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Nokia Lumia 1520 Review

Nokia Lumia 1520 9

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Nokia Lumia 1520 Review
Nokia Lumia 1520 Review
Call Quality

Phone calls are still handled with some ease, but as a whole, its quality is nothing more than average. First, there’s the matter with its earpiece, which produces voices that are natural in tone, but its volume output is a bit weak – requiring us to push the earpiece firmly close to our ear to properly make out voices. Secondly, voices sound hollow through the speakerphone. And finally, our callers mention that our voice sounds a tiny bit crackly on their end of the line.


Generally speaking, big phones get big batteries, so the Lumia 1520 gladly obliges this norm by giving us one too. To be exact, its slim body is stuffed with a beefy 3400 mAh battery, which is one heck of a large capacity. Impressively, it’s able to provide us with a battery life that’s long lasting! In our experience, it’s able to deliver a solid one day of heavy usage consisting of surfing the web, sending text messages, checking email, and making an occasional phone call. As for those who aren’t as demanding, you can sleep knowing it can pull out as much as two whole days under light usage.


Holy smokes people! When it was officially announced to arrive on AT&T a couple weeks ago, we were already impressed to hear that it would be priced at $200 with a 2-year contract – a price point that seems to undercut other phablets in the space. However, things didn’t end there, as Nokia went on an aggressive stance by dropping its price down lower to $99.99 on-contract. And with that folks, we have to gladly say that it’s so darn attractive.

Indeed, AT&T’s version of the Nokia Lumia 1520 gets its internal storage capacity cut in half to 16GB, while also losing built-in wireless charging, but when we factor in its impressive hardware specs, amazing still image quality from its camera, and gigantic size screen, it’s hard to not fall in love with this beastly smartphone. It might not offer the water resistant properties of the Sony Xperia Z Ultra, nor does it have the rich organizational features of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, but the Lumia 1520 creates a niche spot of its own, thanks in part to the aforementioned qualities we’ve mentioned already.

On the other side of the spectrum, for those who are contemplating on picking this up without a contract, its $584.99 price point still seems pretty good in comparison to other phablets – though, there’s no arguing that its on-contract cost absolutely gives it more bang for the buck. At the end of the day, there’s plenty to like about the 1520, as it’s no doubt the best Windows Phone out right now. For a long time there, Windows Phones in general just seemed underpowered in comparison to those premier Android smartphones. Thankfully though, that’s no longer the case going forward, seeing that the Nokia Lumia 1520 gives Windows Phone something to shine about. Ultimately, the Lumia 1520 is one rock hard device that gives the competition something to worry about.

Software version of the review unit:
OS Version: 8.0.10517.150
Firmware Revision Number: 1028.3534.1343.0001
Hardware Revision Number:


  • Hard-to-beat $100 on-contract cost
  • Excellent still image quality
  • Impressive specs for a Windows Phone
  • Long battery life


  • Wide handset
  • Underwhelming video recording
  • Hollow sounding speaker
PhoneArena rating:
9 Excellent
User rating:
9.7 32 Reviews

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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.

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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

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