|Nokia Lumia 2520||Microsoft Surface 2|
|Body||267 x 168 x 8.9mm, 615g||275 x 172.5 x 8.9mm, 676g|
|Display||10.1" IPS ClearBlack 1920 x 1080 (218ppi) w/ Gorilla Glass 2||10.6" ClearType 1920 x 1080 (208ppi)|
|Storage||32 GB, 2 GB RAM||32/64 GB, 2 GB RAM|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi, GSM (2G), HSDPA (3G), LTE (4G)||Wi-Fi|
|Ports||microSD, USB 3.0||microSD, USB 3.0|
|Camera (Rear)||6.7 MP Zeiss Optics 1/3.4" sensor size with 1080p video||5 MP with LED Flash and 1080p video|
|Camera (Front)||2 MP with 720p video||3.5 MP with 1080p video|
|OS||Windows 8.1 RT||Windows 8.1 RT|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974 (Quad-core Krait 400 @ 2.2GHz + Adreno 330)||NVIDIA Tegra 4 T40 (Quad-core Cortex-A15 @ 1.9GHz + 72-core GeForce GPU)|
|Battery||Non-removable 8000 mAh||Non-removable 8500 mAh|
Something Nokia really needs to work on is its device nomenclature. Using a number, like 2520 or 1520, etc. can be really confusing, and doesn't really give the device an identity. I didn't know the 2520 was a tablet until I saw a picture of it, however, when I saw the iPad Air announcement, the name "iPad" immediately told me the device's form factor. If Nokia wants to become a truly popular brand once again, it needs to drop the numbers and start using names to identify their tablets, phablets and smartphones.
The specs of the Lumia 2520's display look somewhat unimpressive, but I can guarantee the screen looks much better in real life. The 10.1" screen size is, well, standard, unlike the Surface 2's maybe-too-large screen. Sure, the 1080p resolution isn't as whopping as those 2560 x 1600 Android tablets, and the 218ppi figure isn't as impressive as those 264ppi iPads and 299ppi Android tablets, but in reality the 2520' display looks very sharp.
But we know it's not just about pixel density, there are other factors too. The Lumia 2520's display has an overkill max brightness of 650 nits, much higher than the iPad's (and most other Android tablets') max brightness. That, coupled with the ClearBlack display reducing reflections on the screen, makes the Lumia 2520 the best tablet for outdoor usage.
Much like the Surface 2, the Lumia 2520 has a separate keyboard dock, however, while the Surface 2's docks are emphasize thinness, the Lumia's dock is actually much thicker. The upside of this? The Lumia 2520's dock has a built-in battery that can extend the tablet's battery life for up to five extra hours (according to Nokia). Still, they're both keyboard docks with trackpads that double as covers for their respective tablets' screens. It's actually very similar to the Power Cover that will be released for the Surface 2 in the beginning of 2014.
The design of the Lumia 2520 is reminiscent of other Lumia smartphones. Judging from a numerical standpoint, the 2520 is looking good for a Windows RT tablet. It's just as thin as the Surface 2, measuring 8.9mm thick, but it's appreciably lighter than the new Surface, weighing in at 615g (vs the Surface 2's 676g weight). While it's slightly thinner and lighter than last year's iPad 4, it, along with the vast majority of tablets, save for the Xperia Tablet Z, is no match for the svelte iPad Air. But while it may not be the thinnest or lightest tablet, it's definitely slim enough to comfortably use.
Like all other Lumias, the 2520's back is made of polycarbonate (read: plastic) and is available in four colors: glossy white and red and matte black and cyan. While the cyan and white colors give the tablet a more distinct, personalized look, the white and black versions are just downright stylish! It definitely feels slightly cheaper and less premium than the magnesium Surface 2 and the aluminium iPad Air, but that doesn't mean it's design isn't good. It's still definitely better than the faux leather back of the Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition and most other tablets on the market.
The slightly curved back makes the device feel thinner and more comfortable to hold. One striking aspect of the Lumia 2520 design is how clean the back looks. Other than a small Nokia logo at the center and the 6.7 MP at the top-left corner, the 2520 is devoid of any visual interruptions. The front of the device is also very clean. The bezels wrapped around the 10.1" display are neither too narrow nor too wide. Above the display is a 3.5 MP camera and below it is the usual capacitive Windows button.
At this point, we can't tell you exactly how fast the Lumia 2520 is since there are no benchmarks of the device yet. It Ok, we don't really need them to tell you the Lumia 2520 is blazing fast. A combination of the very well optimized WIndows RT interface and the most powerful mobile SoC to date, the Snapdragon 800, guarantee top-notch performance and fluidity for the Lumia 2520. It definitely has the processing power to run the Windows UI and first-party apps, including Office RT 2013, flawlessly. If you want to play games on the 2520, well that's what the Snapdragon 800 does best. While there are still not many games in the Windows Store, a few of the most popular iOS/Android games have been made available in the Windows Store (Fruit Ninja and Asphalt 7, for example), and the 2520 should be able to play any mobile game with perfect fluidity, thanks to the monstrous Adreno 330 GPU ticking inside it. The NVIDIA Tegra 4 SoC powering the Surface 2, while slightly less powerful, should still yield spotless performance in any usage scenario Windows RT offers, but still, the 2520 is definitely faster, if only by a small margin.
Battery life shouldn't be a big issue, either. I believe Microsoft still has some optimization ahead of it when it comes to making Windows RT truly power efficient, though. The Lumia 2520's 8000 mAh battery isn't perfectly adequate for its 1080p screen and monster SoC, but it should still get you through at least one day, depending on usage scenarios. Compared to the Surface 2, which has a similar display and a similar SoC (from a power standpoint), but has a larger battery (8500 mAh), you should get slightly less battery life on the 2520 than on the Surface 2, but the difference shouldn't exceed one hour. Of course, the smaller battery on the 2520 is one of the factors that gives it's big difference in weight from the Surface 2, so depending on your priorities it might be a reasonable trade-off.
Basically, the Lumia 2520 is a similar relative to the Surface 2, but with some key differences that will determine which is best for you. With the Lumia 2520, you get a very good rear camera, a slightly smaller display, a thinner chassis, the most powerful SoC so far and LTE connectivity for $499. With the Surface 2, you get a larger display, an overkill front-facing camera, a very powerful SoC and a bigger battery for $449. You just have to decide what is best for you. One other key difference is the good old plastic vs metal story. If you prefer a colorful, distinctive tablet, or if you like the Xperia Tablet Z-esque stylish subtlety, the polycarbonate Lumia 2520 is the tablet to get.
If, however, you prefer that premium, expensive feel of metal, the magnesium Surface 2 is best for you. The price difference of $50 could also be a factor to you, but don't forget that the Lumia 2520's $499 price tag comes with the luxury of LTE connectivity.
In reality, these two tablets compliment each other rather than compete (giving you the choice of magnesium vs plastic, Wi-Fi vs LTE, etc), so if you're on the market for a Windows RT tablet, these two are your best choices.