Nokia Lumia 1520 Review

The Nokia Lumia 1520 is the opener for Microsoft’s GDR3 update and the first big phablet on Windows Phone. It is the true competitor to big Android smartphones, with GDR3 offering 1080p and quad-core processor support, alongside a sweep of other improvements.

Nokia was quick to shove this phone out to the world, once Microsoft announced GDR3, the Finnish company took no time to reveal and release their next flagship smartphone. Obviously Nokia has felt the burden of being held back by the lack of support for high-end specs on Windows Phone.

We take a look at the Lumia 1520, possibly the last true smartphone from Nokia pre-acquisition, with Microsoft preparing to take the hardware chunk of Nokia and submerge it in its own brand.


The design of the Nokia Lumia 1520 is typical Nokia, a vibration of color and rubber plastic make the 1520’s only distinctive change from previous devices the size. We have always loved the design of Nokia’s Lumia devices, even though they can be a bit chunky they make up for it in superb build quality and really nice to hold and touch material.

We need to talk about the size of this device, unlike previous Windows Phone devices fitting at around the 3.5 to 4.5-inch mark, the Lumia 1520 breaks all marks by adding a 6-inch display. This is true phablet form, the same size as the HTC One Max, bigger than the Galaxy Note 3 and a touch smaller than the Xperia Z Ultra.

This would be a problem, but the fact is the 1080p display looks incredible, especially since it is running Windows Phone, the operating system booming with color and vivid live tiles, changing all the time.

Nokia has not had the chance to really show off Windows Phone at this size or on this pixel density and we can see why they were disappointed with Microsoft for not putting a lot of effort to get the GDR3 update out quicker, because the Lumia 1520 rocks.

Nokia Lumia 1520 2


The Lumia 1520 camera may be a step back against the Lumia 1020, but it is still ahead of the curve, with a massive 22MP rear facing camera. This is 19MP behind the Lumia 1020 with the 41MP beauty, but it still performs better than most every Android smartphone and even challenges the iPhone.

One of the most question features when it came to the Lumia 1020 camera was the complexity to take a good photo. With the Lumia 1520, it is still the same UI but we feel like it is built for people who do not just want to take photos with their smartphone.


For two years, Windows Phone has been behind iOS and Android in terms of performance, with Microsoft simply being too slow to react to change. Android is in a world of its own with higher resolution, faster processors and other internal components being changed monthly, but since Windows Phone isn’t open source it doesn’t get that kind of quick update process.

GDR3 does bring Windows Phone up with Android, even though we are already hearing reports of 2560 x 1440 displays coming to Android smartphones in early 2014 and octa-core processors already making their waves in Asia.

Nokia has packed a quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor and 2GB of RAM on the Lumia 1520 and the smartphone absolutely screams. Performance, even on the lowest end of Windows Phone devices, is predominantly good, but given this amount of performance everything works incredibly well.

Not only do apps run almost instantaneously, the speed of the live tiles and updates is just incredible. Multitasking truly comes to life, with the user able to dock dozens of applications and continue to switch between them without any stutter.

It is truly remarkable how well Microsoft has optimised the OS to run on any hardware and really shine when the hardware packs a punch. Where Android users still face lag on some devices, the Nokia Lumia 1520 doesn’t show a single flicker.

Nokia lumia 1520 3

Nokia lumia 1520 3


Windows Phone is still a distant third in the popularity contest, far behind iOS and a country mile away from Android. This doesn’t mean Microsoft has given up on the platform and this latest update shows they are looking to make Windows Phone a real contestant in the race.

On the functionality side, we have already complimented Microsoft for building one of the fastest and most functional mobile operating systems. The difference between iOS and Android, on a homescreen front, is minimal, while Windows Phone offers a unique and new experience.

Instead of having notifications, Windows Phone displays all your content via live tiles, which display recent notifications. Microsoft is looking to implement more of these and already Facebook, Twitter and Outlook take advantage of the live tiles to show information.

On the Nokia Lumia 1520, there is an extra row of content available for the user, with the big screen adding some functionality advantage.


It’s hard to knock the Nokia Lumia 1520 – it has an amazing design and it feels like a phone built for the purpose of being big and showing off Windows Phone. It does the OS proud, with an incredible amount of performance and an impressive camera ahead of the curve.

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