Nokia Lumia 1520 Preview


The 20-megapixel PureView auto-focus camera on the Lumia 1520 comes with a dual-LED flash (no Xenon here) and protrudes just slightly on the back - not so much as to be in the way, but enough to make it clear to passers-by that it’s a serious cameraphone you’re holding. It indeed is one of Nokia’s strongest camera efforts with a larger than usual 1/2.5” (25mm2) sensor, backside illumination and optical image stabilization. Still, the Nokia Lumia 1020 for instance features a more than twice as large 1/1.5-inch (58mm2) sensor, while the also 20-megapixel Sony Xperia Z1 has slightly larger 1/2.3” (28mm2) sensor.

As the Lumia 1020, you can choose to capture full-res images along with smaller 5-megapixel images for quick social sharing, or just the smaller 5MP version. These are no regular 5-megapixel photos, though. Instead, Nokia combines multiple pixels from the original full-res image to achieve superior single pixel quality in the final 5-megapixel image.

The 1520 ships with the Nokia Pro Cam application that we first saw on the Lumia 1020 and it’s the same neat interface with dials for easy adjustments for white balance, manual focus, ISO, shutter speed and exposure.

It’s worth underlining that the Lumia 1520 is one of very few smartphones to support zooming without hugely destroying the image quality. You can zoom in around 2x without real damage to the image, but you still lose the benefit of oversampling that you get when zoomed out. Nokia has also promised bringing RAW image support for this handset so you can really get serious with your photoediting.

You also have plentiful options for video capture as you can pick between 1080p and 720p and supported framerates of 30, 25 and 24fps. Quite neatly, you can zoom up to 2x times in 1080p video and up to 3x in 720p without losing much in detail. Traditional smartphones in contrast use digital zoom that is highly destructive for the video. 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.

The phone also features a 1.2-megapixel camera for video conferencing and selfies.


Media is what phablets are made for and truly shine, and the 6-inch Lumia is just that - a multimedia powerhouse. With great codec support, we were able to play all video we threw at it with ease and the experience watching short clips or even longer movies is great on such a large display. It’s really a shame there is no YouTube application baked in and you need to take a trip to the Windows Phone Marketplace for a decent YouTube client like MetroTube.

There are two music apps on the Lumia 1520 - the Xbox Music + Videos app and Nokia Music. Both do a great job with organizing your music and doing it all in a visually pleasing way with large screen-wide album art, but we like Nokia Music better for its additional functionality. The ability to stream music free and even save online playlists for offline playback is great, and if you want to get rid of the limitations (you can skip only 6 songs in an hour), you can opt for the paid version of the service as well. For music output however we expect a bit more than a single loudspeaker on such a large phone. Still, that’s what you get. We’d abstain from a final judgment about the actual quality, though, as Nokia might improve it in the final unit.


The Nokia Lumia 1520 is a shockingly large phone. There’s no going around that. This comes with the plus of a gigantic screen that’s awesome for watching videos, playing games and reading, but also with big compromises. For starters, it’s nearly impossible to use this device with a single hand and it’s just not fitting in all pockets and looks awkward in public. It is not the only hugely oversized device as the Sony Xperia Z Ultra is actually even bigger and the HTC One max matches it in size, but it would nonetheless be a shock for the average consumer.

If you can shake that shock off, you’d probably appreciate the overall performance and the camera, all of which left great initial impressions on us.

Still, right now, the Lumia 1520 looks like a niche product. Something for the gamers and the movie buffs, those on a long daily commute, but not really something that would appeal to a lot of people.

The first Nokia phablet is coming as an AT&T exclusive for $200 on a two-year contract. Both Microsoft and AT&T are trying to push this first of a kind device with freebies. Microsoft gives away a $70 of marketplace credit, a free copy of Halo: Spartan Assault, and a flip cover, while AT&T bundles it with $20 of marketplace credit, 50GB of free cloud storage, and also a copy of Halo.



1. Epicness1o1

Posts: 308; Member since: May 30, 2013

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

14. sri_tech

Posts: 188; Member since: May 21, 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.

26. RoyalPayne

Posts: 458; Member since: Aug 07, 2013

Very well said!

34. kirholstov

Posts: 146; Member since: Jun 28, 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.

37. adecvat

Posts: 644; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

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

46. Bilpocalypse

Posts: 301; Member since: Oct 13, 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.

38. adecvat

Posts: 644; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

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

42. hmmm...

Posts: 81; Member since: Jun 05, 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.

2. oNEWorld

Posts: 140; Member since: Aug 01, 2013

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

8. fouadqr

Posts: 326; Member since: Nov 21, 2012

the next lumias will have a metal body with new disign

9. oNEWorld

Posts: 140; Member since: Aug 01, 2013

good! they stuck with this design for too long.

15. sri_tech

Posts: 188; Member since: May 21, 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.

27. RoyalPayne

Posts: 458; Member since: Aug 07, 2013

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

39. utg001 unregistered

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

3. mahmood74

Posts: 18; Member since: Jul 24, 2013

Good i want lumia 1520

4. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

That thing is just awesome!

5. GrapeEyes

Posts: 248; Member since: Sep 01, 2013

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

35. Ikechukwu

Posts: 252; Member since: Oct 03, 2011

hahahahahahahahahaha!!!! :)

6. fouadqr

Posts: 326; Member since: Nov 21, 2012

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

7. jove39

Posts: 2147; Member since: Oct 18, 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.

10. Kishin

Posts: 706; Member since: May 30, 2013

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

11. MojoDojo

Posts: 102; Member since: Jul 11, 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.

12. lifeyourlive

Posts: 126; Member since: Aug 23, 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


Posts: 1459; Member since: Mar 09, 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.

36. alexfiran

Posts: 40; Member since: Jun 13, 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


Posts: 1459; Member since: Mar 09, 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!

16. Altair

Posts: 367; Member since: Feb 02, 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.

45. EasycapExpertti

Posts: 16; Member since: Nov 12, 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."

17. Gemmol

Posts: 793; Member since: Nov 09, 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

18. DAddYE

Posts: 48; Member since: Oct 04, 2013

If only will be able to run Android or anything else than Windows...
Lumia 1520
  • Display 6.0" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 20 MP / 1.2 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, Quad-core, 2200 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3400 mAh(25.1h 3G talk time)

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