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Home / Features / Nokia Lumia 1020 vs Samsung Galaxy S4

Nokia Lumia 1020 vs Samsung Galaxy S4

Can the might of Nokia’s 41MP camera give Android's most popular son a run for its money?

Nokia’s Lumia 1020 brings the world’s best smartphone camera to market soon, but will that be enough to depose the Samsung Galaxy S4 – the best-selling Android phone in history?

We’ve gone hands-on with the Lumia 1020 and have been using the S4 for months – so which one comes out on top? Let’s find out.

Camera king

nokia lumia 1020 camera

Let’s address this straightaway: the Nokia Lumia 1020 has a better camera than the Samsung Galaxy S4. Although we’ve only had a quick go on the 1020 and have used the S4 for months, it’s immediately obvious that Nokia’s 41MP snapper is in another league. Giant wall-sized prints of its shots were at the launch event, and even up close they were clear, well defined and richly coloured. As well as that whopping megapixel count, the Lumia’s optical image stablisation and xenon flash should make for great low-light shots and steady video – while the ability to zoom out after you’ve taken a picture is a piece of astoundingly useful tech voodoo.

It should be noted that as an Android phone, the Galaxy S4 does have Instagram – but with Windows Phone app Hipstamatic now able to upload pics to Instagram, the Lumia is on a pretty even footing for filter fans.


samsung galaxy s4 power

Sammy’s flagship Galaxy S4 is as a fast device with its 2GB RAM and mighty 1.9GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor. The Nokia Lumia 1020 has the most RAM of any Windows Phone at 2GB, but a relatively meagre dual-core 1.5GHz processor. So on paper the S4 wins. Although in use we found no lag on the Lumia – and after all, that’s the main thing. In fact the energy-frugal dual-core may prove to be a battery advantage for the Nokia – we’ll find out in our full review.

Super screen

There’s no denying that Samsung has screen manufacturing down to a fine art. The S4 packs a whopping 1080p resolution into that beautiful 5in Super AMOLED, providing a stunningly crisp 441ppi. How could Nokia ever compete? Its “near surface” screen does a good job. Sure, its 4.5in display ‘only’ manages 334ppi with its 768×1280 resolution, but with PureMotion HD+, it’s clear in sunlight and touch works with gloves on. Overall, though, the bigger size and higher pixel count of the S4’s display tips the balance in its favour.

Build quality

nokia lumia 1020 build

For a flagship phone, the Galaxy S4’s body still feels a bit too plasticky – although its Gorilla Glass 3 screen is plenty strong enough to survive a few knocks and bumps. And that flimsy back panel does mean you can swap out the battery if it’s running low on juice.

The Lumia 1020 is a seriously well engineered piece of kit with its solid polycarbonate shell. Despite cramming in the six-lens optics for its 41MP camera, it’s still remarkably slim. A shame, though, that it doesn’t feature the lustrous metal edges found on the Lumia 925 – that would be the icing on the cake.

Battery life

samsung galaxy s4 battery

The S4 has a huge 2600mAh battery compared to the 1020’s 2000mAh juice pack. That translates to on-paper 3G talk time of 17 hours for the S4 and 13.3 hours on the Lumia. But the Nokia manages 63 hours of music playback while the S4 can handle 62. Taking into account the extra burden placed on the S4’s battery by that bigger screen and processor, it looks like the 1020 stands a chance in this race. Plus the Lumia’s optional camera grip case offers a futher 1000mAh battery to boost performance. We’ll have to wait and see what our 1020 review reveals.


nokia lumia 1020 grip

The S4 offers 16GB, 32GB or 64GB options with microSD expansion. The Lumia 1020 comes with 32GB and that’s it – not ideal for something made to shoot huge 41MP photos. Samsung wins here – and features all the same connectivity options as the Lumia, plus Bluetooth 4.0 rather than the Lumia’s 3.0, and an IR port. But the 1020 does offer an extra grip case that makes taking photos easier and adds an extra 1000mAh battery and a tripod mount.


samsung-galaxy-s4-vs-nokia-lumia-1020 side

Although Google Play still offers a vastly wider array of apps, the Lumia 1020’s awesome camera skills and solid build should tempt plenty of the Android faithful to make the jump to Windows Phone.

We’ll be going in depth with the Nokia Lumia 1020 in our full review, so check back for our verdict.

Profile image of Luke Edwards Luke Edwards Multimedia journalist


Writer and presenter of gadgets and tech. Off-duty film and comics fanatic.

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