Nokia Lumia 1320 vs. Samsung Galaxy Grand 2: Battle Of Mid-Range Phablets

In the age of Phablets, every one is battling out to grab a piece of market share. The trend which once started by Samsung has now grew like wildfire to other brands and platforms as well. Microsoft has officially started supporting high resolution screen equipped phablets and even Apple is rumoured to bring a 4.7 inch screen with the launch of the iPhone 6 by end of 2014. Right now, if you want to buy a phablet but that isn’t too heavy for your pockets, there are some great options out there in the market. Nokia has released the Lumia 1320 which comes with a large 6 inch screen and some decent hardware for a price of INR 21K while the Samsung Galaxy Grand 2 was recently released for around INR 22K. Which one does suit you? Let’s find out.

Design & Build Quality

Yes, we get it, phablets are really a fashion right now but still, the Nokia Lumia 1320 is really big. It flaunts design which is in line with the latest series of Lumia smartphones. The device is designed with glossy polycarbonate material. It is neither that slim (9.8 mm) nor light-weight (220g), thanks to its large screen and battery. The design is very similar to that of the Lumia 625, only bigger. It features a replaceable back panel that covers around the screen but the battery isn’t removable.

The Samsung Galaxy Grand 2 employs a slightly newer design which was used in the Galaxy Note 3 with a faux stitched leather finish on the removable back. Unlike the Lumia 1320, the Galaxy Grand 2 features removable battery along with dual SIM card slots as well as microSD card slots.

In terms of how easy it is to remove the back cover, the Galaxy Grand 2 is much better. The Nokia Lumia 1320 is a better built device in comparison with an almost unibody like device but it is also practically impossible to handle with one hand. That doesn’t mean to say that the Galaxy Grand 2 is any better. It has 2 capacitive buttons which are very closer to the bottom and you can notice numerous accidental presses when handling it with one hand. When it comes to wear and tear, the Nokia Lumia 1320 is better due to stronger body and lack of materials which might get pelt of or worn off as opposed to the Galaxy Grand 2 which features a chrome ring which might peel off quite easily.

Winner: Nokia Lumia 1320

Display Quality

The Nokia Lumia 1320 features a ginormous 6 inch HD IPS LCD screen with a below par screen sharpness of 245 ppi by todays standards but it isn’t too bad either. When you have a 6 inch screen, you place it slightly away from your eyes when compared to smartphones with relatively smaller screens. So the need of its screen sharpness being closer to magical 300 ppi ‘Retina Display’ level drops down a bit. It excels in out door visibility as well as contrasts, colours and viewing angles. Although the screen on the Galaxy Grand 2 is sharper in comparison, I would prefer the Lumia 1320 screen as opposed to the 5.25 inch TFT LCD screen with HD resolution and 280ppi. Although the screen is better in contrast and colour reproduction, it is quite reflective outdoors which affects its visibility. The Nokia Lumia 1320 is a clear winner in this regard if you are okay with its size.

Winner: Nokia Lumia 1320

Camera Quality

The Nokia Lumia 1320 has the same 5MP AF camera unit which was featured in the Lumia 525 and Lumia 520 except the fact that it provides full HD 1080p video recording at 30 frames per second. It also features single LED flash as well as a lot of great camera applications and lenses.

The Samsung Galaxy Grand 2 comes with an 8MP AF camera with LED flash and an ability to shoot full HD 1080p videos at 30 frames per second. It also has an ability to shoot full HD videos and 6MP images at the same time. It has a number of great image capture modes such as Panorama, Best Face, Beauty Face, Sound & Shot, HDR and Object Removal, etc. There are some real-time picture effects as well and accessing them is very easy as well. It has a great camera UI with ring like interface where you can choose a needed mode and start shooting.

When it comes to actual image quality, the Samsung Galaxy Grand 2 is very slightly ahead of the Lumia 1320. There is less noise and subjects are slightly sharper. The video quality though, is almost of equal quality.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Grand 2

Hardware Performance

The Nokia Lumia 1520 is supported by a 1.7GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor with Krait 300 CPU cores, Adreno 305 GPU & 1GB of RAM. The Galaxy Grand 2 features a 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor which is a combination of 4 ARM Cortex A7 CPU cores and Adreno 305 GPU along with 1.5GB of RAM. Both feature 8GB of internal storage along with an option to expand it up to 64GB of additional storage using a microSD card slot. But the Galaxy Grand 2 only offers 5GB of its internal storage to end users.

When it comes to actual performance, the Nokia Lumia 1320 is relatively fast and lag free. The Galaxy Grand 2 is full of software features that might not be necessary to a lot of users which makes it slower as time passes. Apps take time to open and multitasking is a pain sometimes. This is not because of hardware thought. The Motorola Moto G with the same processor has a much faster UI in comparison. Both offer similar gaming performance and playing games such as Real Racing 3 was an enjoyable experience although some slightly heavier games such as Modern Combat 4 isn’t that smooth but still, playable.

Winner: Nokia Lumia 1320

Software & UI

The latest version of Windows Phone 8 powering the Lumia 1320 is understandable smooth. It comes with various exclusive Nokia services such as HERE Maps, Nokia MixRadio, etc. There are some great camera applications from Nokia such as Nokia Camera and multimedia applications like Nokia PlayTo. Live Tiles offer glance-able bits of information on the Start Screen. Glance Screen shows time, date and notifications in white, red, blue or green colours at intermittent time intervals or when you hover your hand over the screen while the device is in sleep mode. The UI is very straight forward and very easy to use and it doesn’t hang a bit, not at all. But its software is closed in nature, meaning you cannot share data from one app to other which is a let down. Multitasking is not anywhere near to the Android experience and applications like WhatsApp or other messengers which take a lot of time showing notifications while running in the background.

The Samsung Galaxy Grand 2 comes with a slightly older Android v4.3 Jelly Bean with TouchWiz Nature UX on top of it. It comes with a lot of options, features and applications. The Multi-Window Mode allows use of 2 apps at the same screen and at the same time. Easy Mode gives newer smartphone users and elderly with a UI which is simple to use. One Handed Operation Mode tweaks the UI by bringing on-screen elements closer to the fingers in important applications such as dialler, keyboard and lock screen. It comes with a great multimedia player with equaliser, lyrics and DLNA multimedia sharing options. But over time, the UI starts to lag and hang which can irritates users a lot.

Winner: Tie

Connectivity & Battery Life

The Windows Phone devices are slightly on the back-foot when it comes to seamless connectivity when compared to Android devices. Both the devices feature 42.2 Mbps HSDPA, Wi-Fi b/g/n, Wi-FI Hotspot, Bluetooth v4.0, A-GPS and microUSB v2.0 ports. But the Samsung Galaxy Grand 2 also features Wi-Fi Direct and Low Energy version of Bluetooth which are missing from the Lumia 1320. Not only the Lumia 1320 is slightly on the back foot when it comes to connectivity options, it also misses on how easy is it to share things using these features. It is harder to transfer files through Bluetooth or other mail or IM applications because of closed file system.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Grand 2

When it comes to battery endurance, the Nokia Lumia 1320 features a very large 3400 mAh which lasts much longer as opposed to the Galaxy Grand 2 which comes with a 2600 mAh battery. The Lumia 1320 is clearly a winner in terms of battery life when compared to the Galaxy Grand 2.

Winner: Nokia Lumia 1320

Price & Value

Both the devices are priced similarly. The Lumia 1320 price is around 21K while the Galaxy Grand 2 is priced at INR 20,600. When two completely different kind of smartphones are into comparison, it is kind of hard when it comes to deciding which device offers a better value for money before knowing each individual’s preferences. If you want an Android device, a device with a lot of features and can do with a couple of day’s worth of battery life, you might want to prefer the Galaxy Grand 2. But if you want a large screen and great battery life more than anything else, Nokia Lumia 1320 is a great choice.

Winner: Tie

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Written by Asif Iqbal Shaik

Asif Iqbal Shaik is a Consumer Electronics Expert with MySmartPrice, which is the best price comparison website in India. He is a computer sciences graduate and has been closely following consumer electronics space from last 6 years. He also is a technology blogger for the past 3 years.