[MWC 2013] Nokia Lumia 520 Hands-on: Compact Windows Phone 8 Package

We go hands-on with the new Nokia Lumia 520!
We go hands-on with the new Nokia Lumia 520!

Nokia Lumia 520 Initial Review

Our gadget reporting continues here at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain! As we said earlier, Nokia launched four new products during the opening day press conference. No less than Nokia CEO Stephen Elop took the stage. We were able to get some hands-on time with all four models and we’d like to kick things off with the newest and most affordable member of the Lumia family, the Nokia Lumia 520!

Nokia Lumia 520 Spec Sheet

  • 1GHz Dual-core Snapdragon S4 Processor
  • 512MB RAM
  • 8GB Internal Storage, expandable up to 64GB via microSD
  • 4-inches IPS display, WVGA 800×480 pixels (~235ppi)
  • 5-megapixel rear-facing camera with auto-focus
  • WiFi b/g/n, 3G connectivity, Bluetooth 3.0, GPS
  • 1,430mAh battery rating
  • Nokia HERE suite of apps pre-loaded
  • Windows Phone 8

It’s an Affordable Lumia

Nokia Lumia 520 in Cyan
Nokia Lumia 520 in Cyan

The Nokia Lumia 520 is priced at 139 Euros or roughly Php7,000-Php8,000. That makes it the most budget-friendly and value-driven Windows Phone 8 experience in the market today. Let me stress on the phrase “value-driven”. The Nokia Lumia 520 is a LUMIA device. It follows the beautiful design aesthetics of the entire Lumia line-up. The Lumia hardware combined with the Windows Phone 8 software as well as the Nokia exclusive apps really makes it a compelling proposition for open-minded consumers (some people will just insist Apple is king or Android is king without even testing out other devices).

The Lumia 520 is solid and compact in the hand (it’s just 9.9mm thick). It’s definitely easier to navigate with one hand compared to the other Windows Phone 8 Lumias. We’ve never had anything really bad to say about the chasis and hardware design of the Lumia and that holds true to the Lumia 520. This might be the best looking smartphone you can get for Php7,000-Php8,000.

Lumia 520 in yellow!
Lumia 520 in yellow!

When we were playing around with it we barely noticed any lag or delays. That’s probably due to the optimization of Microsoft of the Windows Phone 8 platform. Animations and transitions were smooth and fluid and I could barely tell the difference of the quality of the user experience when I put it side-by-side by HTC 8X which is a flagship Windows Phone 8 device (that’s a big compliment since we love the HTC 8X).

As for the exclusive Nokia apps we tested out Nokia Drive, Nokia HERE (will write more about this in a separate article), and Nokia Cinemagraph. High quality and reliable apps from Nokia that you can actually use and enjoy.

What’s the catch? What’s missing?

Obviously the Nokia Lumia 520 doesn’t do everything that the higher end models can. From what we’ve gathered the Lumia 520 does not have the following: NFC, front-facing camera, LED flash, and wireless charging capabilities. The battery is also a bit low at 1,430mAh but the good news is that the battery is removable so you can just bring extras with you if you’re a power user.

Photo taken during the Nokia press conference at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain
Photo taken during the Nokia press conference at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain

Initial Verdict: Great Entry-Level Windows Phone 8 Experience

While it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of top-of-the-line smartphones, it delivers well on the core services, it looks awesome, and it won’t leaving a burning hole in your pocket. The Nokia Lumia 520 is a great budget-friendly Windows Phone 8 smartphone and it might be a good starting point for people who are getting into smartphones for the first time or those who are tired already of Android, iOS, and BlackBerry.

I am personally looking forward to seeing this launch in the Philippines. Hopefully it won’t take too long though as it really took a while before the Lumia 620 and 820 came out locally and we still haven’t seen the 920 yet.

We love a good comeback. Unbox is rooting for you Nokia!
We love a good comeback. Unbox is rooting for you Nokia!

Carlo Ople

Carlo is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of During daytime he’s the Managing Director and Partner of a Digital Marketing Agency in the Philippines and by nighttime he’s living out his passion as a gadget enthusiast and story teller through Unbox.

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