iPhone 6 Plus vs. Lumia 1520: What Buyers Need to Know

Forget the iPhone 6. The smaller device that Apple announced at its September event and released late last week is the spiritual successor to past iPhones, but it’s not what is getting all the attention. Justifiably so, Apple’s new official high-end smartphone is the iPhone 6 Plus. The iPhone 6 Plus is a beast of a phone. Forget the small lines and tiny screen of past iPhones, the iPhone 6 Plus is Apple’s answer to users who wanted something that had a bigger display, but wasn’t a full-blown tablet.

Here are the best looking iPhone 6 Plus apps yet.
The iPhone 6 Plus.

In that respect, Microsoft’s Lumia 1520 tablet is the iPhone 6 Plus’ direct competitor in the space. It’s equally huge and is made to fit the gap between smartphones running Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system and 7-inch tablets running the Windows operating system. Here’s what you need to know if you’re choosing between the iPhone 6 Plus and the Nokia Lumia 1520.

Design

Anyone who has owned an iPhone in the past few years or even seen one on television has seen the iPhone 6 Plus design. The speaker hole is still on top and it’s still joined by the ambient light sensor and front-facing camera. Down below is a TouchID fingerprint reader with a metal band around it.

iPhone 6 Plus vs iPhone 5sThickness
The iPhone 6 Plus compared to the iPhone 5s.

The iPhone 6 Plus’ claim to fame is the giant 5.5-inch high-definition display that sits in between these components. Depending on what color you choose the iPhone 6 Plus’s front glass is either white or black. The edges and rear are where the iPhone 6 Plus differs mainly from its older brothers. Recent iPhones have all had very straight edges that are rounded off at the ends. The iPhone 6 Plus is super thin at 0.28 inches. Mostly that’s due to the iPhone 6 Plus having a bigger display. It measures 6.2-inches from top to bottom. The headphone jack and Lightning port are still at the bottom of the iPhone 6 Plus. So is the mono speaker that you can cover with one finger. On the left edge is a toggle for silencing the device and another set of oval buttons for raising and lowering the volume. For the iPhone 6, Apple has moved the power button over to the right edge of the device. This makes it easy to reach, far easier than it would have been if left on the top.

Around back is a sea of metal broken up by different metal bands so that the iPhone 6 Plus can speak to cellular networks. The Apple punctuates this metal skin and so does a protruding rear-facing camera that won’t let the device sit flush on a table.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The iPhone 6 Plus is still curvaceous and sexy in its own way. That high-end jewelry feel is still there too. Microsoft’s Lumia 1520 smartphone is best described as a block. More specifically, unless you’re a huge fan of colored polycarbonate plastic the Lumia 1520 isn’t what anyone would describe as forward thinking design. Where the iPhone 6 Plus’ outward edges are curved the Lumia 1520’s edges are right angles. On the front is massive 6-inch display that has navigation buttons for Start, Back and Search at the bottom and ear piece and front-facing camera at the top. The Lumia 1520 also includes a camera hump on its back that’ll stop users from laying it flat on a table.

Internals

The iPhone 6 Plus’ 5.5-inch display is a show stopper. Apple says that the screen in the device has a resolution of 1920 x 1080p. In short, high-definition video looks gorgeous. The hardware inside the iPhone 6 Plus is a little more pedestrian in a way that only devices made by Apple are allowed to be.

Here's what I learned after using the iPhone 6 Plus for a day.

Read: iPhone 6 & iPhone 6 Plus Specs, Features & Price

Instead of fighting with Android and Windows Phone device makers for specifications, the iPhone 6 Plus is very conservative. The A8 processor inside the iPhone 6 Plus only has two cores compared to the quad-core processor that’s in the Lumia 1520 and practically any other smartphone in its class. Whereas the Lumia 1520 has 2GB of RAM, the iPhone 6 Plus has just 1GB of RAM. Most might think that this is cause for alarm, that the Lumia 1520 must be miles better than the iPhone 6 Plus in terms of fast loading apps and taking pictures. iOS, the operating system that runs on all iPhones is made by Apple. I mention that to say that it’s been tweaked and fine-tuned in a way that hardly gives the Lumia 1520 and its beefier processor a realistic advantage. Loading up games might be a bit faster, but that’s about it.

Read: AT&T Nokia Lumia 1520 Review

Where the iPhone 6 Plus does, in theory, take a beating is with the camera. New to the iPhone 6 Plus is optical image stabilization. The technology keeps videos and pictures from being horrible if you’re like me and can’t hold a camera steady. The iPhone 6 Plus uses this technology with an 8 megapixel rear-facing camera. The pictures that the iPhone 6 Plus takes are absolutely stunning and the phone can record slow motion video that’s just great to look at.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Lumia 1520 includes Nokia’s PureView imaging technology and it’s backed up by a 20 megapixel rear-facing camera. Pictures taken with it look great, and the camera software that Nokia includes on its phones is pretty easy to use – just as easy as the iPhone 6 Plus’ Camera app. You can’t go wrong with either of these phones in the pictures department, though I’d argue the Lumia 1520 definitely wins out thanks to its dedicated camera button.

Extras

This year’s iPhones are the first to include NFC technology, but the Lumia 1520 had it last year when it arrived on store shelves. Still, I suspect the NFC in the iPhone 6 Pus will prove more useful simply because of Apple Pay. When it arrives next month it’ll allow users to pay for everyday items by unlocking their phone with TouchID and tapping on payment machines at their local retailers. The Lumia 1520’s Windows Phone operating system has an NFC wallet system but it’s dormant and isn’t exactly overwhelming useful. That being said, app developers aren’t allowed to use the NFC chip on the iPhone 6 to communicate with other phones or accessories. On Windows Phone 8.1 they absolutely can.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A really cool M8 motion co-processor allows the iPhone 6 Plus to monitor health needs thanks to third-party apps.

Both phones come with pretty entry-level front-facing cameras but they’ll get the job done for video chatting and all. One extra that gives the Lumia 1520 an edge is the wireless charging. Apple’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus may have picked up pa few tricks related to NFC but Apple has yet to embrace this new technology. With a compatible wireless charging pad, charging the Lumia 1520 is a simple as setting it down on a table or putting it in a wireless charging cradle. Unfortunately, the AT&T version requires a case for wireless charging in addition to that wireless charging pad.

iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus
iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus

Two software extras on the iPhone 6 Plus do make it a more viable large-screened phone than the Lumia 1520.The first is Reachability. Many of the apps designed for the iPhone have navigation menus that sit at the top of its screen. For the iPhone 6 Plus, Reachability scales down how much screen the app can take up. In doing so, it makes apps easier to use on the iPhone 6 with one hand. The second feature doesn’t really have a name. For the first time, Apple has redesigned many of its apps to add more content on-screen when the iPhone 6 Plus is turned horizontally. It’s not widely used but the Lumia 1520 has nothing like this at all.

Availability & Pricing

At Apple the iPhone 6 Plus starts at $299 for a model with 16GB of storage. $399 gets users an iPhone 6 Plus with 64GB of storage and $499 gets users an iPhone 6 Plus with 128GB of storage. Of course, these prices include a two-year contract. There are versions ready on every major carrier including AT&T, Sprint, Verizon & T-Mobile. Color options include Gold, Space Gray and Silver.

The Microsoft Lumia 1520 is exclusive to the United States’ second largest wireless carrier – AT&T. What that means is that Lumia 1520 is only an alternative to the iPhone 6 Plus for users on that carrier. The Lumia 1520 only comes in one configuration $199.99 with 32GB of storage and a MicroSD card slot to add more. The Lumia 1520 does come in some pretty vibrant colors. There’s green, black, white, red and yellow.

Which to Buy

Overall, I’d have to say that the iPhone 6 Plus is the best large-screen phone users can buy on any carrier. Reachability and those new app views are key and the Windows Phone 8.1 operating system that the Lumia 1520 has doesn’t offer anything that compare to them. That being said there are places where the Lumia 1520 edges out. The Lumia 1520’s camera takes fantastic photographs and the phone itself is very durable. The iPhone 6 Plus will also take amazing photos, but rumors of it bending in user’s pockets have many question the phone’s build quality.

24 Comments

  1. Njoi Fontes

    09/25/2014 at 2:28 pm

    What a silly and biased review. You conveniently forget to mention how the lumia 1520 screen does considerably better outdoors with clearblack technology and the ability to automatically adjust to sunlight by going super bright. You are silly enough to assert that the lumia’s design is not forward thinking despite the fact that it is miles ahead of the iphone which has not changed since 2007 and In the end you have the nerve to say that the iphone is the best phablet despite it costing a lot more, having inferior hardware, no micro sd expansion and a clearly more boring and limited operating system. You are a joke

    Reply

  2. Dave LaPorta

    09/25/2014 at 4:31 pm

    Not as limited as Windows… And why would an SD card be a benefit? It’s separate from the main unit and would have a slower transfer rate to use or take advantage of it, yet I wonder what it would be needed for?

    Maybe you want to say something about sticking the card in your computer? What the difference from that versus just plugging the phone in…

    And before you say “fanboy” I got my wife a windows phone once… Blah, couldn’t do half the stuff my iPhone 4 could do… And likewise the 6 is much better than the 4.

    Ps with the lack of the SD card, it’s just one more thing I don’t have to lose, besides I noticed the Nokia can’t even handle 128gb… Some superiority..

    And since I hAve tried all of the operating systems personally, I can say Don’t knock till you try it.

    P.S. If Apple burned to the ground I would go android before windows… At least I could get most of my apps back.

    Reply

    • Njoi Fontes

      09/25/2014 at 5:54 pm

      Lol a “flagship” that costs 700$ or more and comes with 16 gb of non expandable storage, are you kidding me? Meaning it forces many people to pay even more just to get decent storage while apple is laughing all the way to the bank. “why would an sd card be a benefit” uau I can’t believe you asked that… I don’t know maybe its because it makes it cheap to go from 32 gb to 160 gb, and yes you can add 128 gb sd card … I know its hard but try to do your research next time. And yes being able to take a micro sd card from the phone and put it in a tablet/another phone/pc/camera is extremely convenient.

      Before windows phone 8.1 maybe you had an argument about apple having some (even if very limited) functionality over wp, but now? Are you kidding. ? You can’t even do basic things like file management, transfer any files though nfc and Bluetooth to ANY device. Not to mention that incredibly boring and outdated start screen that is nothing more than an app launcher. Windows phones are cheaper, have better cameras, screens with better outdoor visibility, have built in wireless charging, come with free built in office,offline maps, offline music and you can choose from a range of devices from low to very high end. Anyone who buys an iPhone nowadays is either ignorant or an idiot…

      Reply

    • goemonishikawa

      09/25/2014 at 7:39 pm

      Dave you have no idea what you talking about, 1520 will handle a 128G card with 8.1 update, optical image stabilization Nokia has had it for years, NFC give me a break old news, and lets not forget wireless charging. (expect on AT&T version). longer battery life..(A LOT LONGER). Four microphones that supporting stereo audio capture.
      ect,

      Do some basic research please!

      Reply

  3. Adrian Hennen

    09/25/2014 at 9:49 pm

    Dave, 128 GB SD cards have already been tested in the 1520 and they do work.

    I’m not exactly sure why Nokia doesn’t state this, but there’s most likely a limitation on which ones are compatible.

    Reply

  4. Brett

    09/25/2014 at 10:14 pm

    I have a 128 in my 1520 right now. This article leans so far over to Apples side that I would think you’re getting paid by them. I have an iPad mini also, and 90% of the time I reach for my Windows Phone to check anything. Since getting my 1520 my iPad has pretty much become a game pad. All work and other stuff I go for my WP. Love the Office and email setup. I like that its not metal and wont bend and is 10000 times more durable than an iPhone. I had a 4…dropped it once…from knee height and it broke the glass. I have dropped my 1520 a couple times and I dare you to find a mark. Seriously.

    Reply

  5. Richard

    09/26/2014 at 1:27 am

    The only advantage of the iphone is the number of apps in the store. The rest go to the lumia. Imaging technology, sound technology build quality, as well as the versatility are better on the lumia. By the way, it’s prettier as well, I have a white 1520, and the design was the first reason I bought it. As Samsung ads say about iphones, “It doesn’t take a genius…”.

    Reply

  6. dean

    09/26/2014 at 5:48 am

    I had an Iphone then a Galaxy and now a Lumia 1520 and i can say hands down it is much better than the previously mentioned! The only drawback as Richard mentions is the availability of some apps but that is changing on a daily basis! I’m not sure about you but my SD expansion sure comes in handy!

    Reply

  7. mkn

    09/26/2014 at 10:14 am

    Ok lets start by explaining to you apple heads why a SD card is a advantage. First of all removable storage from one device to another. Storing things like apps movies pictures files and music on the card rather than using up precious ram and space on the phone 3rd its way way cheaper a 64gig high quality card cost me 54 bucks a high quality 128 gig card will set you back about 150-200 bucks I bought a mint 1520 off contract for 300.00 I can slap a 128gig card in yes it will work and I now have a 144 gig phone for 500.00 or less and that memory can be used were ever you like not just in the phone you do realize the Lumia 1520 is yesterdays news its a year old yet the Lumia has a more powerful processor and 2 gigs of ram along with the exact same resolution with the exception of less PPI but only because it is a bigger screen. There is also alot of small hidden features as well that are far superior to the 6 plus. You want to talk about design ok lets talk about that the iPhone is almost the same size but has a smaller screen REALLY!!!!!! To say the Lumia is not forward thinking is just ridiculous Its a year old!!!!! There is nothing like it on the market it is a beautiful phone and apparently was built before its time because it is still competitive with the latest and greatest 1 year later more so than the Lumia Icon even. Like others have said ios might have had something on windows phone 8 but trust me when I tell you it has nothing on windows 8.1 and with gdr 8.1.1, denim and other updates coming the gap will grow even further. Apple has officially fallen to last place in innovation and hardware just face it.

    Reply

  8. dennisvjames

    09/26/2014 at 11:15 am

    Biased sensationalistic review. Sounds more like People Magazine than a real review. Please don’t waste my time with this kind of crap.

    That said, I’ve used all — Apple, Android, and Windows phone. Window Phone and Android are neck and neck with Window Phone edging out Android for business (plus I’ve spun my Nokia 920 across the floor several times with no harm — much less bending on a pocket).

    The iPhone is great and I applaud the updates to great phones…but not for me…

    Reply

  9. Dave LaPorta

    09/26/2014 at 5:31 pm

    See here is a nice thread we have made just to talk about our stuff… we all have our preferences, and it shows in this thread.

    I wanted the responses y’all put here, i need to keep up my game on tech, so ha ha y’all been awesome… As we look at all of the platforms, they ALL have advantages and disadvantages… example on an iPhone an SD card would be pointless, because all the videos (i haven’t really checked)come out in an apple format not compatible with just tossing it into something else.

    I am typing this on a Mac, i used to work for Apple, and i will tell you something, I not care who says it, the questions people call in with can be Whacky… I sort of thought the same thing when i got hired by Apple… oh its so simple…

    NOT… all of this integration with the other products, people can barely setup their mail sometimes, due to settings on the phone or the router or whatever else you can imagine….

    But when the 90 year old guy that just wants to read the New York Times and play Candy Crush on his iPad, unless his wife has stolen it from him has an issue, it can be a great feeling, knowing there is a really old dude that wants to play with a gadget and he is able to have some of the Joy on these devices we take for granted.

    Black White Purple

    Apple Windows Android

    they have ALL made our lives easier in many ways.. Instead of worrying about whose is better we should be happy they exist.

    Someone asked the other day why people go and Rip on other peoples phones, and my Response was “Because we can’t afford old muscle cars make them faster and talk $#!T about other peoples cars…LOL

    Last tech bit, some people say iOS is simple or restricted… it is not simple… Example Caller of mine had 3 different Gmail hosted accounts, and said iCloud lost all of his contacts… guess what his contacts were in Google, i can’t tell you the number on combinations people put their stuff in, then forget where stuff is.

    either way we should all be happy we have these things to have fun with and learn more about, and use our imagination and personality to make them OURS… you wanna talk about a restricted OS.. all i should say is Motorola Star-Tac…..lol

    Reply

  10. lol

    09/26/2014 at 5:33 pm

    Lol such a biased fan boy review trying not to sound like a fan boy.

    Reply

  11. dave

    09/26/2014 at 5:36 pm

    Dave Laporta sounds like a child and makes no sense lol.

    Reply

    • Me

      09/26/2014 at 5:44 pm

      Im not seeing much Bias in that review, may you 2 should grow up.

      Reply

  12. Aaron Abraham N

    09/26/2014 at 9:57 pm

    This review is very bad and ignores some advantages of Lumia 1520. It beats Iphone 6+ on screen size,SCREEN quality, memory, design (its more forward thinking than iphones design), camera, software (yes WP 8.1 is better than IOS 8), durability, and the best of all PRICE. tHIS IS WHILE HAVING EXTRA FEATURES LIKE wireless charging, sharing via Bluetooth, OFFLINE nav, third party access to NFC. Even after all this you consider Iphone 6plus to be better then good luck to you and whatever you are smoking.

    Reply

  13. Rodolfo

    09/26/2014 at 10:11 pm

    A VERY BIASED REVIEW.

    What a Joke.

    Anyway, IPHONE 6 had a new feature – iBEND.
    Literally, lol.

    Reply

  14. toby

    09/27/2014 at 12:35 am

    I understand that apple has it’s advantages. Yeah, popularity will make the NFC function more of a realistic option and the applepay is a result of such a large share of the market. IPhones are as prevalent as credit cards here… All that said, this review does have some shameless bias that ends up discrediting what could’ve been a reputable article. Being on a windows phone means I’m part of the 2-3% share the market, this leads to a lot of misconceptions and the Lumia is often underestimated for those reasons. If Microsoft chooses to improve, keep on a Nokia based road of innovation and, for the love of cortana, LISTEN to what their customers want, THEN we’ll see our windows phones take over. I still prefer windows phone over apple even as it is. Considering I’m part of a Microsoft ecosystem, it makes sense. Disappointed in the article. A missed opportunity to dig in and be not just honest, but well studied on the matter being discussed

    Reply

  15. joker

    09/27/2014 at 8:34 pm

    What a joke? No words to say…. Never visit again to this site.

    Reply

  16. Trov

    10/01/2014 at 1:34 pm

    If you’re thinking of upgrading to the iPhone 6 Plus – take a look at what you would be able to get for your 4S: http://trov.to/1vxcCxM

    Reply

  17. alan

    12/08/2014 at 9:56 pm

    What is this article all about? Are you a teenager? Simply ridiculous.
    First, Lumia is a year old phone, yet it kicks butt big time. Again, better screen, smoother OS, expendable battery etc. Lumia has a better, sharper camera, check the reviews and image samples.And it has a hgher resolution, of course. You can actually install apps on the SD card. Outdoor visibility is top nitch. It’s also a beautiful, elegant phone, unlike the trashy looking iPhone 6 with a sticky camera and ugly antenna bands. Delusional faboyism!

    Reply

  18. NA

    01/05/2015 at 6:49 am

    Adding some small info.

    Nokia 1520s touchscreen can also be used with gloves on. (High sensitivity touch)
    The microphones does not have problems with high volume recording like in concerts.
    All other phones has microphones that distorts/crashes.

    Reply

  19. Tekis

    09/18/2015 at 1:07 pm

    Today 18.09.2015 I ordered a brand new red Lumia 1520 and very exited to meet with this phablet. I am not interested in samsung galaxy note 5 and galaxy s 6 edge + and iphone 6 plus(market best sellers). My priorities are web browsing,listening music,you tube,and e mails so battery life is the major concern . I own an lg g2 for 18 months, hope to be happy with the new beauty for a long time.

    Reply

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