Full Review: Nokia Lumia 1520
One of the criticisms thrown against Nokia Lumia devices was that they used “outdated” processors to power their devices. Having been a Nokia Lumia users for the longest time, we don’t think this has real merit since previous flagships like the 920, 925, and 1020 all ran perfectly well with the specs that they had. Microsoft and Nokia really did a great job with optimizing the software so that it could operate smoothly and fluidly on the chipset they put in it.
If Nokia and Microsoft delivered a great user experience with dual-core processors, what more with the latest chipsets out there? And that’s the reason why we were so stoked when we first heard of the specifications of the new Nokia Lumia 1520! The 6.0-inch Full HD beast ran on the latest 2.2GHz Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor paired with 2GB of RAM making it the most specced out Lumia ever shipped! We’ve actually been using it for the last month already and we’d like to share with you guys our full review. 🙂
Nokia Lumia 1520 Spec Sheet
- 2.2GHz Quad-core Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 800
- Adreno 330 Graphics
- 2GB RAM
- 32GB Internal Storage, Expandable via MicroSD Card
- 6.0-inches IPS LCD ClearBlack Display, 1920 x 1080 Resolution (367 pixels per inch)
- Corning Gorilla Glass 2
- 20.0-megapixels primary camera, Carl Zeiss Optics (1/2.5 sensor size), OIS, Auto Focus, dual-LED Flash
- 1.2-megapixels secondary camera
- 3G, HSPA+, LTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Dual Band, WiFi Hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, FM Radio
- Windows Phone Black OS
- 3400mAH battery
To those wondering, the Nokia Lumia 1520 is not yet officially available in the Philippines. Online stores like Kimstore are selling them but we did hear that the local launch is just a week or two away! Anyway, on to the review!
It’s Definitely a Phablet
First let’s get to the obvious. The Nokia Lumia 1520 is massive with it’s 6.0-inch display. A phablet through and through, people with small hands might even mistake it for a tablet than a smartphone! This is the kind of device that will be hard to slip in one’s pocket (unless you have big ones) and probably best carried either in your hand or in a bag.
Fortunately Nokia was able to keep the Lumia 1520 as very slim making it more manageable to use and hold. We also loved it how they made the sides curved which is great for the palm because there are no sharp edges that will bite into one’s flesh. The back has the same polycarbonate smooth matte finish that we saw with the Nokia Lumia 1020 (no more glossy plastic here folks).
The unibody construction doesn’t allow for removable back plates. The nano-SIM card and micro SD card ports are situated along the sides, covered with a flap that needs to be unlocked with the pin key included in the box. All the other usual stuff like the micro USB port, power lock, volume rocker, and camera shutter key can also be found in their usual places.
One of the Best Displays We’ve Ever Seen
While the body construction is impressive already, the real beauty and value of the Nokia Lumia 1520 surfaces when you turn the screen on. The 6.0-inch Full HD IPS ClearBlack display is insanely stunning and we can easily (without any hesitation) say that it’s one of the best displays ever made for a smartphone or phablet.
The live tiles literally come to life when you unlock the phone. It’s actually fun re-arranging, designing, and personalizing the lay-out and functionalities of the home screen of the Lumia 1520. Because of the larger screen real estate, you actually have more space for more tiles in your screen compared to the smaller Lumias.
Hardware and build? Superb. Display? Perfect. Now let’s move on to the performance.
Blazing Fast Windows Phone Experience
The Nokia Lumia 1520 is no slouch as it is powered by the 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor. Because of this, the Windows Phone experience on the Nokia Lumia 1520 is unbelievably smooth, fluid, and seamless. In the last month we’ve never seen a lag spike yet or any traces of slow-downs. Core functions such as messaging, calling, contacts, and calendars worked wonderfully!
Given the power, we started to play more games on this device compared to our previous Lumia phones. We were initially worried at the limited selection of good titles on the Windows Phone Store but apparently Microsoft and Nokia have been very aggressive recruiting developers lately. Almost all the top games of Game Loft are already on the store, including our favorite time waster, Minion Rush!
Unfortunately there’s no Dead Trigger 2 or NBA 2K14 yet but with the steadily growing base of Windows Phones users worldwide it’s really only a matter of time before they jump in. Most of the bigger names are actually already represented on the store: messaging apps (Line, WeChat, etc), Instagram, Waze, Vine, and many more are all available for download already.
In short, if you’re not a heavy gamer, most of what you’ll need is already available on the Windows Phone platform. This is definitely great news since this opens up smartphone options for everyone and we’re no longer limited to picking between the latest iPhone or the barrage of Android devices offered by local and international manufacturers.
More Customization with the Latest Update
The recent wave of updates on apps, most specifically the major update done for Facebook on Windows Phone, also made the Live Tiles feature of the device more relevant and useful. Before you could only have one live tile displaying notifications for Facebook. Now you can actually pin different parts of Facebook and resize them on your home screen. Based on what we’ve seen so far you can create Live Tiles for messages, groups, fan pages, and personal pages. Pretty nifty.
You can also continue pinning your favorite sites so that with just one tap you can easily go to them on the default browser.
These developments are definitely very much welcome and we think it’s the right step forward for the Windows Phone platform. Hopefully more developers take advantage of the Live Tiles for their apps!
Crazy Good Media Player
The 6.0-inch Full HD IPS ClearBlack display combined with the powerful external speakers on the Nokia Lumia 1520 makes it one of the best portable media players you can ever have. It can easily play 720p or 1080p content and the fact that you have 32GB internal storage (expandable via microSD card up to 64GB) gives you so much space to store your favorite movies, TV series, or home videos.
The built-in jukebox (music player app) of the Nokia Lumia 1520 also looked great and was very intuitive. More than the aesthetics though it’s good to note that the audio processor in the device is very good. You don’t have to crank to volume all the way up and still feel as if it’s lacking (which is what you usually get with Android devices).
Over-all when it came to performance we can honestly say that we got premium/flagship level that we would get with the best offerings of other Android handsets. When it came to the user experience we have a novel and refreshing breath of fresh air since it’s different compared to the usual UI of Android or iOS.
PureView Quality Camera
If there’s one thing that Nokia has really excelled in the past, it’s with their cameras on their smartphones. Their Pureview technology isn’t just hot air. The optics are really good since not only can they do a decent job in capturing images in low light, but the color reproduction and detail in medium-good lighting is also topnotch.
The Nokia Lumia 1520 doesn’t have the same 41-megapixel shooter as the Lumia 1020 but it can definitely hold its own and go head-to-head with the shooters of other flagships.
Here are some sample shots:
We’ll upload the full resolution files on Flickr soon so you can also peruse the full-sized images.
Outstanding Battery Life!
Armed with a big 3,400mAh battery, the Nokia Lumia 1520 also didn’t disappoint in battery life. With heavy use (LTE in and out of the day) we were consistently able to hit 10-11 hours. With medium usage we extended it to 14-15 hours. With light usage we had it on for a full two days. The Nokia Lumia 1520 can go the distance just make sure you manage Location (turn it off when not needed) and keep brightness to low/medium.
Verdict: You Can Switch to This
So what’s our final verdict? This is the best Windows Phone to date! Not only that, it has one of the most beautiful displays we’ve ever seen on a phablet. It also sports the best camera ever on a device that’s more than 5.0-inches. It’s also great to note that the Windows Phone app ecosystem has grown a lot in the last few months and will continue to do so.
If you’re looking for a phablet the Nokia Lumia 1520 is a strong contender that we whole-heartedly recommend.