x PhoneArena is hiring! Reviewer in the USA

Nokia Lumia 520 Review

Nokia Lumia 520 8

Posted: , by


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:
8 Good
User rating:
8.4 19 Reviews

  • Options

posted on 15 Apr 2013, 06:34 2

1. TheBitterTruth (unregistered)

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

posted on 15 Apr 2013, 06:35 3

2. TheBitterTruth (unregistered)

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

posted on 15 Apr 2013, 06:48 1

4. shadez10 (Posts: 427; Member since: 15 Jan 2012)

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

posted on 15 Apr 2013, 06:37 3

3. lumia920 (Posts: 112; Member since: 27 Nov 2012)

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

posted on 15 Apr 2013, 06:52 1

5. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 4278; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)

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

posted on 15 Apr 2013, 07:56

6. boosook (Posts: 1442; Member since: 19 Nov 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.

posted on 15 Apr 2013, 08:05 10

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.

posted on 15 Apr 2013, 09:12

11. ahhxd717 (Posts: 332; Member since: 08 Dec 2011)

Lol, ok then.

posted on 15 Apr 2013, 10:37 1

12. jsdechavez (Posts: 758; Member since: 20 Jul 2012)

Who uses a 'real navigator anyway?'

posted on 29 Jul 2013, 20:19

27. ibap (Posts: 780; Member since: 09 Sep 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.

posted on 15 Apr 2013, 07:56 5

7. reyyys (Posts: 7; Member since: 28 Mar 2013)

great phone!

posted on 15 Apr 2013, 08:44 3

10. Henrik (Posts: 141; Member since: 18 Feb 2012)

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

posted on 30 Apr 2013, 22:26

24. Timothypadang (Posts: 4; Member since: 30 Apr 2013)

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

posted on 15 Apr 2013, 08:26 3

9. Shubham412302 (Posts: 450; Member since: 09 Nov 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.

posted on 15 Apr 2013, 14:32 3

13. NokiaFTW (Posts: 2072; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)

Nokia nailed it. My next phone :)

posted on 15 Apr 2013, 17:57

14. Landmarkcm (Posts: 506; Member since: 11 Aug 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.

posted on 15 Apr 2013, 22:07 1

15. Bappy (Posts: 25; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)

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

posted on 16 Apr 2013, 03:37

17. Landmarkcm (Posts: 506; Member since: 11 Aug 2009)

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

posted on 16 Apr 2013, 01:32

16. mobilefuture (Posts: 221; Member since: 12 Nov 2011)

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

posted on 17 Apr 2013, 00:26

18. keerthi777 (Posts: 4; Member since: 16 Apr 2013)

Buy lumia 520 at the lowest price on EBAY check it here bc.vc/tWJkUO

posted on 19 Apr 2013, 03:44

19. Web4pc (Posts: 2; Member since: 19 Apr 2013)

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

posted on 21 Apr 2013, 11:40

20. Ruisleipä (Posts: 31; Member since: 06 Apr 2013)

Yes, yes it can play 1080p videos.

posted on 22 Apr 2013, 12:40

21. Web4pc (Posts: 2; Member since: 19 Apr 2013)

Hello my email is Asif.af01@gmail.com 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.....?????

posted on 23 Apr 2013, 01:03

22. devilfisch (Posts: 36; Member since: 07 Mar 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.

posted on 13 Sep 2013, 09:24

28. DEBASIS (Posts: 5; Member since: 09 Sep 2013)


posted on 30 Apr 2013, 07:44

23. Timothypadang (Posts: 4; Member since: 30 Apr 2013)

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

posted on 21 May 2013, 15:28

25. ashank87 (Posts: 1; Member since: 21 May 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...

posted on 01 Jun 2013, 06:37

26. Lumialower (Posts: 1; Member since: 01 Jun 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?

posted on 13 Sep 2013, 09:32

29. DEBASIS (Posts: 5; Member since: 09 Sep 2013)



posted on 28 Aug 2014, 11:24

30. BROWN (Posts: 24; Member since: 08 Aug 2014)

i'm a business traveler and travel to a lot of foreign countries , in my experience unlock codes
are the very best method to unlock nokia lumia 520 phone , i used unlock codes procured from Link: attphoneunlockingshop.us
to unlock my phones and it worked wonderfully well

Want to comment? Please login or register.

Nokia Lumia 520

Nokia Lumia 520

OS: Windows Phone 8.1 8
view full specs
Display4.0 inches, 480 x 800 pixels (235 ppi) IPS LCD
Camera5 megapixels
Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus, Dual-core, 1000 MHz, Krait processor
0.5 GB RAM
Size4.72 x 2.52 x 0.39 inches
(119.9 x 64 x 9.9 mm)
4.37 oz  (124 g)
Battery1430 mAh, 14.8 hours talk time

Latest stories