Introduction


Taking a gamble with Microsoft's Windows Phone platform, Finnish company Nokia has been trying extensively to perfect its lineup of Lumia devices for the last couple of years. In complementing the mobile experience, the Luima lineup of Windows Phones have remained very distinctive in the space, thanks partly to their stylish looking designs – and most recently, they've been known to be great snappers too! Try as they might, it's apparent that these high-end Lumias have been overshadowed by beefy spec'd Android smartphones.

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

Design


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.


Nokia Lumia 1520

Nokia Lumia 1520

Dimensions

6.41 x 3.36 x 0.34 inches

162.8 x 85.4 x 8.7 mm

Weight

7.37 oz (209 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Dimensions

5.95 x 3.12 x 0.33 inches

151.2 x 79.2 x 8.3 mm

Weight

5.93 oz (168 g)

HTC One max

HTC One max

Dimensions

6.48 x 3.25 x 0.41 inches

164.5 x 82.5 x 10.29 mm

Weight

7.65 oz (217 g)

Sony Xperia Z Ultra

Sony Xperia Z Ultra

Dimensions

7.06 x 3.63 x 0.26 inches

179.4 x 92.2 x 6.5 mm

Weight

7.48 oz (212 g)

Nokia Lumia 1520

Nokia Lumia 1520

Dimensions

6.41 x 3.36 x 0.34 inches

162.8 x 85.4 x 8.7 mm

Weight

7.37 oz (209 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Dimensions

5.95 x 3.12 x 0.33 inches

151.2 x 79.2 x 8.3 mm

Weight

5.93 oz (168 g)

HTC One max

HTC One max

Dimensions

6.48 x 3.25 x 0.41 inches

164.5 x 82.5 x 10.29 mm

Weight

7.65 oz (217 g)

Sony Xperia Z Ultra

Sony Xperia Z Ultra

Dimensions

7.06 x 3.63 x 0.26 inches

179.4 x 92.2 x 6.5 mm

Weight

7.48 oz (212 g)

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



Display


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!

Nokia Lumia 1520 360-Degrees View



FEATURED VIDEO

80 Comments

80. razraptre

Posts: 168; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

The iPhone has lower specs as well compared to flagship Android devices, but regularly performs just as well if not better. Specs aren't everything. WP8.1 is an extremely light OS. It can run on 512mb RAM without noticeable lag, so Lumias don't need such high powered specs (As a side note, my 620 can run Asphalt 8 without a hitch. And yes, it still sucks on a Windows Phone :P )

81. razraptre

Posts: 168; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

Also, the 1520 now has support for 4k recording and a whole suite of other camera options. Might want to update the review.

78. mrse1987

Posts: 1; Member since: Jun 14, 2014

I have a 1520 and a 925, i'm so happy to have those wonderful SmartPhones.

76. rueleonheart

Posts: 20; Member since: Feb 24, 2014

This is overpowered, Windows Phone 8 only requires few RAM and processor speed to work flawlessly unlike android. But it's a nice thing to use the latest hardware to attract buyers and be comparable to competition.

73. rizwanazad

Posts: 12; Member since: Nov 30, 2013

It's a bit disappointing that in the race of specs, OEM hardly pays any attention on the call quality. No matter how advanced and smart a mobile phne is but at the end of everything the primary purpose of a moile phone is to make a call. Just above average call quality from a flagship device is just not acceptable, more so when you are going to burn your pocket deep down to own these flagship devices.

72. sky_traveller

Posts: 4; Member since: Dec 02, 2013

why phonearena always pick ugliest colour....?????

71. benson123456789

Posts: 12; Member since: Dec 01, 2013

can any1 help me as to what is the lumia1520 bezel size compared to the 1020 and note 3? and also if there is a lag while opening the camera app like how it is on the 1020

69. vipersqueal

Posts: 1; Member since: Nov 27, 2013

The Lumia 1520 is great. I have been using the black one for a few days now with a headset. Everything just works, even the reply to a text with voice prompt while in handsfree mode on the headset. My call recipients say the call quality is great. I suspect the beffy cpu helps out with the bluetooth data transfer to the headset. I just keep the phone in my jacket pocket until I need to view the extremely readable screen. The screen is awesome, being able to read anything in direct sunlight. Browsing and typing is a joy. I am coming from a nokia E71 with a keyboard and am on call as an IT professional. So I needed a reliable easy typing, phone with email. The user interface is simple. Not a problem with me. I have my laptop for the crazy tech stuff. I don't mind the non-scaling of the screen to cram a whole bunch of stuff with small text etc, as some reviews have mentioned consistency issues with the user interface design. I like not having to squint. The camera is great, too. (Not as good as the nokia 1020 as reviewed by many but very good.) I love the fact you can adjust the shutter speed to capture more light in low light conditions. While it is an adjustment to move contacts, learn how to make distribution groups, contact groups, etc for the average user if moving to windows interface it is not that bad. Going forward, I am looking forward to Amazon Instant app being produced and purchasing a bluetooth watch as soon as available. The kindle reader synced all my bookmarks from my books as well which is nice. I anticipate I will be reading articles and books more often as my kindle was adequate but heavy and now has been replaced by this. (Down from carrying 3 devices to 2) This phone was a steal at $99 upgrade with contract and then another $20 app credit in the box. I anticipate this flagship of a phone will catch on overtime and be very popular. It's great. Curious to see how the nokia to microsoft business cell phone division goes. Yes, as you have guessed I am a nokia fan. My wife has the S4 ativ samsung and I like this better. If your going to go big phone, just go big in my opinion.

66. nokialumia

Posts: 2; Member since: Sep 21, 2013

This Lumia 1520 is the best premium product from Nokia, near 1020 and the tablet 2520. With this 3 products Nokia cames to the front market. In Romania in our Nokia Lumia Store you will get this phablet Nokia Lumia 1520.

67. GrapeEyes

Posts: 248; Member since: Sep 01, 2013

Can you buy the Lumia 1520 (32GB) from the Romanian store today?

58. P0WER

Posts: 2; Member since: Nov 21, 2013

What about Nokia Lumia 1520's Battery life/ back up. Can it stand for 2 days or more?

63. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

backup? Have you ever backed up a nokia phone?

65. P0WER

Posts: 2; Member since: Nov 21, 2013

Sorry. I need to know about its battery life.

57. freebee269

Posts: 543; Member since: Aug 10, 2012

i dont own one but i did play with one in an at&t store. i agree with most of this article except for 1 of the cons in this article. the con for video recording. while it may not be as good as the 1020 that the article kept putting it up against. it's funny that the article kept putting it up against that phone that's not a phablet yet it didnt against any other phone that is a phablet. probably because the author knew no other phablet camera would be as good as this camera. but i also own an lg g2. and the lumia 1520's camera is definitely noticeably better than my g2. i snapped shots side by side in the store and the 1520 was just sharper and better color representation to what my eye was seeing. also inside the store it was darker than outside and the 1520's video recording was just way better than my g2. if you own a g2 you know that the camera on it for low light just isnt good unless the camera is prefectly still. so for recording video's at low light and you move you can forget about it. the 1520 handled the low light very well and even though i moved alot on purpose, the picture had little blur. unlike my g2 which had A LOT of blur. so when comparing this camera to other phablets out there, based on my g2 which is considered one of the best camera's on android, this lumia 1520 is just better in every camera category. and i havent even mentioned the four mics which make the video audio outstanding.

56. pooop

Posts: 7; Member since: Aug 30, 2013

First paragraph: There's an error ("Luima" instead of Lumia). Main clause of the second sentence.

55. tgiffin

Posts: 4; Member since: Oct 24, 2013

How about the new technologies like assertive display and directional microphones. Could you maybe mention something about those in the review?

54. GrosseFatigue

Posts: 211; Member since: Jul 27, 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.

52. itsdeepak4u2000

Posts: 3718; Member since: Nov 03, 2012

Deserves more than 9 but still though it's a good review John.

50. DONUT

Posts: 436; Member since: Jun 27, 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

64. DONUT

Posts: 436; Member since: Jun 27, 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!

48. momonm1

Posts: 23; Member since: May 30, 2011

Definitely my next OS after being with Nokia from 1999 - 2009 and iOS from 2010 - Present!

47. orielwindow

Posts: 109; Member since: Sep 23, 2010

I know the scaled down version for Verizon may be good but I'm really disappointed this size isn't coming to Verizon :(

46. GeekMovement unregistered

Aw a bit disappointing with the call quality. I expected better from Nokia.

45. yasir-921

Posts: 81; Member since: Oct 02, 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?

44. GrapeEyes

Posts: 248; Member since: Sep 01, 2013

Best Phablet in the World!!! 9.6 rating

51. emadshiny

Posts: 1144; Member since: Dec 05, 2012

I would accept it if Note3 didn't exist...

43. Azman

Posts: 6; Member since: Oct 30, 2013

Finally!! a "big Lumia" from Nokia.

42. mobi_user

Posts: 152; Member since: Jun 18, 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.

35. sjoshi251

Posts: 7; Member since: Nov 06, 2013

does it support all videos like .mkv, ac3 , .avi videos....

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

Lumia 1520
  • Display 6.0 inches
    1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Camera 20 MP (Single camera)
    1.2 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, 2GB RAM
  • Storage 32GB, microSDXC
  • Battery 3400 mAh
  • OS Windows Phone 8.1

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