Nokia Lumia 1520 Review
Well, that's all about to change! Generally speaking, Windows Phones have been regarded as being underpowered in comparison to those noise makers in the Android space. This past fall, the Nokia Lumia 1020 became the loudest Windows Phone to arrive on the scene – much in part to its favorable high-end specs and impressive PureView camera. Even though it continues to claim the top spot when it comes to camera quality, the phone as a whole, still didn't have the impressive hardware that would make it a modernized offering to compete with the elites.
Enter the Nokia Lumia 1520, the biggest and most specs heavy Windows Phone to arrive ever! This one isn't messing around at all, since it's sporting the latest hardware gear, and Windows Phone 8 experience, to give the competition something to worry about. Interestingly, we haven't necessarily seen a phablet type Windows Phone, so it's refreshing to see that we finally have one here. With everything in tow, it's looking like the Lumia 1520 has all the ingredients to be a mighty force in the industry – especially when it's attached with an aggressive price point of $99.99 on-contract.
The package contains:
- Wall charger
- microUSB cable
- Getting started guide
- Warranty information
- SIM removal tool
Essentially, the smartphone resembles the Lumia 1020 before it – a stretched out version of that. Distinctively a Lumia smartphone, seeing that it boasts most of the typical design characteristics that have been attached to the popular smartphone line, we can’t say that the design of the Lumia 1520 is particularly original. Nevertheless, it continues to be an appealing one, since its rounded edges and tapered design both lend to mask its rather boxy look.
Obviously, this is a big phone! And by big, we mean ridiculously big, mainly because it dwarves most other phablets. Therefore, it’s something that proves to be unwieldy for those with smaller hands, as its wide figure is undoubtedly a handful – thus, requiring two-handed operation. In addition, the corners of the phone are rather pointy, to the point that it jabs our palm when holding it. At the very least, we’re comforted to find that it sports a pretty thin 0.34-inch profile, and for the most part, it’s pretty uniform looking throughout its body.
Being a high-end Lumia smartphone, the 1520 benefits by having a solid unibody polycarbonate plastic casing – giving it a sense of sturdiness with its construction. With our specific unit, it’s a black matte finish that does a good job of masking debris. Well, the white and yellow versions of the phone also sport the matte finish, but the red color is actually coated with a glossy finish – making it more prone to smudges and fingerprints. In the phablet space, the Nokia Lumia 1520 is unique looking and definitely comes across as more interesting in design than most others.
Beneath that massive display sits the usual trio of capacitive Windows buttons, but for something so large, they appear somewhat disproportionate in size. Well, at least the spacing between them is enough to eliminate accidental presses. Meanwhile, above the display, we find its narrow earpiece, light & proximity sensors, and its wide-angle front-facing 1.2-megapixel camera.
As the standard formula goes, the right edge of the phone packs in all of the handset’s physical buttons, which consist of its power, volume, and shutter keys. Unfortunately, they’re all rather flat, making them difficult to feel out with our fingers, but at least the response is solid with all of them.
On the left edge, the engineers over at Nokia manage to discretely hide away the handset’s nano SIM and microSD card slots, as it blends into the phone. However, we’re required to use the included SIM removal tool to access both of them. Now, it makes perfect sense with the nano SIM slot, but we would’ve preferred having some kind of spring activated system for the microSD card slot. Rounding things out, the Lumia 1520 features a 3.5mm headset jack, microUSB port, and FOUR Stereo High Amplitude Audio Capture (HAAC) micrphones.
Unlike the Lumia 1020, there isn’t a huge ugly looking hump in the rear where the camera normally sits. Although there’s still a hump, it’s more subdued, which allows the handset to sport a uniform profile for the most part. At the center of it all sits a 20-megapixel PureView camera that features 6-element Zeiss lens, f/2.4 aperture, lossless zoom, optical image stabilization, and a dual-LED flash.
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162.8 x 85.4 x 8.7 mm
7.37 oz (209 g)
151.2 x 79.2 x 8.3 mm
5.93 oz (168 g)
164.5 x 82.5 x 10.29 mm
7.65 oz (217 g)
179.4 x 92.2 x 6.5 mm
7.48 oz (212 g)
It’s a first of a kind, in the Windows Phone camp, that is. The handset gets the prestigious recognition of being the first Windows Phone smartphone to feature a 1080x1920 display. And boy is it gigantic, the largest sized display to grace a Nokia smartphone ever! To be exact, it’s flaunting a gorgeous looking 6-inch 1080 x 1920 IPS LCD panel – giving it a sharp pixel density count of 368 ppi. Honestly, this has been a long time coming, as Windows Phone has been constantly downplayed for the lack of devices with 1080p resolution screens. Needless to say, 1080p screens are nothing new in the smartphone space, but we’re just ecstatic to find it here on a Windows Phone. Naturally, it produces a ton of sharp details, to make even the most miniscule of text easily visible to the eyes.
And seeing that it employs IPS LCD technology, it boasts natural looking colors, wide viewing angles, strong contrast, and a potent brightness output. All of those qualities enable it to offer superior outdoor visibility, so there’s no need to be constantly shielding it away from the sun. Interestingly, there’s an option to manually adjust screen color temperature and saturation on the Lumia 1520. You can pick overblown colors that look unreal yet impressive, or you can go for a more realistic, natural tones (that we would recommend). All told, it’s without question the best display to ever grace a Windows Phone!
Drag the picture or use the keyboard arrows to rotate the phone.
Double click or press keyboard Space to zoom in/out
1. DaHarder (Posts: 133; Member since: 10 Oct 2009)
Very Nice... though I do wish that it offered something outside of merely being a bigger version of a Windows Phone.
Samsung's efforts to differentiate the Galaxy Note with the addition of the S-PEN functions do this better than any manufacturer at this point... All while keeping the overall size to a minimum.
Really looking forward to Verizon's Lumia 929 as it places all of the really good things about this phone in a more manageable package.
10. PapaSmurf (Posts: 6623; Member since: 14 May 2012)
I'd take a Lumia 929 over the 1520 any day. The 1520 doesn't utilize the 6" screen. It's just WP8 blown up.
16. ihavenoname (Posts: 962; Member since: 18 Aug 2013)
If I had to choose a Windows Phone, definitely 929.But it's not coming to Finland, if I'm right.
18. papss (Posts: 3429; Member since: 03 Sep 2012)
No but at less cost you can get more screen so I would chose this beast.
23. cezarepc (Posts: 442; Member since: 23 Nov 2012)
I have the 925 and I'll only replace it with a 1020 :)
31. pookiewood (Posts: 527; Member since: 05 Mar 2012)
Holding onto my 920 until (if) the 929 comes to AT&T un-neutered.
41. Dastrix (Posts: 518; Member since: 23 Nov 2012)
What kind of abysmally retarded comment is that? To blow things up... Isn't that why you buy a 60" TV?
59. elitewolverine (Posts: 646; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)
uhhh yea because it doesn't offer UI enhancements that no other windows phone has like more tiles across....
The same could be said about the note 3...imo that is
2. ArtSim98 (Posts: 1120; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)
In daylight the camera is a bit disappointing in my opinion. Great phone though!
28. _Bone_ (Posts: 2061; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)
Bad weather conditions (late Fall). The sunny shots at the end still produce excellent quality, nothing overblown and stuff. Low light is stunning for a phone. Really nice amount of details and color reproduction. Very very impressive camera.
11. ihavenoname (Posts: 962; Member since: 18 Aug 2013)
9.5 hardware, software 7. Winboys, please don't attack me. I love Nokia but I'm disapointed very badly by WP and M$.
17. taikucing (unregistered)
Same here. I only love Nokia, not M$.
Ok, M$, you should stay with your desktop OS with its 1 million viruses & trojans. You're not good at mobile, server, embedded & supercomputer OS.
26. papss (Posts: 3429; Member since: 03 Sep 2012)
So no viruses on android? That's what happens with an open platform.
33. Dastrix (Posts: 518; Member since: 23 Nov 2012)
Ok Google, you should stay with your open source OS with its 1 million viruses & trojans. You're not good at desktop, server, embedded & supercomputer OS.
74. PolishHitta (Posts: 11; Member since: 25 Nov 2012)
haha okay.. So you're telling me that Android OS has no viruses? I see people downloading antivirus apps onto their GS4 because they would get caught with a potential threat by downloading an app from "secure" Google Play. It's more of Android you should be worried about with viruses than WP8
60. elitewolverine (Posts: 646; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)
I would take M$ over Scroogle any day of the week.
You know how many Win8 devices I have to reset each week? Next to none and exchanging devices for defects same ratio.
I however, daily reset Droid devices, and from multiple makers.
Sure they sell more so there will be more problems, but the % should be in their favor because of saturation, this is not the case.
8. Reality_Check (Posts: 220; Member since: 15 Aug 2013)
In the WP8 world ;) Kidding aside, this is a great device.
13. Lucas_kim (Posts: 13; Member since: 17 Nov 2013)
if it runs android.. it will also beats note 3.. i guarantee .. it will smoother than note 3 that with 3gb of ram
24. rd_nest (Posts: 606; Member since: 06 Jun 2010)
Smoothness is not measured by RAM. Just think for a while what exactly is smoothness and why do you want to relate it with RAM.
More RAM helps you to keep more amount of background processes in memory. Multitasking is more related to RAM.
Smoothness is more like a measure of standard deviation of screen refresh rate and animation fps.
29. _Bone_ (Posts: 2061; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)
The Note 3 is smooth and it offers something no other large phone maker figured out: the phablet experience. It's not too large or heavy, just pocketable and onehandable, and it's packed with useful large-screen features and goodies. The One Max, the 1520, the Ultra, the Mate or Sammy's own Mega, these are all oversized less comfortable phones that do nothing special with the size.
Don't get me wrong, the 1520 is a special device on it's own right, gorgeous screen, impressive camera, promising battery life and great price point on contract, so good I might even try it out, but it's not special as a phablet, at least not to the point of dethroning the Note 3.
53. snowgator (Posts: 3159; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)
That is fair. The Note series is still a tad more comfy to use, and the "S" pen gives it something no other phablet offers.
This, however, might be able to make a run for the #2 position of Phablets. I do wish they had aimed a hair smaller, maybe a 5.3"-5.7" which would have made this devices a tad less wide. But overall, Nokia has made a great device here.
61. elitewolverine (Posts: 646; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)
Many reviewers would count the idea of note 3's one handedness not very high. There are a few reviews that specifically mention how much easier the 1520 is to use with one hand vs a note 3 or sony.
75. PolishHitta (Posts: 11; Member since: 25 Nov 2012)
You're right. I'm not an Android fan by any means but Nokia did sacrifice the size purely for its 920 style. I love the look but bezel could have been a bit smaller. This is exactly why I'm buying the 929 when it comes out for Verizon. 5" screen is plenty enough when you consider Nokia's bulky yet extremely durable styling. Samsung Note is a beautiful device in design but I have to admit, it's getting really boring. The style has been kept since gs3 and it moves from their Note devices to their Tab lineup. And the lightness is pretty neat but comes at a cost. From the flimsy back cover to the thin screen, its very fragile. Samsung should invest their huge profits into aluminum devices. Make them feel high quality for Gods sake.
5. papss (Posts: 3429; Member since: 03 Sep 2012)
I want this phone in red..great review John. As a wp8 fan I'm glad you did the review. Seemed fair with little to no jabs
6. livyatan (Posts: 560; Member since: 19 Jun 2013)
This has to have thinner profit margin than the nexus 5.
Incredible price for those specs.. but I guess Microsoft can afford to go on dump the price like that in order to earn some spotlights for their products.
37. Dastrix (Posts: 518; Member since: 23 Nov 2012)
That's what dumping is for, right? Unfortunately, some OEMs can't afford to do that; they're too focused on making crappy, plastic, laggy devices just because people don't realize the OEMs are sh*tting on them.
9. ihavenoname (Posts: 962; Member since: 18 Aug 2013)
Very nice but what kills this device to me is WP. Such a shame it's not Android. Because of operating system and easier handling, I prefer Note 3. But no phone is the best.
38. Dastrix (Posts: 518; Member since: 23 Nov 2012)
+1 Well said papss. Me too, I prefer WP8 to Android!
12. Tuxedo (Posts: 100; Member since: 19 Mar 2013)
Wow... HW wise this is a great deal. My only concern is WP8.
21. emadshiny (Posts: 1086; Member since: 05 Dec 2012)
Gorgeous phone and maybe my first WP device.
25. poping (unregistered)
the design is awesome... i like thin bezels and big screens...the side bezels still need trimming though...overall very good design... i may get this side by side with note 3 or sgs5...
27. jellmoo (Posts: 447; Member since: 31 Oct 2011)
I like Windows Phone, I really do, and I like the fact that they are now hitting high end specs in their devices. But this device baffles me. It's large for the sake of being large. It doesn't add any additional functionality, and doesn't provide any new options for the user other than a big screen.
This is one thing that Samsung got right with the Note line. The devices are big, but that size has a purpose. The added functionality of the S-Pen gives it great productivity power. Devices like the 1520 and One Max simply don't offer that.
Take this handset and shrink it down an inch, and you have a great Windows Phone handset that is both pocketable and possible to use with one hand. I just can't see the point of a device this big without some extras to justify the size.
36. pookiewood (Posts: 527; Member since: 05 Mar 2012)
I suspect WinPhone8.1 will optimize the need for 1080. I think they should've aimed for that now but it's still a nice device.
30. sjoshi251 (Posts: 6; Member since: 06 Nov 2013)
does it support all videos like .mkv or .avi videos....
35. sjoshi251 (Posts: 6; Member since: 06 Nov 2013)
does it support all videos like .mkv, ac3 , .avi videos....
68. Popop971 (Posts: 1; Member since: 24 Nov 2013)
Sorry, but it's false. I have a Samsung ATIV S, and it doesnt support all videos. Maybe there is some changes in WP 8.1 that i'm not aware of. If i am wrong, feel free to provide some youtube videos or links.
Before buying the device, i think you should make some tests if a friend has a windows phone.
42. mobi_user (Posts: 81; Member since: 18 Jun 2013)
John v. not sure what is the criteria of reviewing phone. A phone through which one cannot hear properly, his voice cannot be heard nicely on the other side. which is not so comfortable to hold. And you are giving it a 9 rating.
pixels, processors these can be reviewed by anyone. Ever tried to notice how fast MS Word or IE opens on you laptop.
51. emadshiny (Posts: 1086; Member since: 05 Dec 2012)
I would accept it if Note3 didn't exist...
45. yasir-921 (Posts: 74; Member since: 02 Oct 2012)
PhoneArena, what do you mean by better-than-average photos of the 1520?
Another thing, considering that among the Androids, the LG G2 is among the best shooter, how can both be compared in camera department only?
46. GeekMovement (Posts: 1497; Member since: 09 Sep 2011)
Aw a bit disappointing with the call quality. I expected better from Nokia.
47. orielwindow (Posts: 87; Member since: 23 Sep 2010)
I know the scaled down version for Verizon may be good but I'm really disappointed this size isn't coming to Verizon :(
48. momonm1 (Posts: 21; Member since: 30 May 2011)
Definitely my next OS after being with Nokia from 1999 - 2009 and iOS from 2010 - Present!
50. DONUT (Posts: 188; Member since: 27 Jun 2013)
great device but e only thing holding it back is the OS. it needs more apps, apps that many people are using, like Insta (which is coming), Tumblr, BBM, WeChat, Line and etc. imo tts e only thing holding this beast back
62. elitewolverine (Posts: 646; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)
Instagram has been available as a full app for a long time, called 6tag vine? 6sec...
64. DONUT (Posts: 188; Member since: 27 Jun 2013)
wow i didnt know WP8 had all that! i asked my friend who has a WP8 device and she told me it didnt have these apps. thanks for telling!
52. itsdeepak4u2000 (Posts: 2099; Member since: 03 Nov 2012)
Deserves more than 9 but still though it's a good review John.
54. GrosseFatigue (Posts: 60; Member since: 27 Jul 2011)
I found the Nokia 6" size perfectly manageable unlike for the Samsung Mega and the Sony Ultra. Those do look ridiculous, size wise. I think with 6" we reach the limit of what is practical in a cell phone therefore I cannot understand Sony ultra rating better than the 1520.
|Display||6.0 inches, 1080 x 1920 pixels (368 ppi) IPS LCD|
Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974, Quad core, 2200 MHz, Krait 400 processor
2048 MB RAM
|Size||6.41 x 3.36 x 0.34 inches|
(162.8 x 85.4 x 8.7 mm)
7.37 oz (209 g)
|Battery||3400 mAh, 27.4 hours talk time|