David vs Goliath: Apple iPad Air vs Nokia Lumia 2520

Plastic (Polycarbonate) vs Metal

Both the Apple iPad Air and the Nokia Lumia 2520 share  the same concept of a unibody design. However the unibody design is the only thing that they have in common and other than that, their design directions are really a far cry from each other.

David vs Goliath: Apple iPad Air vs Nokia Lumia 2520 - Plastic (Polycarbonate) vs Metal 2

Apple of course has gone with its signature aluminium and taken its design cues from the iPad Mini. They’ve managed to shrink the thickness of the tablet to the same size as its smaller counterpart and that is no mean feat. Its build quality is undeniable and the attention to detail, from the milled holes to the laser-cut chamfers, just gives it that all round classy but sexy look.

On the other hand, the Nokia Lumia 2520 is the total opposite of the iPad Air. Where the latter goes for metal, the former uses plastic, or as Nokia would call it, recycled polycarbonate. Not that it’s cheap looking, far from it. In fact Samsung ought to take a page out of Nokia’s book if they wanted to use plastic (sorry, we mean polycarbonate) and still make their devices look less… well, cheap. The design of the Lumia 2520 falls in line with the rest of the other Lumia devices, leaving no doubt as to what its heritage is. And with 4 bright and loud colours, the Lumia 2520 is really shouting out that it’s young, hip and fashionable.

That being said, as hip as the Lumia 2520 is, it doesn’t look bleeding edge. It still makes for a fancy looking gadget but we wouldn't say that it'll really turn heads. The iPad Air on the other hand just pushes the design of the iPad further. Yes, it may lack additional colour options, but so what? We’ll still look good when we're whipping it out.

Winner: Apple iPad Air

Screen wars

The iPad Air of course still maintains its Retina screen and despite its shrunken down size, still manages to pack 2048 x 1536 resolution into a 9.7in screen. While its on paper pixel density numbers, 263, might not seem as impressive as the likes of the Nexus 7 and even its sibling the iPad Mini 2, it’s still a very decent screen to gaze upon.

David vs Goliath: Apple iPad Air vs Nokia Lumia 2520 - Screen wars 2

The Lumia 2520’s screen on the other hand doesn’t pack as many pixels into its 1,920 x 1,080 screen. With a pixel density of 218, it’s lower than that of the iPad Air.  It does however have some nifty features including Nokia’s ClearBlack Display filter that cuts the glare from the tablet's screen, making outdoor visibility even better. That’s pretty awesome for a tablet as you’re more often than not going to be using it outdoors.

Though the pixel density of the Lumia is lower than the iPad Air’s, the inclusion of its ClearBlack Display gives the Lumia an edge. With better visibility outdoors, this means you don’t have to crank up the screen brightness too much. And that also means healthier battery life.

Winner: Nokia Lumia 2520

iOS 7 vs Windows 8.1 RT

This part of the comparison was pretty painful, especially for the Lumia 2520. Fact of the matter is, Windows RT has a lot to catch up to (if it’ll ever catch up at all). We’ve gushed over iOS 7’s improvements and the library of apps that the iPad Air has access to is extensive. The Lumia 2520 With Windows RT on the other hand, just leaves much to be desired.

David vs Goliath: Apple iPad Air vs Nokia Lumia 2520 - iOS 7 vs Windows 8.1 RT 2

Many have already written Windows RT off, but it seems that Nokia (or rather Microsoft) is still clinging on to it. We could go on but just think about it, what would you say about an OS that is busting out the bubbly because they’re finally getting Instagram?

'Nuff said.

Winner: Apple iPad Air

More after the break...

Camera loving

On paper, the Lumia 2520’s 6.7-megapixel camera beats the 5-megapixel shooter that the iPad Air comes with. The Carl Zeiss lens that the Lumia 2520 comes with has an aperture of f1.9, so you can expect low light shots to be pretty bright and on the money. The front camera is a 2-megapixel affair and should be more than sufficient for video calls.

In contrast, the iPad Air still has the same cameras that the iPad 4 had, both back and front. It has maintained the same 5-megapixel iSight camera at the back as well as the 1.2-megapixel HD camera up front so you can expect the same quality of shots and video calls that was seen in the iPad 4.

It’s interesting that Nokia decided not to integrate their PureView camera into the Lumia 2520, but they did at least decide to put a more than decent camera into the tablet. Apple’s decision not to make any changes might be a disappointment to some, but if it ain’t broke, why fix it?

Winner: Nokia Lumia 2520

Power Struggle

Like its smartphone counterpart, the iPhone 5s, the iPad Air comes with the new A7 chip. With a dual-core 1.7GHz processor and 2GB of RAM not to mention 64bit processing. As it is, the iPhone 5s could handle everything we threw at it so we don’t see any difference in performance on the iPad Air. Due to the lack of 64bit apps, with maybe the exception of GarageBand's 32 track sampling, there’s still not enough to judge just how well it performs.

David vs Goliath: Apple iPad Air vs Nokia Lumia 2520 - Power Struggle 2

The Lumia 2520 has the same quad-core 2.2GHz Snapdragon 800 chip that our top smartphone, the LG G2 has and though we’ve yet to see how well it performs on the Windows 8 RT platform, we know that the Lumia phones already offer one of the smoothest experiences one can have on a mobile device.

We’d love to do a battery comparison but Apple hasn’t revealed the battery capacity of the iPad Air yet though we do know the battery size has been reduced but still manages to retain the same battery life of the previous iPad. The Lumia 2520 on the other hand has a 8000mAh battery which, according to Nokia, provides 10 hours of battery life, just like the iPad Air.

It’s hard to make a decision in terms of power but it seems that both the iPad Air and Lumia 2520 are tied in this matter.

Winner: Tie

Pricing

If there’s one shining beacon that the Lumia 2520 has, it is definitely price. It might only have one capacity option, the 32GB as compared to the variety that the Apple iPad Air offers, but at US$499 (RM1580), you get the whole shebang including LTE.

In contrast, the iPad Air starts out at US$499 (RM1580) and that’s just the base 16GB Wi-Fi model. If you were to compare apples to apples , so to speak, a better comparison would be the similarly specced 32GB Wi-Fi and Cellular version of the iPad Air that goes for US$729 (RM2310)  to the Lumia 2520. So when it comes to value, there’s no question who the winner is.

Winner: Nokia Lumia 2520

Verdict

This David vs Goliath battle should have seen the underdog making a break for it and coming out tops. Unfortunately, that wasn't to be. The Lumia 2520 looks like it’ll be a pretty decent 10-incher with a good camera, and at its price, it does offer some pretty good value.

But the iPad Air still comes out tops. Let's face it, we'd rather get access to a wide variety of apps now. It may be pricier but the assurance that it's well supported is well worth the money.

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