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Nokia Lumia 1520 specs review and sensor size comparison

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Nokia Lumia 1520 specs review and sensor size comparison
All the good things we heard about it turned out real, and then some, but the handset also marks a watershed moment for Windows Phones, as it ushers them in the world of quad-cores and huge 1080p screens, which has been an Android domain so far. Let's see what Nokia did with the 1520:

20 MP PureView camera and 4 HAAC microphones

The exclusive part of Nokia's first phablet is its unique 20 MP camera with 6-element Zeiss lens, f/2.4 aperture, lossless zoom and optical image stabilization. 

The sensor, at 1/2.5", however, is much smaller than the 1/1.5" piece in the 1020, as you can see in the chart below, and even smaller than the 1/2.3" one in the Xperia Z1, for instance. Still, the specs alone make it the best camera on a phablet, and since the sensor is a scaled down version of the 41 MP monster in the Lumia 1020, it also offers pixel-binning 2x lossless zoom in stills mode, and 4x for HD video capture.

The maximum usable resolution is 18 MP in 4:3 aspect ratio for the ultimate detail capture, meaning we will be getting an oval sensor like in the 1020 flagship. The dual capture mode will bring 5 MP images in automatic mode with the pixel-binning technology that combines the information of four or more pixels into a "perfect" one, including during video capture. The phone is able to capture raw DNG images, too, which would undoubtedly please the serious mobile photographers out there.

There is a new Nokia Camera app that combines all the ragtag Lumia camera modes so far, with improved saturation, 10cm to infinity focusing and other settings, so we are getting exclusives on the software side of things with the phone as well. There is also the new Storyteller app, which combines the HERE mapping capabilities with your photos and videos, creating a seamless story for you wherever you've been. 

Last but not least, the Lumia 1520 is listed with not one or two but the record four Stereo High Amplitude Audio Capture (HAAC) microphones that can go up to 140dB without distortion, meaning that we might have a winner in the sound recording and call quality aspect not only among phablets, but smartphones in general, too. Just hear what two HAAC mics with Nokia's Rich Recording Phase 2 can do, and imagine what four will be capable of when situated as far away as a phablet body allows.


Lumia 1520 is as svelte as a 6" phablet goes at 6.41 x 3.36 x 0.34" (162.8 x 85.4 x 8.7 mm), and the weight is clocked at 7.37 oz (209g) for the global release, as it will have a wireless charging coil built in. A large device by any means, yet not from the caliber of Sony's Xperia Z Ultra or the Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3. The phone will come painted in black, white, red and yellow at the onset, but more colors might be in store for it down the road, considering the polycarbonate nature of its shell.

Nokia has thankfully added a microSD card slot for storage expansions, up to 64 GB, which is a good idea for a big screen phone, on which you are likely to keep many videos for watching on the go, plus the phone's PureView camera might entice you to make footage more often than usual.

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page.


Screen resolution of the 6" display is expectedly 1080x1920 pixels Full HD LCD screen, or 367ppi pixel density at your disposal, allowing for an additional third row of Live Tiles for the first time in Windows Phone. The panel carries a PureMotion HD+ technology, which, coupled with Nokia's ClearBlack filter and sunlight readability tech, means we will have a bright screen with excellent contrast and reflectivity ratios, great viewing angles, vivid colors and ultra fast refresh rates. 

Actually, Nokia cites 600 nits peak brightness for the screen, which is an excellent number, but only kicks in when bright direct light falls on the sensor, preserving battery in the majority of situations. The display can also be used with gloves and fingernails, as it sports the Synaptics supersensitive tech that finds its way in many flagships lately, and almost the entire Lumia lineup, too.

The blazing processor running the whole show is a quad-core Snapdragon 800, clocked at the respectable 2.2 GHz, which makes the Lumia 1520 the most powerful Windows Phone ever, coupled with its 2 GB of RAM, and the first quad-core Windows Phone to boot. 

That kind of power is impressive on Android, and we can only imagine how it would be on the smooth sailing WP mobile OS.

Battery and connectivity

A beefy 3400 mAh battery is pegged to keep the lights on, which is on the high side, even for a phablet, and allows for some stellar endurance, especially in terms of talk time (25 hours) and video playback (11 hours). Standby with the sealed battery is also impressive at more than a month.

As any self-respecting smartphone with Snapdragon 800 chipset, the phone is to support most 4G LTE and HSPA+ networks you can think of, too, plus NFC, A-GPS+GLONASS, WLAN, (2.4/5Ghz) a/b/g/n/ac, μUSB, and BT 4.0 LE, of course. As for the SIM card, it is of the nano SIM variety, so we'd better get used to that format.

All in all, Nokia delivered with its first phablet, and we can't wait to put the 20 MP PureView camera with OIS and the four stereo recording microphones through their paces. What do you think about all the technology Nokia placed into the Lumia 1520, does it make it a direct competitor to any other phablet or even flagship phone out there?


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