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Hands On: First impressions of the Nokia Lumia 1520, the 6-inch Windows Phone.



December sixteen, 2013, 2:50 IST

Vishal Mathur

Hands On: First impressions of the Nokia Lumia 1520, the 6-inch Windows Phone.

While Android smartphone users have had the option and the flexibility of upgrading to a real big screen phone, 5.5-inches and up, Windows Phone users had been limited to the 5-inch limit. However, Nokia’s Lumia 1520 changes things a great deal. The first true big screen smartphone running Windows Phone Black was shown off the media in India, today. Nokia has set the Best Buy price for the Lumia 1520 at Rs 46,999. I had the chance to use the device for a while, and the results are extremely impressive.

The 6-inch screen: The IPS factor
There have always been the fans of the big screen phones, citing tasks like typing, web browsing and games are a lot of comfortable on a big screen size. Equally, there are the critics, who immediately point to the sacrifice of the single hand usability as one of the reasons for not upgrading. Being subjective as it is, I cannot not be impressed with the Lumia 1520. The Full HD IPS display features Nokia’s ClearBlack technology, also seen on some of the earlier Lumia phones as well. The 1520’s IPS panel has purer whites and darker blacks, which makes the 1020’s screen tone look warmer in comparison. The LG G2 has one of the best IPS displays we have seen in a smartphone in a long time, but this could run it close when we do the detailed testing.


This 6-inch Full HD IPS display ticks the right boxes – excellent colours, deep black levels and no colour pops out unnaturally. 

Power Package: The mistakes have been corrected
The Lumia 1520 corrects the mistakes of the 1020, primarily the power package. This features the quad-core 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, which powers the fastest Android phones out there, including the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. With 2GB of RAM to assist, performance will not be an issue.

Build Quality: The Lumia trademark
Not to miss out on this aspect in the midst of all the excitement, the build quality is fantastic. The typical Lumia-esque unibody polycarbonate is of extremely good quality, and while it is not metal, it feels extremely premium in-hand. At over 200 grams, the Lumia 1520 is heavy, and has a fairly large footprint – vertically and horizontally. However, at just 8.7mm thickness, we know Nokia’s designers have worked extremely hard on this design. Despite its sheer size, the 1520 fits well in the hand – safely and securely. Single hand operation is out of question, still.


The thin spines make all the difference, with a phone as big as this. 



The typical Lumia-esque unibody polycarbonate finish – feels extremely well made, and premium to look at. 

Camera: On paper, the Lumia 1020 is a slightly better bet
The Lumia 1520 gets the PureView family snapper, but this is a 20MP one instead of the 41MP clicker that the Lumia 1020 came with. This camera will capture a low-resolution, 5-megapixel shot and a full-resolution photo at the same time. However, low light performance of the 1520 may not be as good as the Lumia 1020, considering the smaller 1/2.5in sensor size, compared to the elder siblings 2/3in sensor. We will put this camera through a detailed test, to understand the performance differences better.


Battery: Windows Phone and battery life are happy partners!
In terms of battery life, the 3400mAh battery shouldn’t make you suffer for using a big screen, and all indications point to good battery life. However, we will have to test this in detail to give you a better idea of the performance under various scenarios.

Sound: Multi-directional goodness
A rather interesting feature that Nokia focused on is the multi-directional microphones in the Lumia 1520, which automatically focus on the subject of any video that you may be recording. This helps do away with ambient noise, to a large extent. The audible difference is massive, but it is a pity that you need to hook up the phone to a proper speaker setup to enjoy and cannot really do with the speaker on the device.

Microsoft Office: This means business
We were harping on about this for a long time now. And finally Nokia has listened. The Lumia 1520 comes preloaded with full versions of Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint applications. And it makes a lot of sense too, considering the fact that the big screen size would make working on the office suite rather comfortable.

Reviewer’s Take: Till now, big screen phones were the privilege for Android users – the Samsung Galaxy Note, the Sony Xperia Z Ultra and the HTC One Max. However, it is rather delightful to see Windows Phone getting its own big screen device. For whatever little time I spent with the device, it did leave a solid impression on me. The OS looks brilliant on the excellent IPS display, the addition screen space makes it even more usable and the build quality is extremely good. If you are in the market for a “phablet”, and aren’t rigid about using Android only, the Nokia Lumia 1520 would get my vote. A detailed review will follow soon.

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