Windows RT 8.1 Tablet Shootout: Nokia Lumia 2520 and the Surface 2

Yes, Microsoft is supposed to acquire Nokia's Devices and Services unit in the first quarter of 2014, but before that happens the two companies are technically competitors. This fall, they will release the only two new Windows RT 8.1 tablets planned for 2013. Microsoft just launched the Surface 2 today and a few hours ago Nokia announced the long rumored Lumia 2520 for a release later this year.

While both tablets are running Windows RT 8.1, there are actually quite a few differences between the Lumia 2520 and the Surface 2 in terms of hardware features. Here's a quick look at some of the more important comparison points:

Spec Surface 2 Nokia Lumia 2520
Display 10.6 inches with 1920x1080 resolution 10.1 inches with 1920x1080 resolution
Weight 676 grams 615 grams
Color Silver Black, Red, White and Cyan
Storage 32 or 64GB + (microSD card up to 64GB) 32GB + (microSD card up to 32GB)
Memory 2GB 2GB
Processor Quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 4-1.7 GHz Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800-2.2 GHz
Cameras 5 megapixel rear camera, 3.5 megapixel front camera 6.7 megapixel rear camera; 2 megapixel front camera
Battery Life: Up to 10 hours Up to 11 hours
Accessories Touch Cover 2 ($119.99), Type Cover 2 ($129.99), Power Cover and Docking Station (both not yet released) Battery keyboard cover ($149.99); adds five hours of battery life
LTE support None (coming in 2014) Yes
Price $449 for 32GB, $549 for 64GB (USD) $499 (USD)
Availability Now Before end of 2013

It's way too soon to offer a final verdict on this shootout as the Lumia 2520 isn't due to be released for at least a few more weeks. However, on paper the Nokia tablet does have some features that could cause some people who have been thinking about getting the Surface 2 to wait until both products are on sale.

Image via Microsoft and Nokia.

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Since Microsoft will own the Nokia tablet and the Surface 2 the stakes will be even higher. Microsoft will not only have one tablet that could bring in potentially bad sales but now two. I do really hope Windows RT in general does succeed because its a really a great OS and offers a much richer and advanced experience than its competitors.

I disagree. Now days I am always at a location where there is WiFi so I would never pay for LTE when I can get free WiFi. Microsoft even did a study and that is what they concluded too. However, having it as an option for those who want it would be nice. You can always use an LTE USB dongle when you need LTE because WiFi is not available.

That's largely an exaggeration... Wifi covers very very little of the world, so if you're traveling or on business, you can't possibly rely on coffee shops to get connected. There's a huge need for LTE especially in the business place.

I still disagree. You and I both live in the U.S. which is really spread out compared to Europe where most people live in dense cities and yet I always can find WiFi no matter where I go. Yes there is no WiFi while traveling on the highway but since I would be driving and I am rarely on a highway I don't have that problem. I can't speak for WiFi in Europe but I am making a good assumption they have WiFi everywhere. I suppose if we include South America jungles and Africa desserts then yes people do need LTE. If it is even available. What is funny though is that I have no WiFi access here at my work location. Maybe you are right.

So how is Wifi everywhere getting you into wifi? do you think they all install a open wifi access point for you to use? do you think people are brave enough to router their wifi traffic just through any network? I wouldn't.

Not all Wifi networks are open but pretty much everywhere I go there is an open network. I do not do anything I want to be secure on a free Wifi network. I am not worried people sitting on the other side of the room are out to get into my Facebook profile /s

Tough one, the Surface has an über body but the Surface RT (1st gen) has a very reflective screen + it shuts down (overheating protection) when you try to sit outside in the hot sun. Nokia stated theirs is always readable (having a Lumia 620 I tend to believe them) and hopefully that also means their thermal design is with this use-case in mind.

The spec sheet seem to say that the Nokia does have MicroSD slot.... Is that true?

Did not catch that in the video review I saw.

TruckWEB said,
The spec sheet seem to say that the Nokia does have MicroSD slot.... Is that true?

Did not catch that in the video review I saw.


Yes both the 2520 and the 1520 have Micro SD

Some additional features straight from Nokia's site.

SIM card type: Micro SIM
Charging connectors: 2.5 mm Charging Connector
AV connectors: 3.5 mm audio connector, HDMI-D (micro)
System connectors: Micro-USB-AB
USB: USB 3.0
Bluetooth: Bluetooth 4.0
Wi-Fi: WLAN IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n
WLAN Security: WPA2-Personal, WPA2-Enterprise
NFC: Sharing, Pairing

That's not enough to make me spend $50 more for the 2520 but I think it's safe to say that both tablets are a good choice.

Theres about 17/18GB free. If you remove the Windows recovery partition (or put it on a USB stick instead) you get atleast 20GB free.

But remember that you can always use a SD card or any other USB external storage.

I still have 18GB of free space on my Surface RT 32GB with some installed apps. I also have a 32GB microSD card for my media. I don't need more for now....

Nokia should have launched a smaller tablet, just to shut those people up. I still don't see the need for such a small device in the grand scheme of things, but oh, well.

Snapdragon 800 and Tegra 4 are pretty much the same with performance. You'd never notice a difference with either. But for an extra $50 you get LTE with Nokia and slightly longer battery life (possibly, waiting for actual tests to confirm).

LTE/power dock are both coming to Surface 2, so I'd rather save the money and put it towards the power dock - which supposedly adds 50% more battery life (so ~5 hours)

Two damn fine tablets to choose from.. why do people make this appear like a bad thing for the platform? Been waiting on this Lumia tablet, i need to see if the MS store will have one to play with and i'd be interested in seeing 3d benchmarks comparison of the two now that the 3dmark app is out

Thief000 said,
I agree with you, but GPS,NFC and LTE make the 2520 win it for me though.

GPS could be handy, but i already have a phone.. NFC, i've never used once and LTE, i don't want another monthly service plan, wifi works.. but, i don't speak for everyone and now with win8.1 the ability to use bluetooth gps devices, nfc receivers and lte modems through api's means those things could be used even on older surface