Nokia Lumia 1520 Windows Phone
Nokia's Lumia 1520 combines a great screen with continually developing software, but there's plenty of room for improvement
- Large, excellent display
- PureView camera performs well
- Very good build quality
- Extremely large, awkward to hold
- Camera can be sluggish
- Windows Phone UI needs work
Nokia's Lumia 1520 has a huge 6in display and also includes an excellent 20-megapixel PureView camera. If you can handle its gargantuan, awkward size, it combines a great screen with continually developing software, though there's still plenty of room for improvement.
Price$ 899.00 (AUD)
There's currently a growing demand for smartphones with very large screens and Nokia has responded with one of the biggest on the market. Described as its "first ever large screen Lumia smartphone", the Lumia 1520 has a huge 6in display and also includes an excellent 20-megapixel PureView camera. If you can handle its gargantuan, awkward size, the Lumia 1520 combines a great screen with continually developing software, though there's still plenty of room for improvement.
A gargantuan Lumia
There's no way around this: the Lumia 1520 is a massive smartphone.
There's no way around this: the Lumia 1520 is a massive smartphone. Weighing 209g and measuring almost 86mm wide, it's the largest device we've reviewed this year. Of course, any users who are considering a phone this big will be aware of the cons, but the Lumia 1520 even makes the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 look compact — it's taller, wider, thicker and heavier than Samsung's popular phablet. After a few days of use, you'll discover that the Lumia 1520 barely fits into a regular jeans pocket, is generally uncomfortable to hold and use, and doesn't even fit into a regular sized car cupholder.
The Lumia 1520 follows a similar design to most other Lumia phones Nokia has released in 2013. It's particularly comparable to the mid-range Lumia 720, so much so that it appears Nokia took that phone and simply blew it up. The Lumia 1520 uses the same single-piece polycarbonate body, the same ceramic keys on the side, and the same rounded, curved edges. The only real difference is the camera lens, which protrudes from the back and therefore has a slight bump, along with the microSD card slot on the right side for extra storage.
The Lumia 1520 feels impeccably well constructed.
The Lumia 1520 feels impeccably well constructed. There's no evident creaks or rattles, even when force is applied to the polycarbonate case, and the fit and finish is among the best we've seen on any smartphone. The volume, power/lock and camera buttons on the right side provide excellent tactility, and the touch sensitive back, home and search keys below the screen are responsive. However, they would look far better with a pure white backlight instead of the hazy, slight yellow glow they emit.
The 6in, full HD display on the Lumia 1520 is a significant inclusion for both Nokia and Windows Phone. The operating system was previously limited to a maximum resolution of 1280x720, so the addition of a 1920x1080, Full HD panel brings the device into line with major competitors. The extra pixels now means there's room for a third column of Live tiles on the home screen, and six tiles across the screen instead of four. The screen itself is excellent, producing deep blacks, bright, vibrant colours and offering excellent sunlight legibility. It's also very responsive to touch and can be used even if you're wearing gloves. It's particularly excellent for watching video content and playing games.
A blown up Windows Phone experience
The Lumia 1520 runs the latest version of Windows Phone 8 (Update 3) and also comes with Nokia's newest firmware, called Lumia Black. New features include RAW file support for images, the ability to double tap on the screen to unlock it, and being able to hover your hand over the screen to see selected information at a glance. There's also Bluetooth 4.0 compatibility.
The user interface doesn't feel optimised for the large screen.
These features aside, the general user interface of the Lumia 1520 remains very similar to previous Lumia phones. The software is fast, there's very minimal lag, and apps run smoothly. Scrolling, especially in the Internet Explorer browser and the app list, is smoother and faster than most Android phones we've used. It's a familiar experience overall but a very polished one.
Unfortunately, the Windows Phone UI doesn't feel like it's been optimised for the Lumia 1520's large screen as there's often little to no consideration for usability. The multitasking menu has acres of unused space surrounding it, for example, the keyboard takes up half of the screen (literally), and the font size is extremely large and can't be adjusted. The extra screen real estate is great for extra tiles on the home screen and looks superb for video, but there's plenty of interface elements in the Windows Phone OS where the large screen isn't taken advantage of.
The Windows Phone 8 ecosystem does have some excellent and often overlooked core features. The 7GB of free SkyDrive cloud storage, and the built-in Microsoft Office app (made very useful on such a large screen) are two of the best, while Nokia's preloaded apps include the excellent Here Maps and Here Drive. The lack of popular third-party apps, a common criticism of Windows Phone, is also improving. The likes of Instagram, Angry Birds GO, Vine and 6snap (a Snapchat client) are all available now, and there are plenty of genuine alternatives for many apps that aren't available, provided you look hard enough for them.
Performance is excellent. The Lumia 1520's 2.2GHz quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM ensure the device runs fast and smooth. Gaming is a particular highlight — there's not even a hint of any lagging frame rates in titles like Asphalt 8: Airbourne, Assasins Creed - Altair's Chronicle, and Angry Birds GO!, though the back of the phone around the camera lens does have a tendency to become very warm after a few minutes of gaming. The Lumia 1520 comes with 32GB of internal memory.
PureView camera, good battery life
Pretty impressive, although less so than the Lumia 1020.
The Nokia Lumia 1520 has a 20-megapixel PureView camera with optical image stabilisation. The technology is a lower-resolution version of the Lumia 1020's 41-megapixel PureView sensor, but still allows users to zoom into a photo after it is captured without losing image quality. Zoom is 2x rather than the Lumia 1020's 3x, however, and the 1520 has a dual-LED flash rather than the Xenon one. The front-facing camera has a 1.2-megapixel sensor but can record 720p wide angle video.
Overall results are pretty impressive, although less so than the Lumia 1020. Photos we captured with the Lumia 1520 produced excellent levels of detail, minimal image noise and good colour reproduction, though low light performance was a downside, especially compared to the 1020. The dual-LED flash tends to wash out most photos in dimly lit environment.
The main disadvantage of the camera is speed.
The highlight of the camera is the app itself, which combines Nokia's previous Smart Cam and Pro Cam apps. It provides quick access to Windows Phone's multitude of lenses, which previously weren't accessible in Pro Cam and the wealth of settings available is impressive for a camera phone. Sliding the on-screen capture button to the left brings up on screen controls where you can manually adjust settings like exposure level, white balance, shutter speed and ISO and even focus. You can immediately see the effect the settings will have on the image as they are being adjusted.
The main disadvantage of the Lumia 1520's camera, aside from less than stellar low light results, is speed. The Nokia Camera app can often take up to three or four seconds to launch from the lock screen, and we also experienced lag when adjusting some manual settings, and slow autofocus. It's also an annoyance that the option to switch to the front-facing camera is buried in the settings menu.
The Nokia Lumia 1520 has reasonably good battery life considering the size of the screen. On most occasions, we managed a full day of use out of the 3400mAh battery before our review unit required a recharge, usually averaging between 14 and 15 hours of use. Heavy users will still need to reach for the charger before the end of the day but most should be relatively happy with battery life.
Unlike the Lumia 1020, the 1520 has integrated wireless charging based on the Qi standard so it will work with a number of existing accessories including a wireless charging pillow by Fatboy, a Nokia-branded wireless charging plate and a JBL speaker that will charge the phone and enable one-touch Bluetooth pairing using NFC.
The Nokia Lumia 1520 is available exclusively through Harvey Norman for $899 outright and is available in black, white and yellow colour variants.
Join the newsletter!
SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™
Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44
Nespresso Creatista Coffee Machine
WD MY PASSPORT™ X Gaming Storage
Apple iPhone X
Dyson Supersonic™ Hair Dryer Fuchsia/Iron
WD MY PASSPORT™ Gaming Storage
Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 14
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-55EZ950U
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-77EZ1000U
Toys for Boys
Propel Star Wars T-65 X-Wing Drone
Ubiquiti Network’s Front Row Camera
LaCie Rugged USB-C Portable Hard Drive
Onyx Smart Walkie Talkie
Lego Mindstorms EV3
Bose SoundLink Micro
Google Daydream View VR Headset
Leica M10 Digital Rangefinder Camera
Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K
PETKIG Go Smart Dog Leash
Xbox One X
WD MY CLOUD™ HOME Personal Cloud Storage
Nest Protect Smart Smoke Alarm
Toffee Bags Commuter Satchel
iRobot Roomba 980 Vaccum Cleaning Robot
Dearear Endear In-ear Wireless Earphones
Belkin Pocket Power 10,000mAh
Amazon Echo Bluetooth Speaker
Panasonic Hi-Fi - SC-UA7GS-K
Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse
Tile Pro Bluetooth Tracker
3SIXT 3-in-1 Smartphone Lens Kit
Urbanworx Full HD Action Camera
Kogan Bluetooth Soundbar
Lexon Flip Alarm Clock
Logitech Doodle Collection Wireless Mouse
Raspberry Pi Starter Kit
Ikea NORDMÄRKE Wireless Charging Pad
Panasonic Portable Splashproof Fun - RF-D20U
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Hisense takes the fight to home entertainment heavyweights with flagship Series 8 and 9 ULED TVs
- 2 Sony's latest Ultra HD OLED debuts in Australia
- 3 Panasonic Ultra HD OLED TV Review
- 4 D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD DSH-C310 review
- 5 Oppo A77 smartphone: Full in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Belkin Introduces USB-C 3.1 Express Dock HD
- Porsche Design Huawei Mate 10 Will Come To Australia
- Boost Mobile Doubles Data Offering With New Summer Plans
- BlackBerry KEYone Black Launches in Australia
- HTC U11 Plus latest rumours: Release date, price and specs
PCW Evaluation Team
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.
- Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review
- Get set for Amazon Australia Black Friday launch
- Destiny 2 PC review: A port worthy of PC gaming's mightiest rigs
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTCloud ArchitectNSW
- CCTest AnalystQLD
- FTSenior iOS DeveloperQLD
- FTSalesforce DeveloperOther
- FTMultiple SOC Analyst RolesOther
- FTProject ManagerOther
- FTBusiness Analyst - PEGAOther
- FTSenior Front End DeveloperOther
- FTSenior PHP DeveloperNSW
- FTSolution Architect - API / SaaSOther
- CCReporting AnalystNSW
- FTRisk Specialist - 6 month contractOther
- FTProject ManagerOther
- CCSenior Business AnalystNSW
- FTBusiness Project ManagerOther
- CCSAS DeveloperNSW
- FTSenior Biz Talk DeveloperACT
- FTData AnalystOther
- FTSenior Business Analyst IEMR Project x 2Other
- FTUnix/Linux EngineersOther
- FTRecords AnalystOther
- FTBroker Support/ Applications SupportOther
- FTBusiness Analyst ManagerNSW
- FTSenior Test AnalystQLD
- TPSenior .NET ContractNSW