Nokia

Nokia Lumia 1520: The Colossal Flagship Windows Phone

Abhishek Baxi

What is it?

Nokia's latest flagship phone - Nokia Lumia 1520 - is the most powerful Windows Phone to date, and the 6-inch device is company's first foray into phablets and the first display that features the Windows Phone support for large, high resolution displays.

Who is it for?

A 6-inch display makes the Lumia 1520 highly appealing to gamers, movie watchers, casual photographers, and business users. The phablet category on smartphones is naturally divisive, and course dependent on the individual.

Hardware

Powered by a 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, and Adreno 330 GPU, the Lumia 1520 is the most powerful Windows Phone device available at the moment, and quite a beast. On the specifications sheet, it is the first Windows Phone that matches the competition in terms of latest hardware. The Lumia 1520 comes with 32GB internal storage, along with the support for microSD card. The Lumia 1520 is Qi-compatible and can be charged wirelessly.

The massive 6-inch display is a 1920 x 1080 IPS LCD with Gorilla Glass 2, along with Nokia's ClearBlack polarizer for deep blacks and low reflectivity in light. This time around, Nokia has opted for IPS LCD over AMOLED (like in Lumia 1020). While I'll not debate on the technology since it is often a personal preference, but it is arguably the best display around, and the screen is bright with vibrant colors and an impressive viewing angle.

When it comes to the design of the Lumia 1520, Nokia sticks to what works - a premium polycarbonate, unibody design with smooth, curved edges - and is available in yellow, white, black, and glossy red. The layout is identical too with the volume, power, and camera buttons on the right side, but the buttons match the color of the device instead of being in contrast and are bit flatter making them awkward to detect sometimes. The back of the phone looks similar to that of the Lumia 925, with the camera lens slightly protruding out.

While the phone is very large, it's thin and light (a little heavier than Samsung Galaxy Note 3 though) making it comfortable to hold. While it's manageable in one hand, more often than not, you'd have to use two hands to work on the device. Also, you can't lug it around in most pockets.

While I usually don't notice much difference in audio quality of the flagship phones, the speaker on Lumia 1520 is quite impressive and rival many tablets and laptops. Cranking it to 100% makes it very loud, while remaining distortion-free. This should add to the phone's appeal to gamers and media consumers.

The phone packs a 3400 mAh battery which along with the Snapdragon 800 processor's optimization delivers a great battery life. In most cases, the phone lasted over a day of average use over 3G and WiFi.

Camera

The 20 MP PureView Camera on the Nokia Lumia 1520 is just a shade below the 41 MP monster, the Lumia 1020. The photos taken from the Lumia 1520 were quite sharp, and the colors were very balanced. A little noisy, but the low-light shots came out pretty well as well. The 2.2 GHz Quad-Core processor helps with image processing making it a smooth experience unlike the lag found in Lumia 1020.

At 1/1.25-inch, the sensor on Lumia 1520 falls between the large 1/1.5-inch sensor of the Lumia1020 and the smaller 1/3-inch sensor of the Lumia 920. The flash on the Lumia 1520 is dual LED instead of the brilliant xenon flash found on the Lumia 1020, but is one of the best that I've seen.

The Lumia 1520 is a great device for shooting videos. The phone offers video recording in 1080p and 720p resolution and includes Optical Image Stabilization. The phone includes four directional microphones - two at the front and two at the back - aiding the shot videos with an impressive surround-sound experience.

Experience

If you are a gamer, the Lumia 1520 is a delightful device. Not only do you get more room for on-screen controls, the under the hood bearings make it a great gaming device to play the top of the line, graphic-intensive games like Asphalt 8: Airborne. I did notice that the phone gets heated up slightly on playing games like these for a while.

While most of the Nokia marketing focuses on positioning the Lumia 1520 as a gaming and multimedia device, I found it as a great device for business. Getting things done on an Excel spreadsheet or a Word document is a fascinating experience on the 6-inch display. However, once you get used to this real estate, going back to a sub 5-inch phone might be tough!

The Nokia Lumia 1520 comes with Windows Phone Update 3, or the Lumia Black, as the Nokia build is called as. While this adds an extra row of tiles on the home screen, most Windows Phone apps are not optimized to take advantage of the large screen estate. You'd sometimes wish some apps could provide extra functionality or controls on one screen since you have a large display at your disposal.

While I can live with that limitation, I would've definitely liked to have the support for stylus, a key selling point for the Samsung Galaxy Note devices.

The Lumia 1520 of course includes the usual signature Nokia experience - HERE Drive+ and HERE Maps, Nokia Mix Radio, and Nokia Camera - it also includes new applications like the Nokia StoryTeller and Nokia Beamer. While the StoryTeller app allows you to group photos based on location, people, and time, the Beamer app allows you to share photos from the phone to an external display wirelessly.

The Best Part

- Premium build quality

- Excellent performance with top of the line hardware

- Brilliant HD display

The Tragic Flaw

- No stylus support

- Hardware buttons are a little too flushed

- Nano SIM: If you swap between phones frequently, Nano SIM is a headache

Should I buy it?

Nokia Lumia 1520 is an excellent multimedia device, and watching videos, reading ebooks, or browsing the Web is a joyful experience on it. The Lumia 1520 may be extreme for some, but it accomplishes what it is intended for admirably. It's not too unwieldy for a 6-inch device, but it's not a one-hand device either. If that's not a concern, but an attraction, the Lumia 1520 is a drool worthy phone and at less than INR 46,999, it is a good buy.

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