Nokia Lumia 1520 preview: Second encounter

GSMArena team, 15 November 2013.
Pages: 1234567


Lagging behind Android in hardware specs for what seemed like ages, WP8 managed to catch up in one fell swoop. With the Lumia 1520 at the spearhead, Nokia evened the playing field with a massive 1080p screen and a Snapdragon 800 chipset, then tilted it in its favor with a 20MP OIS-enabled PureView camera.

The Nokia Lumia 1520 in white, red and yellow

The Lumia 1520, along with the midrange Lumia 1320, are the first Nokia-made phablets and the first for Windows Phone 8 altogether. The 1320 has last year's hardware though, unlike the Lumia 1520, which is virtually on par with the best Android flagships.

Nokia Lumia 1520 at a glance

  • Dimensions: 162.8 x 85.4 x 8.7 mm, 209g
  • Display: 6" ClearBlack IPS display of 1080p resolution, Gorilla Glass 2, 367ppi
  • Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 800; quad-core Krait 400 at 2.2GHz, Adreno 330 GPU, 2GB RAM
  • OS: Windows Phone 8 GDR3 with Nokia Black
  • Camera: 20 MP, Carl Zeiss optics, optical image stabilization, autofocus, LED flash, PureView technology
  • Video camera: 1080p @ 30fps video capture with main camera
  • Storage: 32GB built-in, microSD card slot with support of up to 64GB, 7GB SkyDrive cloud storage
  • Connectivity: NFC, A-GPS+GLONASS, WLAN (2.4/5Ghz) a/b/g/n/ac, microUSB 2.0, BT 4.0 LE
  • Battery: 3,400mAh with built-in wireless charging (Qi compatible)
  • Misc: Nokia Camera app, FM Radio, built-in accelerometer, multi-touch input, proximity sensor

Windows Phone's market share is rising - it's a distant third at the moment - but it's the low-end devices like the Lumia 520 making up the bulk of that growth. Meanwhile flagships have failed to make much of a splash and even the Lumia 1020 isn't exactly flying off the shelves. Can the 1520 be the first flagship WP8 device to claim a piece of market share matching its size?

It certainly has all the right ingredients. Windows Phone is known for simplicity and efficiency - it runs smoothly on much less powerful hardware and doesn't bury you under a mountain of gimmicky features like some Android smartphones do. The Lumia 1520 does pack the latest Windows Phone 8 updates - GDR3 and Nokia Black, so there are further improvements over previous WP devices we've handled.

The screen is pleasantly crisp - only made possible by the jump to 1080p resolution - and features Nokia's ClearBlack tech, which provides some of the best viewing under direct sunlight. The Nokia PureView camera is equally responsible for some of the best cameraphone experience ever.

Nokia Lumia 1520 Preview Nokia Lumia 1520 Preview Nokia Lumia 1520 Preview Nokia Lumia 1520 Preview
Nokia Lumia 1520 in our office

In terms of imaging, this is midway between the Lumia 1020 and the 920. The sensor is bigger than most, but not so big that it takes a hump to accommodate, while it still packs enough resolution for Nokia's supersampling magic. There's optical image stabilization too, which is a confident display of superiority over the non-stabilized cameras on competing phablets. There's no xenon flash on the Lumia 1520, but that would have required room for another bulky component.

Software is the only place the Nokia Lumia 1520 can stumble - WP8 is still young compared to Android and iOS, which have been around for a few years longer. But before we have a look at that, we'll discuss the hardware and the screen of Nokia's phablet on the next page.

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