The Nokia Lumia 1520 at 6 inches is Nokia’s first ever phablet, but it’s also a lot more than that; it’s the first time Nokia have pushed the envelope with their specs, upping their game to outspec almost every phone in the market so how good is it as a phone?
First off, I’ll spare you the long read; if you don’t like big screens then *spoiler alert* the Lumia 1520 isn’t for you, but if you’re not completely adverse to them then read on and maybe we can change your mind.
In terms of design the Lumia 1520 is most reminiscent of the beautiful Lumia 925, mainly due to the camera hump design, as well as the strong corners and over all very “premium” finish. Of course the Lumia 925 is in a class of its own when it comes to looks, but the Lumia 1520 carrying on its footsteps is definitely a good thing. The design of the 1520 is very polished, and hardly strays from perfection built by refining the Lumia design; in fact the only complaint I could find about the physical design (and no, being *too* big doesn’t count) is that the corners are a bit too sharp, and can be uncomfortable if pressed against the palms of your hand for too long.
Even though the Lumia 1520 has a massive 6″ screen (which is absolutely stunning, but more on that later); it isn’t much larger than it has to be, short of carrying just enough bezel to fit the windows keys and front facing camera the 1520 doesn’t have any “dead space” that needlessly enlarges the size of the phone. The available textures of the device also affect how it’ll feel in your hand; as going for a matte finish (such as the yellow or black) will go a ways to help increase your grip on the device, versus going with a glossy finish (like the red or white).
The main attraction of the Lumia 1520 is of course its amazing 6 inch 1080p full HD display, the highest resolution display ever on a Nokia phone (or Windows Phone). The display clocks in at 368 ppi which is more than enough to satisfy the beast inside; it’s only made better by being paired with an IPS LCD display and Nokia’s amazing clear black display technology, not to mention Gorilla Glass 2 and Super Sensitive touch. The increased display resolution leads to more tiles, which allows you to get more content out of almost everything on your screen, from more tiles to increased message/email previews and more albums in your library. Needless to say everything just looks so amazing.
Unfortunately though a downside to this higher resolution is that the finer parts of the UI elements in apps have to be up-scaled to match the resolution, something that not all apps have done yet; namely Whatsapp. The result is a depressingly blurry icon that ruins the novelty of such a beautiful screen (notice the blurry paperclip image). Fix it!
The Lumia 1520 has a pretty impressive 20 Mp camera, with an LED flash and optical image stabilization and the usual Nokia sorcery that produces impressive images, and the Lumia 1520 is no different. Images are nice and detailed (although everything looks pixelated and poor quality when you’ve gotten used to the 1020), and best of all there is no post processing yellow tint after the image is captured. However I’ve found that images can be occasionally grainy when shooting in dim (not dark) conditions, but nothing too horrible. I’ve found that the Lumia 1520 also is slightly flash-fire happy, letting the LED go off when it’s most certainly not needed, which can sometimes add a purplish hue to images.
For me though the Lumia 1520 makes up for what it lacks in detail by having very fast capture times and focus acquisition when compared to the 1020 (the 1520 can also focus on objects that are much closer to the lens than the 1020 can).
The Lumia 1520 also takes some pretty nifty videos, using 2X lossless zoom to get better results, however the stabilization isn’t as good as that of the 1020 (due to the lack of the ball-bearings I believe) and the quality is obviously not as detailed; but they still look nice; and the video capture is accompanied by some amazing audio recording thanks to the 4 mics and directional rich recording (which I found most effective when filming using the front facing camera, as if you’re V-logging).
Main Camera test-
Note the purple hue is actually because the sun is setting, there’s nothing wrong with the camera.
Front facing camera test-
The directional mics can be turned on from the settings, allowing you to either capture from all directions, or only those facing the camera; either way I think it does a VERY good job.
The Lumia 1520 runs the Windows Phone we’re all very familiar with, with the exception of having more live tiles on the start screen and a few other tweaks that were brought to us via GDR3/Lumia Black (closing apps, notifications on lock screen etc.); so instead of going over all that again, here’s what you need to know. The Lumia 1520 is BLAZING fast, you hardly ever see that “resuming…” screen at all on the Quadcore snapdragon 800 powered device, most actions are instantaneous and there isn’t really any waiting around; here’s a video showing off it’s performance + camera speed:
The Lumia 1520 also packs an Adreno 330 GPU, which makes a cakewalk of gaming on the device, if only there were more graphically intense games to challenge it though, but here’s a quick video test of its gaming capabilities:
Unfortunately though, Windows Phone is still behind; and until we get WP 8.1 we really can’t do much more on the 1520 than what we could do on the 520 a year ago. We need to see more updates with more essential features, and although 8.1 is rumored to be right around the corner it can’t get here fast enough (along with its notification center and Cortana).
If you’ve read this far then i assume the large size of the 1520 isn’t a deal breaker for you; and if that’s the case then this is most definitely the phone for you, period. The 1520 is without a doubt the best WP you can buy on the market today, and it’ll out-spec most of those androids as well, it has a pretty impressive camera and its performance is astounding. All I can say is if you really need every last pixel in your camera get the 1020, if you need every pixel to be in your screen, get the 1520.