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Nokia Lumia 1520 specs review and sensor size comparison

Posted: , by Daniel P.

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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. 

Nokia Lumia 1520 sensor size comparison chart

Nokia Lumia 1520 sensor size comparison chart

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.

Nokia Lumia 1520
6.41 x 3.36 x 0.34 inches
162.8 x 85.4 x 8.7 mm
7.37 oz (209 g)

Nokia Lumia 1520

Sony Xperia Z Ultra
7.06 x 3.63 x 0.26 inches
179.4 x 92.2 x 6.5 mm
7.48 oz (212 g)

Sony Xperia Z Ultra

Samsung Galaxy Note 3
5.95 x 3.12 x 0.33 inches
151.2 x 79.2 x 8.3 mm
5.93 oz (168 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3
6.6 x 3.46 x 0.31 inches
167.6 x 88 x 8 mm
7.02 oz (199 g)

Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3

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. 

Lumia 1520 glove mode

Lumia 1520 glove mode

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

Nokia Lumia 1520 specs review and sensor size comparison

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?

  • Options

posted on 22 Oct 2013, 07:39 16

1. tusshharish (Posts: 342; Member since: 23 Oct 2012)

Now here comes nokia with big bang..........

posted on 22 Oct 2013, 08:47

12. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5993; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)

I am curious how everything comes together. The camera is certainly a high point. Hopefully the 4 HAAC microphones step up and do their thing.

But the biggest problem for Nokia is the stupid carrier exclusive in the U.S. Nokia could have the best smartphone of 2013, and they will still not sell as many as they would if the 1520 were available across all major carriers.

Carrier exclusive = Extreme Stupidity

posted on 22 Oct 2013, 10:01

18. greyhulk (Posts: 162; Member since: 30 Jun 2010)

I would be happy if the camera took fast pictures, on par with the iPhone 5s, but that may be asking too much. My one gripe on the 1020 was the slow shot-to-shot time.

posted on 22 Oct 2013, 11:52

20. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5993; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)

True that on the shot-to-shot lag. Maybe this time around it gets fixed.

posted on 22 Oct 2013, 09:39 8

16. cezarepc (Posts: 718; Member since: 23 Nov 2012)

Return of the King

posted on 22 Oct 2013, 17:16 3

23. akki20892 (Posts: 3902; Member since: 04 Feb 2013)

King is rising.

posted on 23 Oct 2013, 07:07

29. ncarlosmiguel (Posts: 206; Member since: 14 May 2013)

Same thing I feel.

posted on 22 Oct 2013, 07:43 1

2. Beijendorf (Posts: 354; Member since: 27 Aug 2013)

Except the select markets, this device is scheduled to be shipped in January 2014. By then there will be greater alternatives from companies that don't dwell in carrier exclusivities and globally record slow roll-out times.

Bon voyage, Nokia. If you return in 2015, please pick better bedfellows than a morally corrupt OS maker, single carriers with extortion-rates and some factory that can't handle global launch dates.

posted on 22 Oct 2013, 08:21

10. LumiaLover (Posts: 193; Member since: 27 Sep 2012)

Please reveal the greater alternatives to be rolled out and available to purchase by January 2014? Agree on the stupidity of carrier exclusives etc, but can't you just admit that Nokia have done a good job here?

posted on 22 Oct 2013, 08:50

13. Beijendorf (Posts: 354; Member since: 27 Aug 2013)

I can't exactly say what smartphones will be out in January (though there are rumors of new releases in Q1 2014, including one from Nokia). What I can do however is look into the past. When Nokia released the Lumia 1020 it wasn't a terrible phone. By the time it was released where I live (Scandinavia, it was released here 4 days ago) there was the Note 3, Xperia Z1, iPhone 5S, LG G2 and so forth. Not to mention the talks of the upcoming releases.

The Lumia 1020 is passé by now. The mobile technology industry is moving forward at an intimidating pace, and if you hold a release up several months, you lose a lot of sales. For example, Samsung is already looking to release the Galaxy S5 early because the S4 sales are slowing down, even though it's only half a year old.

The Lumia 1520 looks to be a good phone with an intriguing design and neat functionality. I like it - I really do. But while I would buy it right away today (pending reviews), I would rather wait for the next big thing if I was given the option in 3-4 months time. Partially because of how fast the mobile technology is advancing, and partially to protest the ridiculously slow roll-out times Nokia is doing nowadays.

On a brighter note, it seems like Finland - the home of Nokia - isn't called a low-priority market for once with this launch.

posted on 22 Oct 2013, 07:45 7

3. ArtSim98 (Posts: 3535; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)

Ok... I'm seriosly starting to think that this might be the best phone in the world so far. Great finish Nokia! So sad Microsoft bought you...

posted on 22 Oct 2013, 09:40 1

17. cezarepc (Posts: 718; Member since: 23 Nov 2012)

Three thumbs up. Overall, the best phone in the world. And that's an understatement.

posted on 23 Oct 2013, 05:58

26. mousesports (Posts: 279; Member since: 28 Feb 2013)

Microsoft didnt buy anything yet !

posted on 22 Oct 2013, 07:45 8

4. andromede (Posts: 3; Member since: 12 Sep 2012)

i will buy this device just when it goes available !

posted on 22 Oct 2013, 07:47 5

5. Arslan25 (Posts: 23; Member since: 07 Sep 2013)

best windows phone (Y)

posted on 22 Oct 2013, 07:57 3

7. iluvsonynokia (Posts: 151; Member since: 27 Aug 2013)

thick bezel make it look more beautiful,good work Nokia

posted on 22 Oct 2013, 08:20 2

9. Beijendorf (Posts: 354; Member since: 27 Aug 2013)

Except it doesn't have particularly thick bezels compared to the competitors (LG notwithstanding, since they seem to be some sort of bezel wizards).

The reasons the bezels look thicker in many pictures is because of the black space in the Windows Phone homescreen, as you should know. Look at it when it shows an image instead, or with a white background and it's very comparable to other phablets.

posted on 22 Oct 2013, 08:03 1

8. zuckerboy (banned) (Posts: 898; Member since: 22 Dec 2011)

definately sets the standarts of cameraphone

posted on 22 Oct 2013, 08:22 2

11. itsdeepak4u2000 (Posts: 3718; Member since: 03 Nov 2012)

Bestest Nokia and WP ever...

with all round specs. and performance..

posted on 22 Oct 2013, 08:58

14. sergiobr (Posts: 713; Member since: 25 Feb 2013)

That´s what I want to Android phones, camera ! But Nokia must produce 60fps video recording. Note 3 is capable of smoother videos !!! And ... cheaper. Still with my S3 and my Nokia 808 talking one to another via NFC.

posted on 22 Oct 2013, 09:29 2

15. WHoyton1 (Posts: 1635; Member since: 21 Feb 2013)

Great device but Note 3 is king!!!!

posted on 22 Oct 2013, 10:55 5

19. rantao333 (Posts: 322; Member since: 21 May 2013)

note 3 loses in every aspect except the s pen & more apps

display - PureMotion HD + clear Black + LG IPS display!
battery life - month of standby, 11 hr playback etc
performance - windows scale better
camera - 20.7 mp with Carl Zeiss lens, OIS , DNG capture
microphone & recording - 4 mic
durability - u know what i mean

posted on 22 Oct 2013, 12:40 1

22. dratomic (Posts: 483; Member since: 09 Oct 2013)

read note 3s review by gsmarena and then come here bark about it being inferior to this. btw I love nokia. but hate a restricted os like wp.

posted on 23 Oct 2013, 06:36 1

27. Gemmol (Posts: 792; Member since: 09 Nov 2011)

hating the os is a different thing we talking pure specs this phone spec vs spec beat note 3 hands down

posted on 22 Oct 2013, 12:24 1

21. dratomic (Posts: 483; Member since: 09 Oct 2013)

wow a third row of live tiles! you made my day. what a joke. put android on it and then we're talking. I would have chosen this over note 3 if it ran android

posted on 22 Oct 2013, 17:59

24. gigaraga (Posts: 1454; Member since: 29 Mar 2013)

The Sony and Nokia phones are way too big, and ugly. Samsung creates the best phablets and the other companies really should stop trying

posted on 23 Oct 2013, 03:25

25. mas39 (Posts: 80; Member since: 17 Jan 2013)

You must be joking, Samsung. create the most ugliest and cheapest looking phones around, the Nokia 1520 easily beats the awful Note 3 in every department.

posted on 23 Oct 2013, 06:38

28. Gemmol (Posts: 792; Member since: 09 Nov 2011)

lol way too big, you just a samsung fan, I bet if note 4 pick same size and copy nokia material you will retract your statement

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