Nokia Lumia 2520 review

Sometimes it's better never than late.

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Nokia Lumia 2520
  • Nokia Lumia 2520
  • Nokia Lumia 2520
  • Nokia Lumia 2520
  • Expert Rating

    2.50 / 5

Pros

  • Bright screen
  • Connectivity

Cons

  • Poor construction
  • Windows RT
  • Heavy

Bottom Line

There are signs everywhere hinting the Lumia 2520 is Nokia's first tablet. Its construction falls short of the standards set by rivals; its RT software is frustratingly limited; and it is too expensive.

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Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia has gone through just as Nokia’s first tablet, the Lumia 2520, made its way to Telstra’s shelves. The 10.1-inch tablet will be one of the last products released by the Nokia we know and love, and although it comes with some impressive kit, worries linger over its Windows RT 8.1 software.

Bright 10.1in screen, Solid connectivity

Nokia’s first tablet is a case of function over form. A full set of features deem it heavy for a slate at 615 grams. Place it adjacent to the iPad Air, the kind of tablet free from compromise, and light shines on the Nokia’s design shortcomings. There’s a lack of refinement to the subtle details, such as the flexing and creaking of the back cover, or the way the SIM tray fails to sit flush.

It runs two deficient interfaces

Redeeming the tablet is the 10.1in, Full HD screen. Its 218 pixels-per-inch density is on par with Sony’s Xperia Z2 Tablet, but at 650 nits, it reaches higher levels of brightness. Concealed at the base of the screen are proficient stereo speakers.

Split personality

The Nokia tablet runs Windows 8.1 RT, a version of the software that has a tablet interface, known as Windows UI, and the standard desktop interface found on everyday PCs.

We found ourselves wondering why anyone would buy a Nokia 2520

Windows UI is made up or orthogonal tiles that feed the updates of an application right to a homescreen. This means you can glance at the attractive interface and glean up-to-date information in one hit. Navigating the interface is enjoyable because it is fluent in a range of interactive gestures, but it’s not capable enough to be used as a standalone operating system.

Click on Microsoft Word, for instance, and it will open on a computer desktop; a desktop that knows not of touch gestures, but of a pointer and its mouse. The way you use the tablet is now completely different.

Worse yet, the RT version of Windows doesn’t support third-party programs, and that really undermines what this tablet can be used for. Had the Nokia 2520 ran a full version of Windows, it would appeal to a niche audience. Instead it runs two deficient interfaces.

We found ourselves wondering why anyone would buy a Nokia 2520 over an Apple iPad or Sony’s Xperia Z2 Tablet. These alternatives have software ripe for a tablet, fantastic application support and look great.

The Windows Store has 100,000 apps; approximately ten times less than that of Apple and Google.
The Windows Store has 100,000 apps; approximately ten times less than that of Apple and Google.

Four cores, days of battery

Nokia has laboured more on the Lumia 2520’s hardware. Inside the tablet is built on older Snapdragon 800 architecture, complete with a 2.2GHz quad core CPU and a 4G LTE modem. It has 2GB of RAM, comes with 32GB of internal storage and can accommodate a 64GB mciroSD memory card. (We recommend a memory card as the configured Windows OS will consume roughly 9GBs of storage.)

Built into the tablet is a 8120 milliamp-hour battery. Good Gear Guide used the tablet for emails, web browsing, for instant messaging, to stream YouTube videos, for music playback and to type documents. Under these conditions the tablet averaged and ideal two-and-a-half days of usage without charge.

The $240 keyboard dock simply isn’t worth the pricetag

Battery performance for the Lumis 2520 could have been better had Nokia taken advantage of the tablet’s ports. Plug in a microUSB cable — either version 2.0 or 3.0 — and the tablet won’t charge. Dock the tablet in its Nokia branded dock and although it will run off the dock’s battery, the dock won't charge the tablet in the same fashion as Asus’ Transformer. This means if your battery dies and you don’t have the proprietary charger on you — even if you have generic microUSB cables and the charged dock with you — the Lumia 2520 becomes useless.

The micro-USB ports won’t charge the Lumia 2520. You will need to take the proprietary Nokia charger wherever you go.
The micro-USB ports won’t charge the Lumia 2520. You will need to take the proprietary Nokia charger wherever you go.

Power keyboard

Don’t buy the Nokia Power Keyboard. The $240 keyboard dock simply isn’t worth the pricetag. Long typing sessions will be brutal on your fingers, your posture will ache from the rigid angle of the screen, and the size and weight of it undermines the mobility of a tablet. It weighs a heavy 1.2kg with the tablet in tow, and that’s just 0.1kg less than our 13in Samsung notebook.

The case, with its two USB ports and battery pack, follows the 2520’s example of prioritising function over form.

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6.7MP Camera, Full HD Video

Nokia has touted the camera quality of the Lumia 2520 because the 6.7 megapixel camera uses Ziess optics, has commendable aperture at f/1.9 and can record videos at 1920x1080 at 30 frames per second. For all intents and purpose, the rear camera reads well on paper.

The numbers fail to add up to much of an experience — even by tablet standards. Photos taken in all lighting conditions are plagued by image noise, with dimly lit situations suffering the most. The lack of an HDR mode renders stunning landscapes flat in colour and malnourished in detail. The camera falls short of the photos produced by the Xperia Z2 Tablet and the Galaxy NotePro 12.2.

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The verdict

The Nokia Lumia 2520 is exclusively sold by Telstra. Its retail price of $840 makes it almost $300 more than Microsoft’s Surface 2 and means most people will buy it on contract. I imagine employees will inherit it with the hope the quasi-Windows software will make them more productive. But it won’t; no more than an Apple, Sony or Samsung tablet.

And we doubt they’ll enjoy using it more than an established rival.

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Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

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Read more on these topics: Ziess, ios, 8.1, Android, Windows, RT, 2520, iPad, Lumia, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nokia

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