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Nokia Lumia 1520

Editor's rating (1-5): rating starrating starrating starrating star
Carrier: AT&T
Manufacturer: Nokia
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What's Hot: Big full HD IPS display, top notch specs, usual Lumia elegant and unique design.

What's Not: This is a huge phone! Windows app store selection is getting better but still doesn't match Android and IOS selection.

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Reviewed December 6, 2013 by , Editor in Chief (twitter: @lisagade)

And now for those who want something smaller than the Nokia Lumia 2520, we have the Nokia Lumia 1520 smartphone, released at the same time as Nokia's first Windows tablet. The Lumia 1520 has a few firsts as well: it's the first Windows phone phablet, the first with a full HD display and the first to sport a quad core processor. Nice! Though the 6" Lumia 1520 might be too big for some, there's no denying the temptations of a Windows Phone that finally competes spec for spec with flagship Android phones. And the Lumia manages to beat most with its 20 megapixel main camera with dual LED flash and Carl Zeiss lens.

Nokia Lumia 1520

The Lumia 1520 is exclusive to AT&T in the US, and it's available in red, black, yellow and white. All have a matte finish except the red that's glossy. We love the red's look, but it is both large and slippery. The black looks very classy and the yellow... well it's a signature color that we loved on the Nokia Lumia 1020. The design language is distinctly Lumia, and that's a good thing because it's unique and pleasingly clean and modern. This is a 7.26 ounce phone, and though it's a little lighter than the notoriously heavy HTC One max, it's still almost as heavy as the Kindle Paperwhite 6" E-Ink eReader. That said, it's more compact than the Paperwhite, thanks in part to the different display aspect ratio, but also because phone makers like Nokia work hard to make even their phablets as compact as possible.

Nokia Lumia 1520

Serious Internals

This is a 4G LTE smartphone with 16 gigs of storage and a microSD card slot for storage expansion. The phone runs on a 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad core CPU with 2 gigs of RAM and Adreno 330 graphics, making it the fastest Windows 8 phone to date. It should have the necessary specs to receive OS updates for some time to come, though that's up to Nokia and Microsoft (Microsoft now owns Nokia's phone business). The phone has Bluetooth 4.0 and dual band WiFi 802.11ac as well as NFC.

Nokia Lumia 1520

Display

The Nokia Lumia 1520 has a 6" IPS full HD display with glove-friendly touch and Nokia's ClearBlack technology. It's a really lovely display that's viewable outdoors and it has bold and pleasing colors. Windows Phone 8 handles higher resolutions well, though some UI elements seem needlessly large. Live Tiles are sized well and we appreciate the added real estate and number of viewable tiles. The big display makes this feel more like a tablet, and I suspect that's exactly what the target audience (phablet buyers) wants.

Nokia Lumia 1520

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3, HTC One max and Nokia Lumia 1520.

 

Deals and Shopping:

Nokia Lumia 1520 Video Review

 

Camera

Once you move past the superb display and size of the phone, the 20 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss lens and dual LED flash steal the show. Granted, it's not as impressive as the Nokia Lumia 1020 and it's 41MP shooter (nothing is), but it's better than most high end camera phones on the market. Like the Lumia 1020, by default it shoots a moderate resolution 5MP image and a full res 19MP image that you can use for print and lossless zooming via crop. Also like the Lumia 1020, shot times could be better, and we have to wonder why a phone with the fastest CPU on the market seems to ponder on each shot. Video is crisp and clear, and we found the camera a more than adequate replacement for a point and shoot when taking photos and shooting video.We particularly appreciate Nokia's OIS (optical image stabilization) in a phone this large and heavy-- there's no need to have perfectly steady hands to shoot smooth full HD video.

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Call Quality and Data

I don't think Nokia knows how to make a poor GSM phone when it comes to voice. Call quality is very good for both incoming and outgoing voice, and volume is adequate. Despite the phone's length, we didn't have difficulties aligning both the earpiece and mic during calls; chalk that up to Nokia's good mic system. The rear-firing speakerphone has good volume and should do the job unless you're calling from the Super Bowl during a touchdown. The phone played well with a variety of Bluetooth headsets and speakers and it worked with our BMW's built-in Bluetooth perfectly.

This is a 4G LTE phone with 3G HSPA+ for those times you wander away from AT&T's expansive LTE network. AT&T's data speeds in the Dallas area are always good and the Lumia 1520 averaged 25Mbps down and 16Mbps up on LTE 4G, which is the same we see on other recent AT&T smartphones. As with all recent phones, the Nokia has a mobile hotspot feature so you can use the phone as a high speed wireless modem for your laptop or tablet (note that only certain AT&T data plans offer this service).

Conclusion

The Nokia Lumia 1520 is a very likeable tablet-phone with an excellent display, a stylish design, great call quality and good speed. It has the latest generation hardware inside, making it the first Windows Phone that isn't a step behind flagship Android phones. Windows Phone still lags behind Android and IOS for app selection, but the popular staples are here, including Netflix, Weather Channel and Instagram. If you're a software junky, the platform might not be your best choice, but I suspect there's more than enough here to keep the average user entertained. The basics like MS Office mobile, IE and a solid email client are built in, and the People Hub offers integration with Facebook. If you're after a Windows Phone with the feel of a tablet, the Lumia 1520 won't disappoint. Obviously, it's not meant to be the more mainstream sized Lumia 1020's replacement; this is for the phablet crowd.

Websites: wireless.att.com, www.nokiausa.com

Price: $199 with 2 year contract, $585 without contract from AT&T

Related Reviews:

Nokia Lumia 1020 Review

Nokia Lumia Icon Review

Nokia Lumia 920 Review

Nokia Lumia 928 Review

LG G Flex Review

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Review

HTC One max Review

Nokia Lumia 2520 Review

 

Nokia Lumia 1520

 

Nokia Lumia 1520

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Specs:

Display: 6" capacitive multi-touch IPS display with enhanced sensitivity for use with gloves. Resolution: 1920 x 1080 full HD, 368 ppi. Has ambient light sensor, accelerometer and proximity sensor.

Battery: Lithium Ion Polymer rechargeable. Battery is not user replaceable.

Performance: 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad core CPU with Adreno 330 graphics. 2 gigs RAM and 16 gigs internal storage.

Size: 6.40 x 3.36 x 0.33 inches. Weight: 7.26 ounces.

Phone: GSM quad band world phone with 3G HSPA+ (850/900/1900/2100MHz) and 4G LTE (2, 4, 5, 7 and 17).

Camera: 1.2MP front camera and 20MP rear camera with Carl Zeiss lens and dual LED flash. Has optical image stabilization and 2x digital zoom.

Audio: Built in speaker, mic and 3.5mm standard stereo headphone jack.

Networking: Integrated dual band WiFi 802.11b/g/n/ac, NFC and Bluetooth 4.0 LE.

Software: Windows Phone 8.

Expansion: 1 SDXC microSD card slot.

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