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Nokia Lumia 1520 review

Nokia Lumia 1520 front and back in yellow matte
Diyan
  • On February 9, 2014

Review Overview

Design
5.5
Display
9.5
Camera
8
Performance
10
83%

Rating

Nokia's first phablet shows great performance

Lumia 1520 is Nokia’s first effort to enter the so-called phablet market which Samsung first started to explore with its giant Galaxy Note. After Samsung giant smartphone, LG, Sony and other companies launched their alternatives in response. Nokia and Microsoft being well aware of the market potential started to work hard to develop its first Windows Phone model with a large screen in order to fill the gap in the Lumia portfolio and here it is – Lumia 1520, which is also the first Windows Phone, powered by a quad-core processor.

Design

At first look Nokia Lumia 1520 has a traditional design, similar to other Lumia phones launched in 2013. It is quite a big device with dimensions of 162.8 x 85.4 x 8.7 mm, so it is not easy to handle with one hand. Due to its large body, it requires two hands to use, while putting the phone into the pocket could make you feel a bit uncomfortable. The 1520 is made of a single piece of solid polycarbonate with glossy (red) or matte (white, black, yellow) finish.

design of Lumia 1520

Nokia Lumia 1520 packs a nice 6-inch display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, a 20MP PureView camera on the back and a fast quad-core Snapdragon processor at 2.2 GHz. Other features include wireless charging (not available in the AT&T version), 16 or 32 GB of inbuilt storage, 2 GB of RAM, plus 4G/LTE support.

Display

The 1520’s beautiful 6-inch screen offers deep blacks, bright and crisp picture, excellent outdoor visibility and super-sensitive response. The screen resolution is 1920x1080p which is not as high as other flagship devices, but it is still great (367ppi pixel density) and individual pixels are not visible. The display has all exclusive features developed by Nokia like ClearBlack polarization for improved visibility and the ability to use it with gloves. The screen has a bigger viewing area compared with other Lumia devices, thus it allows more content to be displayed or the same content at a bigger size, making it easier for eyes.

Camera

Nokia has scaled-down its impressive 41MP PureView sensor included in Lumia 1020 to 20MP for this model (1/2.5; f/2.4 aperture). At the same time, the flash is a dual-LED, compared with Xenon flash in the 1020. The changes have led to a much slimmer camera module, but certain compromises with its performance. The output is still great, but the camera is not as impressive as the 41MP in the Lumia 1020.  The 1520 camera shows great performance in most of the scenes and some pictures are even close to the output from the 1020.

camera comparison between Lumia 1020 and Lumia 1520

Other little annoyances include 2 second delay to start the camera, which could be annoying sometimes, especially if you miss the moment. Nokia Lumia 1520 comes with all software goodies available in the 1020 – Nokia Refocus, Nokia Camera, different photo-editing tools and RAW support. The 20-megapixel camera saves two versions of every picture- a 5MP for quick sharing and a 19 MP for post editing.

Software

This is the first Windows Phone with a 1080p screen and it comes with Lumia Black / GDR3 firmware update pre-loaded. The latest OS built brings several enhancements and new features such as improved glance screen, Bluetooth 4.0, double-tap to wake up and more. Microsoft has optimized its platform to work on larger screen devices, so the Lumia 1520 has an extra third column for Live Tiles on the Home screen. Despite the improvements, the giant display cannot really shines as the tiles and fonts have grown and there is empty space all over the start screen. Microsoft could have done more to optimize its platform in order to take advantage of the giant display.

Home screen and app lists of Lumia Windows Phone 8

The larger screen is perfect for gaming and watching videos, including high-res clips. There is no official YouTube app available, so users need to download some third-party application. At the end of 2013, Microsoft started a new service called Xbox Video. It lets users stream or purchase video content on a Windows Phone.

Performance

According to benchmarks, Lumia 1520 is more powerful than the previous flagship models like 1020, 925 and 920. The phone uses the same quad-core Snapdragon processor running at 2.2 GHz as the LG G2 and Nexus 5. That makes the Lumia 1520 flies on the efficient and resource-optimized Windows Phone platform. The processor power is evident in playing resource-consuming games, watching full HD clips and other daily tasks.

Nokia Lumia 1520 is fueled by a large 3400 mAh battery, which is a necessity due to the bright large display. The battery is good enough for a full day of moderate usage, but due to its size, it requires more time to be charged.

Wrap-up

With this model, Nokia and Windows Phone go big and they can finally compete against Samsung, LG and other manufacturers in this market segment. Nokia’s greatest feat with the Lumia 1520 can be found in the excellent screen and fast quad-core processor.

The major downside of the phone comes in the way of its size, as many users would have difficulties handling such a big handset. It isn’t comfortable to use or fit into the pocket and it doesn’t include stylus support, which makes the phone not as capable as the Samsung Galaxy Note 3.

However, the 1520 could be an excellent choice (and only option on the market) for all Windows Phone supporters around the globe who prefer big and bright screen, good camera and super-fast processor.

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