Mobile Phones Guide

Nokia Lumia 1520 review

Nokia Lumia 1520 - A Windows Phone Phablet

Compare This
Add to Wishlist
Launch SRP S$999
Latest Price From S$690 (Check Latest Prices)

Overall rating 8.5/10
Design:
8.5
Features:
8.5
User-Friendliness:
8
Performance:
8.5
Value:
8.5
THE GOOD
Gorgeous display
Solid build quality
Smooth performance
Good image quality
Acceptable battery life
THE BAD
Slow camera
Software features not optimized for big screen
Large form factor


Imaging, Benchmark Performance and Conclusion

Performance Benchmarks

On paper, the Lumia 1520 is the most powerful Windows Phone device as it runs on the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core 2.2GHz processor and 2GB RAM. It is on-par with most Android flagship smartphones and we are interested to see where the Lumia 1520 stands among the competition.

We will be pitting the Lumia 1520 against the Android phablet devices such as the 5.9-inch HTC One Max, the 6-inch LG G Flex, the 5.7-inch Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and the 6.44-inch Sony Xperia Z Ultra. We also throw in the Lumia 1020 to see how the world's best camera phone fared.

Nokia Lumia 1520 vs The Competition
  Nokia Lumia 1520 Nokia Lumia 1020 HTC One Max (16GB) LG G Flex Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (32GB) Sony Xperia Z Ultra
Launch SRP
  • From S$999
  • From S$999
  • From S$1028
  • From S$1088
  • From S$1048
  • From S$1038
Latest Price
  • From S$690
  • From S$699
  • From S$795
  • From S$720
  • From S$760
  • From S$590
Operating system
  • Windows Phone
  • Windows Phone 8
  • Android 4.3 Jelly Bean with HTC Sense 5.5
  • Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean
  • Android 4.3 Jelly Bean
  • Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean
Processor
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core 2.2GHz
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 dual-core 1.5GHz
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 quad-core 1.7GHz
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core 2.26GHz
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core 2.3GHz
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core 2.2GHz
Built-in Memory
  • 2GB RAM
  • 2GB RAM
  • 2GB RAM
  • 2GB RAM
  • 3GB RAM
  • 2GB RAM
Display
  • 6-inch / 1,920 x 1,080 resolution / IPS LCD
  • 4.5-inch / 1,280 x 768 resolution / AMOLED
  • 5.9-inch / 1,920 x 1,080 pixels / Super LCD 3
  • 6-inch / 1280 x 720 resolution (245 ppi) P-OLED Display
  • 5.7-inch / 1,920 x 1,080 pixels / Super AMOLED
  • 6.44-inch / 1,920 x 1,080 resolution / TFT
Camera
  • Rear: 20-megapixel with Carl Zeiss optics, Dual-LED Flash, PureView technology
  • Front: 1.2-megapixel
  • Rear: 41-megapixels with Carl Zeiss Tessar lens, xenon flash and optical image stabilization
  • Front: 1.2-megapixel
  • Rear: 4-megapixel HTC UltraPixel camera with BSI, HTC ImageSense 2, F2.0
  • Front: 2.1-megapixel front-facing camera / wide angle lens / F2.0
  • Rear: 13MP / 8x digital zoom, multi-point AF (9 points), Sapphire Crystal Glass Lens
  • Front: 2.1MP
  • Rear: 13-megapixel with BSI sensor, autofocus and LED flash
  • Front: 2-megapixel with BSI sensor
  • Rear: 8-megapixel, autofocus, Sony Exmor RS for mobile
  • Front: 2-megapixel
Connectivity
  • WLAN IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth v4.0, NFC, Wi-Fi Channel bonding, 3.5mm audio connector, Micro-USB
  • Wi-Fi, Bluetooth v3.0, NFC, micro-USB 2.0, 3.5mm audio connector
  • Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, DLNA, Miracast, NFC, 4G LTE
  • Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth v4.0 with A2DP and LE, DLNA, micro-USB 2.0, 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/nac (HT80), GPS/GLONASS, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0 (LE), IR LED, MHL 2.0
  • Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n, DLNA, Bluetooth v4.0, NFC, micro-USB 2.0 (MHL), 3.5mm headphone jack
Storage Type
  • 32GB internal storage
  • microSD card (up to 64GB)
  • 32GB internal storage
  • 16GB internal storage with 50GB free Google Drive online storage
  • microSD support up to 64GB
  • 32GB internal storage
  • 32GB internal storage
  • microSD support up to 64GB
  • 16GB internal storage
  • microSD support up to 64GB
Battery
  • 3,400mAh
  • 2,000mAh
  • 3,300mAh
  • 3,500mAh
  • 3,200mAh
  • 3,000mAh
Dimensions
  • 162.8 x 85.4 x 8.7mm
  • 130.4 x 71.4 x 10.4mm
  • 164.5 x 82.5 x 10.29mm
  • 160.5mm x 81.6mm x 8.7mm
  • 151.2 x 79.2 x 8.3mm
  • 179.4 x 92.2 x 6.5mm
Weight
  • 209g
  • 158g
  • 217g
  • 177g
  • 168g
  • 212g

 

Sunspider Javascript

SunSpider Javascript measures the browsing performance of a device. It not only takes into consideration the underlying hardware performance, but also assesses how optimized a particular platform is at delivering a high-speed web browsing experience.

Without a doubt, the Snapdragon 800 processor helped the Lumia 1520 gain a better score on the benchmark than the Lumia 1020. Based on our reviews of previous flagship Nokia Lumia devices, its chart toppling score comes as no surprise although the Galaxy Note 3 is not far behind.

During day-to-day usage, the Lumia 1520 felt smooth and fluid in its operation. The Windows Phone OS has always been good in this aspect and the Lumia 1520 upholds that reputation. 

 

Imaging Performance

Unlike the 41-megapixel PureView rear camera-touting Lumia 1020, the Lumia 1520 comes with a 20-megapixel PureView rear camera which is still considered pretty high-end by today's standards. According to Nokia, the Lumia 1520 comes with the same oversampling and zooming technology as the Lumia 1020. 

For a full walkthrough on how Nokia's PureView technology works, check out our PureView feature. In the case of the Lumia 1520, the rear camera can be set to capture photos at 5MP, 5MP + 16MP or 5MP + DNG 16MP. DNG refers to digital negative, which means that the image is taken in RAW format.

The Lumia 1520 has a smaller aperture at f/2.4 compared to the Lumia 1020's f/2.2. The Lumia 1520 also has a smaller sensor size of 1/2.5-inch while the Lumia 1020 sports a larger sensor size of 1/1.5-inch. For comparison' sake, the Apple iPhone 5S and HTC One have a sensor size of 1/3-inch.

Software-wise, the Lumia 1520 ships with Nokia Camera, which replaces the Nokia Pro Cam found on the Lumia 1020 and integrates the best features of Nokia Smart Cam which debut on the Lumia 925.

First, let's take a look at the 5MP PureView image:

Now let's see the high-res 16MP image: 

While the image quality cannot be compared with the Lumia 1020, the Lumia 1520 is still one of the most capable camera phones we've seen this year. However, like the Lumia 1020, it suffers from basic yet notable flaws such as slow focusing and taking too long to capture a photo. When you combine both factors together, its is likely that you may miss capturing a particular moment with the Lumia 1520. However, when it does get the shot, you can be sure its quality doesn't disappoint.

  

Battery Performance

Our standard battery test for mobile phones includes the following parameters:

• Looping a 800 x 480-pixel video with screen brightness and volume at 100%

• Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity turned on

• Constant data streaming through email and Twitter

 

Equipped with a 3,400mAh battery, the Lumia 1520 lasted 4 minutes shy of 9 hours which is considered very impressive for a Windows Phone device even though it still fell a bit short of what most Android phablets managed. Calculating its power consumption numbers revealed it was one of the highest as well, but that's not surprising when you have a 6-inch IPS LCD running a full HD resolution screen.

 

Portability

We measure the portability of a device by calculating its battery life to (weight x volume) ratio. The Lumia 1520 ranked in the middle of the lot; it was higher than the HTC One Max and Sony Xperia Z Ultra due to its lower weight and slightly smaller footprint.

 

Conclusion

While previous Lumia devices may seem inferior in the face of Android flagship smartphones, Nokia has put an end to that with the Lumia 1520. As the company's first phablet, the Lumia 1520 packs a serious punch in terms of specs and features to take on the Android phablets.

The gorgeous 6-inch Full-HD display and excellent image quality delivered by the PureView rear camera are strengths of the Lumia 1520, but its weakest link still lies in the software running under the hood.

With overwhelming demand for Apple iPhones and Android flagship smartphones, there is hardly any room left for Windows Phone devices like the Lumia 1520 to come in and be a compelling alternative. The lack of an interface optimized for large displays offers nothing new in the user experience except the extra screen estate to put more Live Tiles.

Nokia has done a great job with the Lumia 1520, but we aren't sure if consumers are willing to give up better phablets like the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 for a Windows Phone device.

The Nokia Lumia 1520 has been available since 14th December for a recommended retail price of S$999 at Nokia Stores and Nokia Solution Partners in yellow, white and black. The glossy red model will only be retailing in early 2014.