nokia Lumia 2520, when the huge Samsung Galaxy NotePRO (or TabPRO of the same size)?

NotePRO 3

In the next posts I'll be sharing my experiences with both tablets so far. I received a review sample of the Galaxy NotePro about a week ago and it's been a great experience to work (and play) with it. But I have a deep love for Nokia too, and their very first - and probably last - tablet was something I just had to get. To be honest I have it for a few months already, but it came without the charger (sigh) and I had to wait a very long time to get my hands on one!


Not only accessories are hard to come by, the Nokia Lumia 2520 has quite a limited availability itself. You can't buy it where I live, and chances are you can't buy it where you live either, unless you're from the US, UK, Finland, Italy, Poland or Russia (check here). Thanks to an acquaintance from the US, I could import it - with simlock, but I'm only going to use it on WiFi anyway (and there's always tethering).

Second problem: if you can get it, you can't really choose any color you like - not in the US at least. If you're on AT&T for instance, you'll get the matte black version, if you choose Verizon, you get the shiny red one. If you prefer the matte blue one you'll have to get it without a contract and I wouldn't even know what it costs - simply can't find it anywhere (like with the white version). Anyway, importing it with simlock was relatively cheap, considering Nokia offered it including the $150 keyboard (for free, that is).

Nokia Power keyboardI'm still waiting for the keyboard though - third availability problem. But I don't want to wait much longer with this post - I do (more or less) know what the keyboard is capable of and I really can't wait to receive it, but my guess is a lot of people will start with the Lumia 2520 without one anyway, or use a bluetooth keyboard with it (like I do at the moment).

In this first part, I'll compare a few of the technical specifications. Here you'll find the complete specs of the Nokia Lumia 2520 and for the Samsung NotePRO.

Design, weight, battery, simcard
First a few aspects that can be described quickly. Both the black and the cyan Lumia 2520 are made of the polycarbonate we know since the Nokia N9/Lumia 800. The red and white version are made of shiny plastic (true "fingerprint magnets"). The NotePRO has the artificial leather backside Samsung introduced with the Galaxy Note 3. That gives is a very nice grip and avoids fingerprints as well.

The Nokia Lumia 2520 weighs 615 grams. Although it's much larger, the Samsung NotePRO isn't exceptionally heavy: 750 grams.

Battery capacity is only slightly different. The Lumia 2520 has a 8210 mAh battery (and the Power Keyboard - if you can get it - will add another 2027 mAh). The NotePRO has a whopping 9.500 mAh battery built-in, but of course the bigger display uses more power. In general - after a few days of working with both - I'd say their standby-time is comparable.

The Lumia 2520 takes a simcard, the Samsung NotePro doesn't - only the two smaller versions of the TabPRO (10.1 and 8.4) come with LTE as well.

Nokia Lumia 2520 and Samsung Galaxy NotePRO

Screen: size, resolution, density and viewing angle.
Mind you: the picture above is only to show the difference in size. I didn't put both screens on maximum brightness.

The Lumia has a 10.1 inch screen with 1920 x 1080 resolution, the NotePRO has a 12.2 inch screen with a 2560 x 1600 resolution. That's 218 ppi (pixel per inch) for the Lumia 2520 and a 247 ppi for the NotePRO. The smaller versions of Samsung's Pro tablet even have  a pixel density of 298 and 359 ppi. For comparison, the new iPad Air has 264 ppi.

These are just numbers by the way. This is not to say the Lumia 2520 has an inferior screen - quite on the contrary, it's a joy to look at. It just isn't as sharp as the NotePRO, which has a suprisingly large density given its size. The resolution of the Lumia 2520 is the same as the Surface 2 and Surface Pro.

Viewing angle of both devices is very good I'd say - I'll try to show that with these four shots, taken from the exact same distance, but cut and resized to focus on the screen and fit this post.

4a Nokia Lumia 2520 640 x 127 4a Samsung Galaxy NotePRO 4b Nokia Lumia 2520 640 x 147 4b Samsung Galaxy NotePRO 640 x 138

To conclude this part, in the last two shots you might notice the Nokia Lumia 2520 is a bit "off-white". That's something I noticed comparing it with a Surface RT as well - it's color rendition appears to be just a bit "warmer". I think that's pleasing for the eyes and in general use, but I'm quite sure many photographers would like the white to be exactly that. A solution would be to turn up the brightness of the screen - but that of course will take more power.

Memory, RAM and processors
The Nokia Lumia 2520 comes with 32GB of mass memory, The NotePRO comes in a 32GB and 64GB version - both are expandable with maximum 64GB micro-SD.

RAM in the Lumia 2520 is 2GB, the NotePRO offers 3GB RAM. I suspect that's the reason that you'll be able to work with the Raw .DNG files coming from the Nokia Lumia 1020 on the NotePRO (see here).

I didn't manage to find one application with with I could work with the same Raw files on the Lumia 2520. Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily, but it's a difference some will find quite important.

On a different OS - Windows RT and Android 4.4 (KitKat) - it's hardly useful to compare the processors I guess. Let me say both tablets work like a charm. The Nokia Lumia 2520 has a Qualcomm Snapdragon™ 800 processor, the Samsung NotePRO has two quadcore processors for optimal battery consumption, one running on 1.9GHz (Quad A15) and 1.3GHz (Quad A7).

1 Nokia Lumia 2520Connectivity
This appears to be limited on the Lumia 2520 when you use it without the Nokia Power Keyboard. Much to my surprise I can't connect the Lumia 1020 to its much bigger brother without it. @NokiaHelps even suggested I should use Nokia's USB OTG cable for that but they were obviously mistaken since neither device supports it (and it simply doesn't fit, trust me, I tried). Only the Power Keyboard has a standard USB 2.0 port.

The Lumia 2520 has a USB 3.0 port, but I can't seem to connect my Lumia 1020 to it unless with a micro-USB to micro-USB cable (I still have to find out whether that actually works or not). Also - but I learned this is normal - I can't connect the Lumia 2520 to my PC, since it's a tablet (duh).

So to copy my high-res shots to the Lumia 2520, as for now there is no other way than to hook up my 1020 to my PC and copy them to the micro-SD from my Lumia 2520, or upload the files I want to SkyDrive (Dropbox, etc.). Copying or uploading the Raw files is useless for this purpose since I can't open them on the Lumia 2520 anyway.

With the NotePRO, it's a bit different: I can't connect my Lumia 1020 directly (at least I haven't figured out how to yet, if I find a solution I'll let you know), but I can connect it to my PC - it's like connecting your smartphone to the PC (only a lot bigger).

So from there I can copy the files to the tablet directly, without having to upload them to SkyDrive, DropBox, etc. And - as I've shown in a previous post - I can work with Raw on the Samsung NotePRO.

1 Samsung Galaxy NotePro

I will never understand people making shots with their tablets - especially not on holiday, let alone during concerts. But those cameras do get a lot better as well, and as the cliché goes:  "the best camera is the one you have with you".

To conlude this first chapter about the specs of both tablets, I'll focus on the camera :-)

The Lumia 2520 has a 6.7MP sensor and Carl Zeiss optics, 4 x digital zoom, sensor size is 1/3.4 inch. Camera focal length is 26 mm and minimum focus range 10 cm.

There is no flash, which I think is funny since I guess you'll mostly use the tablet camera inside the house, right? A good thing is that the Nokia Camera application works on the Lumia 2520 as well, so you can work with most of the same settings you will know from your Lumia smartphone. The secondary camera - not just for "selfies' but also for Skype etc. has a 1.2MP wide angle sensor.

As far as the camera goes, Samsung doesn't give too much specifications of the camera on the NotePRO. The main camera has an 8MP sensor and offers a LED Flash (!). The frontcamera is 2MP (FHD).

Of course, there is much more to write about - way too much for one post I think. In the next chapter ( Photography) I'll write a comparison of both cameras, since this club is about mobile imaging after all.

In part 3 I'll share my personal experience working with both tablets and several applications. Meanwhile, if you have a question, don't hesitate to ask, I'll see what I can do to answer it. Suggestions, workarounds and other tips are more than welcome, too :-)

I'll conclude with two more shots from both tablets, taken in the dark from the exact same distance, uncut but resized to fit this page, of course.

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