Nokia Lumia 1520 Review
Phone calls are still handled with some ease, but as a whole, its quality is nothing more than average. First, there’s the matter with its earpiece, which produces voices that are natural in tone, but its volume output is a bit weak – requiring us to push the earpiece firmly close to our ear to properly make out voices. Secondly, voices sound hollow through the speakerphone. And finally, our callers mention that our voice sounds a tiny bit crackly on their end of the line.
Generally speaking, big phones get big batteries, so the Lumia 1520 gladly obliges this norm by giving us one too. To be exact, its slim body is stuffed with a beefy 3400 mAh battery, which is one heck of a large capacity. Impressively, it’s able to provide us with a battery life that’s long lasting! In our experience, it’s able to deliver a solid one day of heavy usage consisting of surfing the web, sending text messages, checking email, and making an occasional phone call. As for those who aren’t as demanding, you can sleep knowing it can pull out as much as two whole days under light usage.
Holy smokes people! When it was officially announced to arrive on AT&T a couple weeks ago, we were already impressed to hear that it would be priced at $200 with a 2-year contract – a price point that seems to undercut other phablets in the space. However, things didn’t end there, as Nokia went on an aggressive stance by dropping its price down lower to $99.99 on-contract. And with that folks, we have to gladly say that it’s so darn attractive.
Indeed, AT&T’s version of the Nokia Lumia 1520 gets its internal storage capacity cut in half to 16GB, while also losing built-in wireless charging, but when we factor in its impressive hardware specs, amazing still image quality from its camera, and gigantic size screen, it’s hard to not fall in love with this beastly smartphone. It might not offer the water resistant properties of the Sony Xperia Z Ultra, nor does it have the rich organizational features of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, but the Lumia 1520 creates a niche spot of its own, thanks in part to the aforementioned qualities we’ve mentioned already.
On the other side of the spectrum, for those who are contemplating on picking this up without a contract, its $584.99 price point still seems pretty good in comparison to other phablets – though, there’s no arguing that its on-contract cost absolutely gives it more bang for the buck. At the end of the day, there’s plenty to like about the 1520, as it’s no doubt the best Windows Phone out right now. For a long time there, Windows Phones in general just seemed underpowered in comparison to those premier Android smartphones. Thankfully though, that’s no longer the case going forward, seeing that the Nokia Lumia 1520 gives Windows Phone something to shine about. Ultimately, the Lumia 1520 is one rock hard device that gives the competition something to worry about.
Software version of the review unit:
OS Version: 8.0.10517.150
Firmware Revision Number: 1028.3534.1343.0001
Hardware Revision Number: 188.8.131.52
- Hard-to-beat $100 on-contract cost
- Excellent still image quality
- Impressive specs for a Windows Phone
- Long battery life
- Wide handset
- Underwhelming video recording
- Hollow sounding speaker
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|