Review: Nokia Lumia 1520


We recently covered Nokia’s role in the Mission 31 adventure. As part of the campaign, the Lumia 1520 device is being used by the explorers, and we’re trying one out to see exactly what it is capable of!

What is it?

The Lumia 1520 is yet another addition to Nokia’s unstoppable range of Windows Phone devices. The 1520 explores the phablet market with the 6″ screen, giving users more options with more Live Tiles per screen, as well as packing in a 20MP camera, which in the Lumia range is only second to the extremely photographic Lumia 1020.

Look and Feel

In some ways, it is very easy to describe the look and feel of a Lumia device. They all seem to be closely related, and yet have their subtle differences. The 1520 is no exception to the rule, with the large 6″ screen at front, showing off the Nokia logo on top, and a tiny little microphone at the bottom of the screen. Rounded edges define the screen prominently, as compared to the others who like to keep the bezel almost non-existent.

The bottom has the micro USB port on it while the top show cases the port for a 3.5mm headset.

The left side includes the ports for both the nano-SIM card as well as the micro SD card, both of which need the tiny poking tool to get out.

The right side has the volume rocker button as well as the power key, and my favourite feature, the dedicated camera key, holding which launches the camera app whenever, wherever!

As far as feel goes, this is definitely a two hand phone. Yeah, you can get away with most features, but to make it properly productive, it works best when used with both hands. It definitely feels big in your pocket, and at 209 gm, it is the heavier one among today’s generation. Being 8.7mm thick means it is still quite convenient to slip into your trouser pockets though.


Hard to begin a review of such a comprehensive device, but the screen is the first thing you notice, and that is where we shall start!

Nokia Lumia screens are by far the ‘blackest’ of all screens. They black looks true, and this means that the visibility is by far the best in both indoors and outdoor environments. The 1520 features a Full HD 6″ screen with an aspect ratio of 16:9. The colour contrast, performance, and pretty much everything is beautiful, and cannot be faulted.

The screen size shines when you are trying to do any work. Being a Windows Phone, this comes with your Office Note and other apps, and running through spreadsheets and documents on the go is what the screen enables you to do.

The power

The Lumia 1520 packs in quite a punch when it comes to processing power. A Quad Core 2.2 GHz SnapDragon 800 is the heart, and it does not leave much to be desired. All the apps run fast, from heavily loaded mailboxes to games. Fast works as well as we want, and we like it!

The ‘Nano-Sim’

Ah yes, this is where this handset ‘bites’ you. So, you went to a micro-SIM when you went smart a little while back. You stayed away from Apple with their Nano-SIMs. Well, this one wants to drag you back. A nano-SIM is ever so slightly smaller than your micro, but it is small enough to make a difference, and this is where you have to remember, that this phone will need one. So yeah, if you are thinking of getting one, make sure you have your nano-SIM ready.

Luckily, most operators are more than happy to comply, and you can always buy adaptors if you wish to go from one phone to another. We do, but that is mostly to do because of all the phones we try!


Talking of SIMs, this phone offers the best connectivity there is. Works around the world, with all kinds of 4G frequencies. Don’t get what I mean? Try an iPhone 4S on O2 and you’ll realize 4G is not for thee!

The Camera

One cannot talk about a Lumia device without going in details about the Camera. The 20MP camera is seriously good, and like the 1020, the app offers you lots of control, and even RAW support. While I won’t be going into details of the imagery and camera options in this post (hopefully another one soon), if you want to keep a good camera in your pocket on the go, this one will not disappoint.

One thing though. The camera is just a touch slower than the likes of 1020, or even other phones. Full control over ISO, brightness, focus and such like does mean that the wait and prep is worth it.


Ah yes, the little matter of Whatsapp. Just when I got this review sample, I discovered that Whatsapp had been ‘pulled’ from the Windows Store because of issues. It is back, but it makes one realize how important one app can be as I held back and shifting to this phone till it came back.


Ah. Nokia apps. Probably the best thing about the Lumia series are the Nokia apps. The photography apps are probably the best out there, though the ‘separate’ apps for Lenses do make the process a bit cumbersome. However, add to the mix things like Nokia Maps, Drive, Here, etc, and you have yourself a great starting point, which is more than other OSes offer. Interestingly, it also picked up some apps offered by my carrier, which I imagine is a SIM feature, or it is just really clever!

FaceSwap is probably the favourite app, and makes a very exciting party game!

Microsoft apps add to your productivity, and that is where this one shines. You have Office on the go, and if you want to do emails, look at slides, or just go through your expenses, this is the device for you. Yes, other OSes offer it all, but this one comes with the proper set, from the word go.

Having said that, apps is probably what has held Windows Phone back. With 8.1 around the corner, things are looking better, but the library still lags far behind what you see on iOS and Android.

WP 8.1

Probably what left a bit to be desired was the fact that WP8.1 has not hit the phone I was trying yet. This means that all the exciting new features I wanted to try, like the swiping keyboard and Cortana are not here. However, one shall wait, and hopefully get back to you with them soon.

Battery Life

A big phone has a big battery but a big screen so more or less the life sticks to about a day. This rule pretty much applied to this phone, but there is a super battery saver mode, which works well.

Speaking of battery, this phone features a built in wireless charging ability, which makes it stand out from the crowd. I am a big fan of wireless charging, and often end up buying accessories to turn by phones into such devices. With this one, you’re good to go!

Pricing and availability

The phone is available from most UK operators as well as vendors. Prices range depending on your contract, but you will be expected to pay north of £500 if you want to buy it standalone.


A great phone, which ticks all the boxes you can think of. Yeah, it is a bit heavy and a bit big, but it is designed to be, which means that is not a flaw! Productivity is great, and so is functionality. Like other Lumia phones, the only place it may lag is the available apps, but that is gap is closing quickly too. There is the attention to detail, the wireless charging, and the great camera too.

More information on the phone can be found at the following link:

We leave you with detailed specs!

The Specs:

    • Dimensions
      • Height: 162.8 mm
      • Width: 85.4 mm
      • Thickness2: 8.7 mm
      • Weight: 209 g
    • Display and User Interface
      • Display size: 6 ”
      • Display resolution: Full HD (1920 x 1080)
      • Display features: Brightness control, Orientation sensor, Nokia Glance screen, Refresh rate 60 Hz, Sunlight readability enhancements, Corning® Gorilla® Glass 2, Easy to clean, High brightness mode, Lumia Color profile, Wide viewing angle
      • Display colors: TrueColor (24-bit/16M)
      • Aspect ratio: 16:9
      • Pixel density: 368 ppi
      • Display technology: ClearBlack, IPS LCD
      • Touch screen technology: Super sensitive touch
      • Sensors: Ambient light sensor, Accelerometer, Proximity sensor, Gyroscope, Magnetometer
    • Keys and Input Methods
      • User Input: Touch
      • Operating keys: Volume keys, Camera key, Power/Lock key
    • Form factor
      • Form factor: Monoblock touch
  • Hardware
    • Connectivity
      • SIM card type: Nano SIM
      • Charging connectors: Micro-USB
      • AV connectors: 3.5 mm audio connector
      • System connectors: Micro-USB-B
      • USB: USB 2.0
      • Bluetooth: Bluetooth 4.0
      • Bluetooth profiles: Hands-free profile (HFP) 1.5, Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) 1.2, Phone Book Access Profile (PBAP) 1.1, General Audio/Video Distribution Profile (GAVDP) 1.2, Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP) 1.4, Object Push profile (OPP) 1.1
      • Wi-Fi: WLAN IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
      • WLAN Security: WPA, WEP, EAP-AKA, PEAP-MSCHAPv2, WPA2 (AES/TKIP), WPA2-Enterprise, WPA2-Personal, WPA-Enterprise, EAP-SIM, WPA-Personal
      • NFC: Pairing, Secure NFC for payment, Sharing, Tagging
      • Other wireless connectivity: Wi-Fi Channel bonding
    • Data Network
      • LTE network bands3: 1, 3, 7, 8, 20
      • LTE max data speed DL: 150 Mbps
      • LTE max data speed UL: 50 Mbps
      • WCDMA network: 850 MHz, 900 MHz, 1900 MHz, 2100 MHz
      • WCDMA max data speed DL: HSDPA – 42.2 Mbps
      • WCDMA max data speed UL: HSUPA – 5.76 Mbps
      • GSM network: 850 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 1900 MHz
      • GSM max data speed DL: EGPRS 296.0 kbps
      • GSM max data speed UL: EGPRS 236.8 kbps
    • Power Management4
      • Battery: BV-4BW
      • Battery capacity: 3400 mAh
      • Battery voltage: 3.8 V
      • Removable battery: No
      • Maximum standby time: 32 days
      • Maximum talk time (2G): 27.4 h
      • Maximum talk time (3G): 25.1 h
      • Maximum music playback time: 124 h
      • Maximum video playback time: 10.8 h
      • Maximum Wi-Fi network browsing time: 13.6 h
      • Wireless charging: Built-in (Qi standard)
    • Processor
      • Processor name: Qualcomm Snapdragon™ 800
      • Processor type: Quad-core 2.2 GHz
    • Memory
      • User data storage: In device, Memory card
      • RAM: 2 GB
      • Mass memory: 32 GB
      • Expandable memory card type: MicroSD
      • Maximum memory card size: 64 GB
      • Free cloud storage: 7 GB

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