x PhoneArena is hiring! Reviewer in the USA

Nokia Lumia 1520 Review

Nokia Lumia 1520 9

Posted: , by


Nokia Lumia 1520 Review


Nokia Lumia 1520 Review
Nokia Lumia 1520 Review
Nokia Lumia 1520 Review
Nokia Lumia 1520 Review
Nokia Lumia 1520 Review
Nokia Lumia 1520 Review
Nokia Lumia 1520 Review
Nokia Lumia 1520 Review
Nokia Lumia 1520 Review
Nokia Lumia 1520 Review
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


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
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

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

HTC One max
6.48 x 3.25 x 0.41 inches
164.5 x 82.5 x 10.29 mm
7.65 oz (217 g)

HTC One max

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

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

Nokia Lumia 1520 Review
Nokia Lumia 1520 Review

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

  • Options

posted on 18 Nov 2013, 08:04 14

1. DaHarder (Posts: 177; 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.

posted on 18 Nov 2013, 08:20 13

10. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10457; 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.

posted on 18 Nov 2013, 08:36 2

16. ihavenoname (Posts: 1693; 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.

posted on 18 Nov 2013, 08:41 3

18. papss (unregistered)

No but at less cost you can get more screen so I would chose this beast.

posted on 18 Nov 2013, 09:03

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

I have the 925 and I'll only replace it with a 1020 :)

posted on 18 Nov 2013, 10:13 1

31. pookiewood (Posts: 631; Member since: 05 Mar 2012)

Holding onto my 920 until (if) the 929 comes to AT&T un-neutered.

posted on 18 Nov 2013, 10:27 8

41. Dastrix (unregistered)

What kind of abysmally retarded comment is that? To blow things up... Isn't that why you buy a 60" TV?

posted on 21 Nov 2013, 17:33

59. elitewolverine (Posts: 5192; 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

posted on 01 Jun 2014, 18:05

77. oldhamletman (Posts: 72; Member since: 03 Sep 2011)

this article is full of errors as usual about windows phone... centralized messaging doesn't only happen on live tiles, you get numerous other browsers besides IE if you want them, you can choose default camera apps, and various other errors that always seem to be biased against windows phone because the reviewer doesn't know the OS... phone arena strikes again

posted on 29 Jun 2014, 16:26

79. oldhamletman (Posts: 72; Member since: 03 Sep 2011)

i got a 1520 and the additional size gets internet, mail, office document display up to sufficient size that I don't need a tablet or laptop on multi day business travel anymore.... it's a huge plus... and the phone still easily slips into the front pocket of any sort of pants or jeans... also the huge battery life is fantastic.

disappointed to see that reviewers still aren't aware of basic Windows phone features... for example there are alternative browsers, you don't have to use IE, although I still use IE because it's speed has gotten so high.

great product, wish the reviewers would show some basic knowledge about it by actually appearing to have used the OS, I had both Iphone and Android over the years and am really glad I switched to WP

posted on 18 Nov 2013, 08:07

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

In daylight the camera is a bit disappointing in my opinion. Great phone though!

posted on 18 Nov 2013, 09:50 8

28. _Bone_ (Posts: 2155; 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.

posted on 18 Nov 2013, 08:12 10

3. fouadqr (Posts: 326; Member since: 21 Nov 2012)

9/10 ..Good BUT ..it deserve 9.5 :D

posted on 18 Nov 2013, 08:19 5

7. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10457; Member since: 14 May 2012)

Because it has Nokia on it?

posted on 18 Nov 2013, 08:24 5

11. ihavenoname (Posts: 1693; 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$.

posted on 18 Nov 2013, 08:39 5

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.

posted on 18 Nov 2013, 08:47 5

20. ihavenoname (Posts: 1693; Member since: 18 Aug 2013)

Nokia FTW, Microsoft not.

posted on 18 Nov 2013, 09:23 6

26. papss (unregistered)

So no viruses on android? That's what happens with an open platform.

posted on 18 Nov 2013, 10:16 6

33. Dastrix (unregistered)

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.

posted on 04 Jan 2014, 01:10

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

posted on 21 Nov 2013, 17:40

60. elitewolverine (Posts: 5192; 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.

posted on 18 Nov 2013, 10:15

32. pookiewood (Posts: 631; Member since: 05 Mar 2012)


posted on 18 Nov 2013, 08:14 7

4. Lucas_kim (Posts: 13; Member since: 17 Nov 2013)

the best phablet ever!!

posted on 18 Nov 2013, 08:20

8. Reality_Check (Posts: 277; Member since: 15 Aug 2013)

In the WP8 world ;) Kidding aside, this is a great device.

posted on 18 Nov 2013, 08:29 1

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

posted on 18 Nov 2013, 09:12 2

24. rd_nest (Posts: 1656; 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.

Just saying...

posted on 18 Nov 2013, 09:59 4

29. _Bone_ (Posts: 2155; 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.

posted on 19 Nov 2013, 01:54

53. snowgator (Posts: 3604; 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.

posted on 21 Nov 2013, 17:41

61. elitewolverine (Posts: 5192; 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.

posted on 04 Jan 2014, 01:22

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.

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

Want to comment? Please login or register.

Nokia Lumia 1520

Nokia Lumia 1520

OS: Windows Phone 8.1 8
view full specs
Display6.0 inches, 1080 x 1920 pixels (368 ppi) IPS LCD
Camera20 megapixels
Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, Quad-core, 2200 MHz, Krait 400 processor
Size6.41 x 3.36 x 0.34 inches
(162.8 x 85.4 x 8.7 mm)
7.37 oz  (209 g)
Battery3400 mAh, 27.4 hours talk time

Latest stories