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Nokia Lumia 1520 Preview

Posted: , by Victor H.

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Our Nokia Lumia 1520 Review is now published - click here to read it.

Interface and Functionality


The Nokia Lumia 1520 is the first Windows Phone phablet and it is a great example of how the platform makes use of the extra screen space. You can now fit more, much more Live Tiles and text is larger everywhere. While smaller Windows Phones fit 4 small icons, here you can get 6 small tiles in a single row on the interface.

The Lumia 1520 runs on the latest Windows Phone 8 Update 3 (aka GDR3) and it also has the Nokia Black update thauetooth 4.0 LE support. We are glad to see the most up-to-date version of Windows Phone here. Update 3 adds a lot of small improvements like custom notification tones, rotation lock and a new Driving mode. To the untrained eye, though, it’s hard to see any difference between this latest version and earlier Windows Phone 8 versions. Live Tiles still come in three sizes (we really wish there was an even large tile size that would fit an entire horizontal block on the Lumia 1520), the app drawer is still a vertically scrollable list of names, and there’s still no notification center.

Customization options on the Windows Phone 8 Lumia 1520 are limited to changing Tile Sizes and colors. You can also have at-a-glance clock on the lock screen and double tap to wake up the phone, but all these draw additional battery.

We like the selection of first-party apps on Windows Phone. Having mobile Office right out of the box is a huge plus. Since this is a Nokia phone, you also get some very neat applications that other Windows Phone handsets do not have. Nokia Drive with free offline turn-by-turn navigation and Nokia Music with its great free music streaming option are on board.

Basic functionality is also well covered with a phone app that integrates your social news circles (Facebook and Twitter) and contacts, and for texting you have an extremely large version of the stock keyboard that is a joy to type on.

Processor and Memory


The Lumia 1520 is the first Windows Phone device to ship with a quad-core processor. Under its hood is the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 system chip, the same piece of silicon you can find on the current crop of Android devices like the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. It’s a 28nm architecture allowing the quad-core processor to hum at up to 2.2GHz speed, and it comes with Adreno 330 graphics and 2GB of RAM.

Our initial experience is positive as everything seems to move quicker. Animations however still take up way too long often times and compared with Android and iOS nearly everything takes a bit longer on Windows Phone, even on this fastest representative of the platform. We’d still reserve our ultimate judgment for the final review, though.

Internal storage comes at the fairly generous 32GB and it’s also expandable via microSD cards of up to 64 gigs, so it should be enough to satisfy even the most storage-hungry users.

Internet and Connectivity


Accessing the web on a Windows Phone device happens exclusively via Internet Explorer and the Lumia 1520 is no exception. We don’t like the lack of choice, but luckily mobile IE is a good browser on its own and with 4G LTE on board surfing the web is a pleasure.

The first Nokia phablet ticks all connectivity boxes: dual-channel Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 with LE support (courtesy of the Nokia Black update), NFC and GPS with Glonass.

You should keep in mind that the Lumia 1520 is an AT&T exclusive in the US and it won’t support 4G LTE bands on other carriers.

46 Comments
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posted on 14 Nov 2013, 09:34 10

1. Epicness1o1 (Posts: 215; Member since: 30 May 2013)


When I hear 20 MPx camera with Carl Zeiss...yup no words for that just AWESOME!

posted on 14 Nov 2013, 11:26 16

14. sri_tech (Posts: 188; Member since: 21 May 2013)


Why author mentions many times that its very big. shockingly big etc..

Note 3 is also very big and you cant use it with single hand unless you have huge hands.

People who wants huge phones know this but they still buying them because they are OK about these limitations.

May be these tech bloggers should concentrate on how the device works in every other aspects because users know about the size already.

posted on 14 Nov 2013, 18:55

26. RoyalPayne (banned) (Posts: 458; Member since: 07 Aug 2013)


Very well said!

posted on 14 Nov 2013, 23:13

34. kirholstov (Posts: 137; Member since: 28 Jun 2012)


Yeah, actually I tried to use a Note 3 in a shop with one hand and I succeded! You should really just go and try to use a phone with a big screen. But Galaxy Mega and Z Ultra are too big even for me.

posted on 15 Nov 2013, 02:43

37. adecvat (Posts: 136; Member since: 15 Nov 2013)


Lumia 1520 is much bigger than Note 3 and you can use Note in one hand.

posted on 17 Nov 2013, 11:41

46. Bilpocalypse (Posts: 301; Member since: 13 Oct 2012)


The Lumia 1520 is roughly the same size as the Galaxy Mega. It is "shockingly" big, but that will not keep me from getting one.

posted on 15 Nov 2013, 02:47

38. adecvat (Posts: 136; Member since: 15 Nov 2013)


20mpix?
What is wrong with 1520 camera - purple skies, purple video, shaky video and lazy autofocus. Shame.

posted on 16 Nov 2013, 03:50

42. hmmm... (Posts: 61; Member since: 05 Jun 2013)


You didn't bother to read the previous article? The pictures here are the same ones in a previous article. Which was taken on a cloudy fall day if you read the previous article, so of course it isn't blue. If a phone shows beautiful blue skies when the skies are covered by clouds, then it isn't doing it's job well. Lumia does quite well here considereing how little light there is.
http://www.phonearena.com/news/Nokia-Lumia-1520-samples-show-off-its-20-megapixel-PureView-camera_id49311

posted on 14 Nov 2013, 09:36 3

2. oNEWorld (Posts: 140; Member since: 01 Aug 2013)


looks okay, just wish Nokia would change up their design a bit. Its getting old.

posted on 14 Nov 2013, 09:48 5

8. fouadqr (Posts: 311; Member since: 21 Nov 2012)


the next lumias will have a metal body with new disign

posted on 14 Nov 2013, 10:13 1

9. oNEWorld (Posts: 140; Member since: 01 Aug 2013)


good! they stuck with this design for too long.

posted on 14 Nov 2013, 11:28 1

15. sri_tech (Posts: 188; Member since: 21 May 2013)


I hope they don't change it.

Most people don't get bored with phones designs quickly. Otherwise iPhones won't still sell well with the same design for 4 years.

posted on 14 Nov 2013, 18:57 2

27. RoyalPayne (banned) (Posts: 458; Member since: 07 Aug 2013)


oNEWorld i actually love this design, I had an eyegasm wen i first saw it! But respect ur opinion.

posted on 15 Nov 2013, 09:13 1

39. utg001 (Posts: 31; Member since: 15 Nov 2013)


for me, the Lumia 800 is still a sensual eyegasm, I wish they had a WP8 device with all design aesthetics of L800.

posted on 14 Nov 2013, 09:36 2

3. mahmood74 (Posts: 14; Member since: 24 Jul 2013)


Good i want lumia 1520

posted on 14 Nov 2013, 09:38 5

4. ArtSim98 (Posts: 3217; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)


That thing is just awesome!

posted on 14 Nov 2013, 09:38 1

5. GrapeEyes (Posts: 248; Member since: 01 Sep 2013)


If Jesus was to return, he will use a Nokia Lumia 1520 :)

posted on 14 Nov 2013, 23:35

35. Ikechukwu (Posts: 147; Member since: 03 Oct 2011)


hahahahahahahahahaha!!!! :)

posted on 14 Nov 2013, 09:45

6. fouadqr (Posts: 311; Member since: 21 Nov 2012)


PA..when you review the lumia 1520 ..make sure to use red or yellow :/ not black !

posted on 14 Nov 2013, 09:47 3

7. jove39 (Posts: 1320; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


I like this device...its Nokia's first and excellent attempt in phablet category...I may own a Nokia device in future when WinRT and WinPhone merge at some time in future...for now...I am sure 1520 will make a excellent gift for WP buffs.

posted on 14 Nov 2013, 10:19

10. Kishin (Posts: 635; Member since: 30 May 2013)


I will wait to see a full review when the black update hits windows

posted on 14 Nov 2013, 10:50 2

11. MojoDojo (Posts: 83; Member since: 11 Jul 2013)


- "All this weight is distributed unevenly as the bulkier top overweighs the bottom where you hold the device, so you should be extra careful when you hold the device with one hand - a few times we almost dropped the device as it started tipping over"

It's called physics, not the weight is unevenly distributed! The phone would obviously tip over if you keep your hand on the down part. Its a big phone.

According to your reasoning, Nokia should distributed most of the weight in the down part of the phone so it does not tip over.

posted on 14 Nov 2013, 11:17

12. lifeyourlive (Posts: 126; Member since: 23 Aug 2013)


This for me is one of the most beautiful phones both on the outside and inside aswell. Too bad it doesnt run android as stock OS

posted on 14 Nov 2013, 11:22 2

13. QWIKSTRIKE (Posts: 909; Member since: 09 Mar 2010)


There are many Android Phablets, and trust me Windows OS is about to make waves. I love Android own GS3, and Now a Nexus 5, and my future holds a Note 4, which very well could be my last Android device if windows 9 does what it should. I see myself realisticly owning an Android, and a Windows phone at the smae time.

posted on 15 Nov 2013, 00:34 1

36. alexfiran (Posts: 40; Member since: 13 Jun 2013)


wp 9 will be incredible..even 8,1 is outstanding..i have the biggest confidence in wp..even if now i,m using android

posted on 15 Nov 2013, 17:38

41. QWIKSTRIKE (Posts: 909; Member since: 09 Mar 2010)


I agree, and I have been saying it for 2 years now, when it was unpopular. The Samsung Focus was smooth with live tiles, and I said that when this starts to mature it will be a force to be reckoned with.

The live tiles were smooth and had an appealing look. The phone was its draw back. Nokia is firing on alll cylinders with this!

posted on 14 Nov 2013, 12:04 1

16. Altair (Posts: 337; Member since: 02 Feb 2012)


What is going on, Victor H is actually writing kinda objective and good review? I am used to see him doing anti-Nokia articles for years!

Don't forget 4x HAAC microphones which makes this devices the best in audio recording and calling quality.

posted on 17 Nov 2013, 03:42

45. EasycapExpertti (Posts: 16; Member since: 12 Nov 2012)


I agree this was the first good preview by Victor H about Nokia devices - now he even mentioned HAAC microphones which he didn't mentioned before with Nokia 808 PureView and Nokia Lumia WP8 phones (there is HAAC mics with all Nokia Lumia WP8 phones except Lumia 520/521). Here is what Victor H wrote in this preview about HAAC mics of Lumia 1520:
"Sound recording is superb on the Lumia 1520. The handset features four HAAC (High Amplitude Audio Capture) microphones that are able to record a higher sound amplitude. That should come particularly handy for club and concert goers as recordings there will turn out actually completely usable and much cleaner than on a regular smartphone that at high volumes records almost useless crackling sounds."

posted on 14 Nov 2013, 12:07

17. Gemmol (Posts: 546; Member since: 09 Nov 2011)


I better get mines on launch day, so Microsoft change those words saying back order under my preorder, I do not like to see words like that

posted on 14 Nov 2013, 12:19

18. DAddYE (Posts: 48; Member since: 04 Oct 2013)


If only will be able to run Android or anything else than Windows...

posted on 14 Nov 2013, 13:34 4

19. QWIKSTRIKE (Posts: 909; Member since: 09 Mar 2010)


Android is not superior to the full Windows OS bud. Don't get me wrong I ditched the Pocket PC for Android with the EVO 4G and owna GS3, and a Nexus 5. However; being a Windows 8 PC builder/user the OS is starting to make great strides. When WP9 comes out and unifies the desk top and phone you and many other will eat those words!

posted on 14 Nov 2013, 13:50

20. DAddYE (Posts: 48; Member since: 04 Oct 2013)


Don't get me wrong, I like it a lot, I tried a WP7 for a week, indeed, awesome UI, smooth etc...

I'm a dev too, but I ditch anything isn't *unix just because I've my stuff that I may run on it.

posted on 14 Nov 2013, 14:01

21. QWIKSTRIKE (Posts: 909; Member since: 09 Mar 2010)


I completely understand your position.

posted on 14 Nov 2013, 14:22

22. GeekMovement (Posts: 1519; Member since: 09 Sep 2011)


Love everything about this device aside from the camera hump. Course, that's probably not avoidable with such an epic camera, but if they found a way around it it would have been incredible.

posted on 14 Nov 2013, 14:51 1

23. QWIKSTRIKE (Posts: 909; Member since: 09 Mar 2010)


Carl Zeiss is all that needs to be said about that....anyone into cameras now exactly what I am talking about. It would be hard to f up pictures with a Carl Zeiss lens unless the software is horrible....No other lens on the market or gimmick can beat a Carl Zeiss lens!

Nokia is taking the lead in camera qualith for sure!

posted on 14 Nov 2013, 19:41 1

29. UrbanPhantom (Posts: 949; Member since: 30 Oct 2012)


Nokia seems to have taken a commanding lead when it comes to camera related technology for smartphone devices. This, despite the fact that both Sony and Samsung produce the actual sensors embedded into their own machines!

However, just because you can make a guitar doesn't mean you can play it ;o)

posted on 14 Nov 2013, 15:23 2

24. NokiaFTW (Posts: 2057; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)


Best Nokia phone to date hands down!

posted on 14 Nov 2013, 17:53

25. TechCrazyedBoy (Posts: 129; Member since: 12 Nov 2013)


Whoa..
Thats one big Lumia!!!

posted on 14 Nov 2013, 19:38

28. GrosseFatigue (Posts: 91; Member since: 27 Jul 2011)


Best screen, best camera and video, best speakers, best game cell phone, best phone to take in the train with you.. what is left for the competition? The iPhone, the smallest easiest cell phone to hold with one hand!

posted on 14 Nov 2013, 19:49

30. GrosseFatigue (Posts: 91; Member since: 27 Jul 2011)


What is left for the competition: the iphone, the best phone to put in your slip.

posted on 14 Nov 2013, 20:02

31. GrosseFatigue (Posts: 91; Member since: 27 Jul 2011)


I am a Note aficionado but only the next generation Note 4 will be as good as the 1520.

posted on 15 Nov 2013, 09:22

40. utg001 (Posts: 31; Member since: 15 Nov 2013)


I hope that Lumia 1520's successor coming right after Note 4 is actually a Note 5 competitor :p

posted on 14 Nov 2013, 20:18

32. londoner (Posts: 33; Member since: 12 Sep 2013)


This is a great device and excellent performance... i just need Grindr on the wp market place.

posted on 14 Nov 2013, 21:10

33. Jeradiah3 (Posts: 1008; Member since: 11 Feb 2010)


This phone is worth thinking about when it comes to price and functionality. Im a big guy so the screen size is great for me, but Im not sure about trusting the OS enough to steer away from Android. Id have to look at it to change my mind

posted on 16 Nov 2013, 10:23

43. airisoverrated (Posts: 27; Member since: 08 Jun 2012)


At&t just dropped on contract price to $100. Really good deal.

However much I like this phone though, there are 2 shortcomings with At&t's model vs the international version.

First off, only a 16GB storage model. There should always be at lease a 32GB option (or microSD support) as well. That's just too little storage for those of us that like to listen to a lot of music and/or store a lot of photos. They say that option is coming, but who knows if or when. I mean how many people have given up on the Moto X wood options by now? Either you bought it without it or bought a different phone by now.

Next is the lack of an QI charging either built in or via accessory. So I'm a regular AT&T Lumina user. I got the 820 to dip my toe in and got this cool wireless Qi charging shell from the AT&T online store. Upgraded to the 920 and lo and behold the Qi charging is built in (and came with a Qi charger). The 1020 also has a Qi wireless charging case. So now I've got a bunch of Qi chargers around the house to plop the phone in and charge easily whenever. So why would you launch the new flagship with only PMA wireless charging support? Am I supposed to throw out all of these Qi chargers (they weren't free btw), or keep them around but not use them? Lets face it I'm invested here, and the lack of even a Qi charging shell or case is a huge miss.

Now I buy all my phones off contract so I'm in a different boat than many. I get to wait for the Lumina 929 on Verizon (with it's unlocked micro-sim slot). Smaller screen (5in vs 6in) but still 1080p, snapdragon 800, 2GB RAM, along with 32GB storage and built in wireless Qi (and at a lower off contract price). Now that's a phone I'd pre-order AT&T.

posted on 16 Nov 2013, 19:04 1

44. GrosseFatigue (Posts: 91; Member since: 27 Jul 2011)


It has micro SD to 64MB, who cares the amount of internal storage for $100 a phone on contract! It will be my first Lumia. What you I get for $100 is unbelievable. I am getting one.

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Nokia Lumia 1520

Nokia Lumia 1520

OS: Windows Phone 8
view full specs
Display6.0 inches, 1080 x 1920 pixels (368 ppi) IPS LCD
Camera20 megapixels
Hardware
Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974, Quad core, 2200 MHz, Krait 400 processor
2048 MB RAM
Size6.41 x 3.36 x 0.34 inches
(162.8 x 85.4 x 8.7 mm)
7.37 oz  (209 g)
Battery3400 mAh, 27.4 hours talk time

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