The Nokia Lumia 1520 is the company's first phablet but we're not saying that to set the scene for a softer verdict. On the contrary, an evolutionary leap for Windows Phone in terms of both hardware and software, the Lumia 1520 is a phablet worth having. No need to heap praise when it's as simple as that.
By the way, one can say the same for at least a couple of Microsoft-powered smartphones (mostly Finnish-made in honesty). No, Windows Phone isn't the most popular mobile OS and not as rich as the competition in apps and games, but it has value-adding features that are either unique or which require extra purchases over at the competition's camp.
It almost looks like Nokia and Microsoft were trying to impress each other at who can heap more goodies on the Lumia 1520. The global life-time voice-guided navigation license, the amazing imaging skills and Nokia Music against Microsoft Office, SkyDrive integration and Xbox.
To make it even better, this friendly competition was taken to the next level with Microsoft finally enabling support for high-res screens and the latest-generation of chipsets. As a result, the Lumia 1520 isn't all PureView camera but can flex its computing muscle right in the face of a bunch of incredulous droids. And what a bunch that is!
The Samsung's Galaxy Note 3, the last descendant of the product family that started it all, is deservedly at the top of the list. It's powered by the same Snapdragon 800 chipset and flaunts a 5.7" Super AMOLED screen and a solid 13MP cam. What certainly sets the Note 3 apart is the S-Pen pressure-sensitive stylus support, on top of an already feature-rich TouchWiz. At almost €200 cheaper than the Nokia phablet, the Galaxy Note 3 is probably the device the Lumia 1520 should be worried about the most.
The HTC One Max is the obvious match for size, though with a tad smaller 5.9" display and powered by the previous generation Snapdragon 600. It is made entirely of metal, comes with massive front stereo speakers and offers buttery-smooth Android experience. HTC One Max's camera is clearly inferior to the Lumia 1520's, so if you are after top notch imaging, with the One Max you would be looking in the wrong place.
The recently released Oppo N1 is a more likely competitor in cameraphone terms, and one that costs considerably less. Just like the HTC One Max, the Oppo N1 has a 5.9" 1080p display and is powered by the Snapdragon 600 chipset, but comes with a few unique features: a swivel 13MP camera, a rear touchpad and the O-Click remote.
The Sony Xperia Z Ultra has the high-end Snapdragon 800 ticking inside and isn't afraid to push phablet boundaries with its 6.44" display. The Xperia Z Ultra is IP58-certified for water and dust resistance, something no other phablet can match. Unfortunately, the ample bezels around the screen make the Sony phablet particularly hard to carry around despite its marvelously slim waistline. The camera is rather disastrous too.
This isn't about whether or not the Nokia Lumia 1520 is the best phablet on the market. Rome wasn't built in a day and it will certainly take more than one attempt to knock the Galaxy Note 3 off its perch. But Nokia has surely done well - the Lumia 1520 a device that can potentially interest more people than most phablets usually would.
Nokia may be heading for the exit but the legacy of achievement left behind wouldn't have been as great without the Lumia 1520. Yet, the 1520 will go down in history as the one that challenged the droids in a way no one thought possible. A way that makes you cringe at the thought that there might never be another phablet carrying that brand.