Nokia Lumia 520 Review

Call quality

Voice calls in the earpiece sound about average in terms of strength, but the sound comes somewhat hollow and distorted towards the highest volumes. On the receiving end the situation is below average, with the phone's single mic mustering muted and crackling sound, that needs to be relayed with more strength to boot.


Nokia promises nine and a half hours of 3G talk time from the Lumia 520's 1430 mAh battery, which is a pretty good feat, and the excellent 61 hours of music playback. The only somewhat weak endurance point here is in video playback times, which are sub-5 hours, and below the category average.


If you don't mind the sketchy call quality, Nokia has hit the nail on the head with its most affordable Windows Phone handset to date. It runs the newest version of Microsoft's mobile OS, has a zippy processor, expandable storage, and produces decent pictures and video.

Add a few exclusives like the touchscreen that can be operated with gloves, and the free HERE offline navigation suite, and the Lumia 520's about $200 price tag without any contract suddenly becomes very, very appealing.

As a direct competition we can point out the lighter HTC 8S, which also runs WP8 and has roughly the same specs, save for less internal memory, but compensates it with the addition of an LED flash. It, however, costs a hundred bucks more SIM-free, and doesn't offer free global offline navigation.

Then comes the Android army, in which there are plenty of last year's handsets in this $200-$250 price range, like the single-core HTC One V or the dual-core Sony Xperia sola. They can give the Lumia 520 a run for its money with all those Android apps and widgets behind their back, though we have to admit that the free voice-guided offline navigation that Lumias come with is a pretty big selling point, if you master the Live Tiles, and can live without a few of your favorite dedicated apps on Windows Phone 8.

Software version: 1030.6408.1309.0001

Nokia Lumia 520 Video Review:


  • Good all-around value for the money
  • Free offline voice-guided navigation
  • Screen can be operated with gloves


  • Subpar call quality

PhoneArena Rating:


User Rating:

19 Reviews



1. TheBitterTruth unregistered

Did you use Grey color background or its the screen's fault it self?

2. TheBitterTruth unregistered

Umm.. I think Nokia has'nt use Clear Black Techno Here.

4. shadez10

Posts: 427; Member since: Jan 15, 2012

yup... no clearblack on this model...

3. lumia920

Posts: 112; Member since: Nov 27, 2012

sub-continent is waiting for you.!!!!!!

5. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

Great! A friend of mine has been waiting for this. Gonna recommend this to him.

6. boosook

Posts: 1442; Member since: Nov 19, 2012

Who uses offline navigation anymore? Since this is a smartphone, you probably have a data plan, so being online it's not a problem. What's more, if you're offline you don't get realtime info like traffic or road works, and you cannot integrate search and navigation (e.g. search for a street, restaurant, shop etc in google maps and ask the phone to drive you there). Offline navigation was popular in the 20th century, now we moved forward. Of course, there are some situations where offline navigation is still useful (e.g. if you travel in a country where you might have no GSM coverage or you can't activate a data plan), but in these cases I'd rather get a real navigator, and anyway I consider the offline navigator a weak selling point.

8. windroid unregistered

"and you cannot integrate search and navigation (e.g. search for a street, restaurant, shop etc in google maps and ask the phone to drive you there)" Nokia offline navigation has all that built in, no need for data plan. If you go to other country (common in Europe) you won't want to have a data plan with roaming that will cost you a fortune, so, very nice to have offline navigation. The missing apps aren't all that much, the WP is catching up quickly, and all major apps are already integrated. For about $200 I think it's a good choice.

11. ahhxd717

Posts: 332; Member since: Dec 08, 2011

Lol, ok then.

12. jsdechavez

Posts: 807; Member since: Jul 20, 2012

Who uses a 'real navigator anyway?'

27. ibap

Posts: 867; Member since: Sep 09, 2009

I hate to break this to you, but unless you never leave a major city, there are places where the cell signal is too unreliable for navigation. On Android I use CoPilot, for just that reason. If I have good cell signal, I can use Google maps when necessary for search and traffic.

7. reyyys

Posts: 7; Member since: Mar 28, 2013

great phone!

10. Henrik

Posts: 141; Member since: Feb 18, 2012

And it looks good too :-) Even better than the 620, in my opinion.

24. Timothypadang

Posts: 4; Member since: Apr 30, 2013

yes, I think so...... like a lumia 920

9. Shubham412302

Posts: 581; Member since: Nov 09, 2011

well at least don't talk of xperia sola and one v they cannot play 1080 videos natively and cost more and will not be upgraded to jb. its frustuating when your phone doesn't gets updated while this phone will surely receive updates for atleast 18 months. only nexus are promised on android to get updated for 18 months. plz don't come and say to root and update to custom ROM like cm10. at least in HTC and Sony you void your warranty as soon as you give your imei no. for boot loader unlock code.

13. NokiaFTW

Posts: 2072; Member since: Oct 24, 2012

Nokia nailed it. My next phone :)

14. Landmarkcm

Posts: 507; Member since: Aug 11, 2009

The lack of a camera flash right off the bat is a fail for me. Why would they leave that off. This is useless if you like to take low light shots esp indoors or out with your friends in low light etc.

15. Bappy

Posts: 25; Member since: Oct 29, 2012

That's why you have Lumia 620 or more expensive models.

17. Landmarkcm

Posts: 507; Member since: Aug 11, 2009

Ya tmo should have got the 620 instead of this. Price point isn't that much higher.

16. mobilefuture

Posts: 224; Member since: Nov 12, 2011

1080p video playback?? that's not a typo is it??? O_O

18. keerthi777

Posts: 4; Member since: Apr 16, 2013

Buy lumia 520 at the lowest price on EBAY check it here

19. Web4pc

Posts: 2; Member since: Apr 19, 2013

Can any one tell me that lumia 520 can play 720p and 1080p videos like android 4.0 phones plays......???????

20. Ruisleipä

Posts: 31; Member since: Apr 06, 2013

Yes, yes it can play 1080p videos.

21. Web4pc

Posts: 2; Member since: Apr 19, 2013

Hello my email is i am going to buy lumia 520 i contact the microsoft windowsphone site chat with them he says lumia 520 can record but can not play 720p so please tell me as friend the truth that lumia 520 videos player can play 720p videos or not please please.....?????

22. devilfisch

Posts: 36; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

I have a Lumia 620 and it plays 1080p MP4 videos well and without a hitch. The Lumia 520 is pretty similar to the 620 in terms of specs so I won't find it surprising if it can also do the same.


Posts: 5; Member since: Sep 09, 2013


23. Timothypadang

Posts: 4; Member since: Apr 30, 2013

I Think, This is the most PERFECT entry level phone :)

25. ashank87

Posts: 1; Member since: May 21, 2013

Hey guys, i have a genuine problem. I got the mobile from an online retailer.. i noticed there is a small red light blinking on top of screen just near the speaker (where u hear the voice while calling) This happens while making/receiving call, a small red light blinks near speaker not all time.. can anyone please confirm if this is ok or i got a defective product...

26. Lumialower

Posts: 1; Member since: Jun 01, 2013

Perfect budget phone but i still dont get it, why to release that crappy phone named nokia asha 501? Does nokia aim this phone for 6 year old kids? Or 100$ without contract phone?


Posts: 5; Member since: Sep 09, 2013



Posts: 24; Member since: Aug 08, 2014

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Lumia 520
  • Display 4.0" 480 x 800 pixels
  • Camera 5 MP
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus, Dual-core, 1000 MHz
  • Storage 8 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 1430 mAh(9.6h 3G talk time)

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