With an enormous 6-inch full-HD screen combined with a Snapdragon 800 and 2 GB RAM the Lumia 1520 is one of the fastest devices you can buy today.
The Lumia 1520 boasts a lot of firsts. It is the first full-HD device on the Windows Phone platform. It is also the first phablet from Nokia, and the first device to feature a quad-core processor from Qualcomm. With the Lumia 1520, Nokia has ensured that the Windows Phone platform has something on offer that goes head to head with the high-end devices on Android and iOS. And it has largely succeeded in doing so. The Lumia 1520 not only features the best hardware currently available, but also has a bold design that is unlike anything on Android or iOS. Nokia has had a storied history of creating some of the best-looking handsets to date, and with the Lumia 1520, it has shown that it still has the ability to push boundaries.
Design and screen quality
The Lumia 1520 is designed similarly to other devices in the Lumia series, but looks almost gargantuan thanks to its 6-inch screen. The device is constructed using the same polycarbonate material that Nokia has used before, and the result is a device that is an instant attention grabber. The device comes with hardware navigation buttons, with the Back and Search buttons on either side of the Home button.
Volume and power buttons are on the right of the device, along with a two stage camera shutter key. The left side features the nano-SIM card slot and the micro-SD slot. At the back, the camera lens protrudes slightly, so when you leave the Lumia 1520 flat on a table, it comes in contact with the surface.
The Lumia 1520 is quite comfortable to hold, but cannot be used one-handed. Carrying the device is also a bit of a hassle. But all that becomes insignificant the moment you switch on the screen. The 6-inch full-HD screen on the Lumia 1520 is one of the best there is. Colors are vivid and vibrant, and blacks are detailed. Nokia gives you the ability to tweak white balance and color saturation levels with the Lumia Color Profile settings utility. The 367 ppi pixel density makes the solid color-based Windows Phone UI seem incredible immersive. Viewing angles are also great, with minimal loss in clarity even when viewed from the extremes.
In addition, the Lumia 1520’s screen features Nokia’s ClearBlack technology that allows for better screen readability outdoors. The screen is coated with Corning’s Gorilla Glass 2 that adds a layer of scratch resistance. The screen also has an always-on mode, which is termed Glance Mode. Glance Mode allows you to quickly check the time as well as view unread messages and emails while the device is locked.
Hardware and performance
The Lumia 1520 is the best Windows Phone device there is. While the Lumia 925 featured a great design, it was ultimately let down by decidedly mid-range hardware. The Lumia 1020 was similarly limited by its hardware even though it featured one of the best cameras to be included on a mobile. There are no such limitations on the Lumia 1520. The Lumia 1520 comes with 2 GB RAM, Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 (MSM8974) SoC and 32 GB internal storage. The device has four Krait 400 cores that can be individually clocked to anywhere between 1.5 GHz to 2.2 GHz in addition to an Adreno 330 GPU.
The inclusion of high-end hardware means that the Lumia 1520 is blazing fast, and can hold its own against high-end Android handsets. It is in fact faster than other Android handsets that feature the Snapdragon 800 as Windows Phone is more efficient at managing resources. There is no lag when watching HD videos, nor is there any latency when playing resource hungry games like Modern Combat 4. HD videos and games look particularly incredible on the 6-inch full-HD screen.
The Lumia 1520 comes with Windows Phone 8 GDR3. One of the changes that we’ve seen with the Lumia 1520 is the ability to fit more Live Tiles on the start screen. The tiles can also be resized according to your needs. One of the major issues with the Windows Phone launcher is the fact that it doesn’t give you much in the way of organizing content. All utilities are sorted in an alphabetical list. Another issue is multitasking. While you can multitask, you don’t get to seamlessly switch between tasks as you would when using Android. There is also no single place to view all your notifications. However, all these issues are set to be fixed in the Windows Phone 8.1 update.
Windows Phone 8 GDR3 does come with a set of new features, like Data Sense, a utility that lets you view your data usage, Kid’s corner, a service that gives you the ability to password protects content and Driving Mode, a feature that lets you mute texts and calls when driving. Nokia exclusive utilities like Here location services bring a lot of added functionality to the device. The device also comes with a full-fledged Microsoft Office suite.
A lack of content isn’t a viable excuse for not considering Windows Phone devices anymore. Microsoft has actively focused on adding apps to the Windows Phone store, and has largely succeeded in doing so.
The Lumia 1520 comes with a 20MP PureView camera that has a sensor size of 1/2.5-inches. While the sensor size is a third of the imaging sensor used in the Lumia 1020, it does manage to deliver great results. There is no Xenon flash, but in its place Nokia included a dual-LED flash. The Lumia 1520 features Nokia’s Pro Camera, which is an imaging software that is designed to give you more control when it comes to taking images. The utility allows you to adjust white balance, ISO, shutter speed, focus and flash settings manually.
Every time you take an image, the camera takes two shots simultaneously. One is a full-resolution 19 MP image, and the other is a 5MP image that can easily be shared over social networks. In addition, the camera utility features a lot of effects like Burst Mode, Action Shot and Motion Focus. Burst Mode takes a set of 10 images in one go. Action Shot takes a series of images and then stitches them together into a single image. Motion Focus lets you focus on a single element in an image and blur the background. The Lumia 1520 also features Nokia’s Refocus lens that lets you change focus after taking the image. It works by taking many shots of the same image that focus on a different section of the image.
Image quality from the images taken on the Lumia 1520 is great. The images feature a lot of contrast and there is little to no amount of noise. The 5MP shots are also very detailed thanks to oversampling. The Lumia 1520 is similarly great at taking low-light images even though there isn’t a Xenon flash. The presence of OIS allows you to reduce jitter to a great extent from videos. The Lumia 1520 shoots full-HD video at 30 fps by default, but you can also shoot at 24 fps and 25 fps.
Battery life and connectivity
The Lumia 1520 comes with LTE Category 4, which allows you to download at 150 Mbit/sec. The device also works with legacy networks like HSDPA. The device also features dual-band Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, DLNA, Bluetooth 4.0 and NFC. There isn’t Miracast, but Nokia has an alternative in Nokia Beamer. Although the utility allows you to share your screen, it isn’t as seamless as Miracast as Beamer works via the Internet. You can use the service to send the Beamer URL via text messaging, email or social networks. Your friends will then be able to view your screen by accessing that URL.
The Lumia 1520 comes with a 3,400 mAh battery and features the Qi wireless charging standard, which means that it can be charged wirelessly. The energy efficient nature of the Windows Phone platform combined with the large battery mean that the Lumia 1520 lasts for two days of normal usage on a single charge. You get 12 hours of continuous video playback and 12 hours of browsing on LTE, which is astonishing considering the device comes with a 6-inch full-HD screen.
- Gorgeous 6-inch full-HD screen.
- High-end hardware and sturdy build quality.
- Great camera along with a strong set of software features.
- Decent battery life for a handset this big.
- Too big to carry around and make calls.
- At $700, the device is too costly.