There are two kinds of people in the world: one who often settle after acquiring certain things, and the other who keep looking for the bigger and the better things. Lumia 1520 from Nokia (now Microsoft Mobile) is specifically there for that later part of the segment.
Modern smartphones are keep getting better albeit also bigger in size as gone are the days when a smartphone with screen size of 4 inch considered to be big. There has been a new trend for smartphones emerging lately which is infamously known as Phablets (phone+tablet). The Phablets are keep pushing the boundaries between big screen smartphones and mini 7 or 8 inch tablets with best of the both experiences. As the phone manufacturers keep releasing new phablets every month, it is important to know that how they are differentiating the phablet experience for the consumers and making smartphone experience better , so lets look at Nokia’s first phablet,the Lumia 1520 in my experience with the device for a month of usage. I’d like to thank the folks over at Bloggers Mind for this review unit.
Unboxing with 360 degree device view:
Lumia 1520 box comes with a pair of in-ear headphones, nano sim card removal tool, standard microusb charger with detachable usb cable and the user manuals. My review unit was in white color, 1520 is also available in black,red,yellow and green (US only).
Check out the unboxing and 360 degree view of the device in below video:
Lumia 1520 is not just a device with huge screen of 6 inch but it is a Nokia phablet with flagship specifications which still hold true against the fierce competition of this year, thanks to Snapdragon 800 processor with 2gb ram, 32gb in built storage with microsd slot for memory expansion up to 128gb, gorgeous 6 inch full HD clearblack IP display (387 PPI) with Nokia Glance, Gorilla Glass 2 and massive 3400 mah non removable battery with Qi wireless charging built in.
Lumia 1520 also comes with Pureview imaging technology with 20 megapixels Carl Zeiss lens with 1/2.5″ sensor size, Optical Image Stabilization, dual-LED flash and 2 megapixels selfie camera.
Design and build:
Lumia 1520 on front carries the iconic Lumia fabula design which is present in Lumia 920, 800 etc. The front look really compliments the tiles user interface of Windows Phone.
The non removable back of the phablet includes the camera hump along with the powerful loud speaker which is located at the bottom part.
The 3.5 mm headphone jack is located at the top while micro usb charging port is located at the bottom. The right hand side features familiar Windows Phone design of volume rockers, power/unlock key and the camera key which can also wake up the device with the launch of default camera app by long pressing it. The left side of the device is just plain except microsd card slot and nano sim slot.
The Nokia Lumia 1520 is,a huge phone,as the 6″ screen alone is huge for a pocketable device. At 162.8 x 85.4 x 8.7mm, it’s actually a thinner phablet. Its weight however is not, the Lumia 1520 weighs good 209g, but because of the larger footprint the device is weighted equally and thus feels solid in the hand.
Lumia 1520 sports massive 6 inch full hd display with way above Retina display standard (326 PPI) as it has 387 PPI which enables high quality viewing experience with no visible pixels. The display technology is of IPS type along with Nokia’s innovative and class leading Clear Black technology which enables best in class Sunlight visibility in outdoors and great viewing angles. There is also a new display technology which Nokia debuted, adaptive pixel technology which makes sure that Lumia 1520 display is bright and blur free at any light condition by adjusting the display brightness at each pixels level.
There are also famous Nokia display features like double tap to wake up and Nokia glance (low power display mode which shows clock/notifications with always on/peek accessibility without need for unlocking the display )
User experience and UI:
Latest software release Windows Phone 8.1 from Microsoft and Nokia’s fine touch in form of Windows Phone 8.1 Cyan update has taken user experience to next level with the key highlights being Cortana (best in class personal digital assistant) , more customization in terms of home screen wallpapers, all new pull-down notification center and a lot more.
Windows Phone operating system’s tiles user interface in general, looks and works great on bigger screens so Lumia Cyan works great on huge 6 inch screen of 1520. Check out below Lumia Cyan features in brief for Lumia 1520 video from Nokia:
Since the inception of Windows Phone operating system in 2010, it doesn’t really require as much powerful cpu and gpu as those flagships running android but this time Nokia went all in approach by powering Lumia 1520 with 2013’s best cpu,gpu and ram combination.
Even in 2014, Windows Phone runs very smooth and just flies with Snapdragon 800 processor with 2gb of ram, 1520’s performance is at par and even notch above most of the Android flagship smartphones of this year. The gpu is adreno 330 which is very powerful and gives amazing gaming experience on 1520’s huge 6 inch screen. I have not yet noticed any lags or slow downs on my Lumia 1520 unit.
I’d also like to add an interesting observation that, because of the polycarbonat body and relatively huge build for a phablet, Lumia 1520 has best in class heat dissipation while playing hd games for longer duration or using location apps for long time.
Camera and Imaging features:
Lumia 1520 comes with formidable 20 Megapixels Pureview ZEISS lens with 1/2.5″ sensor size,dual-LED flash and optical image stabilization which enables blur free pics and video for shack hands and also terrific low light image captures.
The phablet also comes with 4 high amplitude audio capture mics, thus bringing in world’s first smartphone with Dolby 5.1 audio capture during full HD and HD video recording.
There is more good news as up coming software update, Lumia Denim will enable Lumia 1520 to capture videos in 4k resolution with 24 fps and thats not all, the update will also bring image capture at 8 megapixels resolution during 4k video recording, adjustable flash thus illuminating the age old problem of whether to use flash or not, and many other enhancements.
The imaging performance is top notch. Lumia 1520 offers 3 different image capture modes: JPEG 5 MP over sampled images, JPEG 5 MP over sampled images + original 16 MP images, JPEG 5 MP over sampled images + DNG 16 MP images.
Check out the images captured by me with Lumia 1520 below:
Lumia 1520 delivers great user experience for media consumption, thanks to its huge and beautiful display. 1080P videos look so great on my 1520 that now I’d prefer watching movies on my phone rather than on my laptop or tv.
Dolby have done awesome job in partnership with Nokia to bring new feature with Lumia Cyan update, called Dolby Dialogues which amplifies the human voice while watching movies or videos.
Music listening experience is also class leading on Lumia 1520 as the Cyan update brings Dolby virtual surround sound enhancement replacing old Dolby headphones and also the equalizer access is now also possible for music listening through phone’s speakers.
Mix radio also looks fantastic on 1520’s beautiful screen and with the above new Dolby enhancements, Mix radio’s cool mixes play great on the device.
Battery life is phenomenal on 1520 because of the huge battery of 3400mah rating as well as comparatively low power consumption nature of Windows Phone with respect to iOS and Android.
For normal usage scenarios, the battery life is pretty awesome as it lasts for around 3 days on a single charge, while for heavy usage in terms of playing resource hungry games or using location based apps for hours then the battery life is around 2 days which is again pretty impressive compare to other big screen phones running android.
Overall I must say, Lumia 1520 is the best device with longest battery life I have ever used and with up coming software updates I’d say that it will keep getting better, which is a really cool thing as great battery life is a must for a device with 6 inch display and such awesome 20 MP Pureview camera which inspires the user to take many photos.
The phablets are latest trend in smartphone industry and they are often developed in a way that they are only targeted for consumers who are just looking for bigger phones. Many smartphone OEMs make that common mistake of handicapping their phablets in one or many of the important aspect of smartphone’s user experience. More often it is the camera or the processor or the display quality or combination of those which comes in compromised manner and thus the consumers after purchasing the phablets feel that they shouldn’t have gone with the decision.
Fortunately, Lumia 1520 is not that kind of phablet which is compromised in specifications. Lumia 1520 is, by far the best phablet with specifications that deliver great on all aspects of smartphone experience in terms of great display, awesome camera, solid performance and amazing battery life.