Nokia Lumia 1520 review

The Nokia Lumia 1520 is not a terminal like the others, that's for sure. Rather logical, since it is the very first phablet running Windows Phone. However, this is not its only particularity since the latter has another major asset: its technical sheet . A technical sheet capable of competing with the best androphones on the market. This is precisely what made me want to test him and, after a week spent in his company, the time has finally come to take stock of the experience.

As usual, this test is not intended to be pure technique. If you are looking for precise measurements made using complex probes, then it will be better to go your way. On the other hand, if you are wondering what the Lumia 1520 is worth in the field, then

Nokia Lumia 1520 Review

The Nokia Lumia 1520 imposes something good.

Technical characteristics

These details were mentioned in my handling, but the Lumia 1520 amply deserves to be reminded of its specifications, especially since they set the bar very high. As indicated a little above, no Windows Phone comes close to him:

  • 6 inch ClearBlack IPS display.
  • Definition in Full HD 1080p (1920 × 1080), pixel density fixed at 368 ppi.
  • 24-bit / 16 million color TrueColor display.
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor clocked at 2.2 GHz.
  • Adreno 330 GPU, 2 GB of RAM.
  • 32 GB of internal memory, slot for MicroSD cards (64 GB max), 7 GB offered on SkyDrive.
  • 20 million pixel 1 / 2.5 ″ PureView sensor.
  • ZEISS 26mm f / 2.4 optics, Dual LED flash.
  • Front camera of 1.2 million pixels, wide-angle lens f / 2.4.
  • Record videos in 720p and 1080p at 30 frames per second.
  • WiFi 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, Micro USB 2.0.
  • Compatibility with GSM, HSDPA, HSUPA, LTE networks (bands 1, 3, 7, 8 and 20).
  • 3,400 mAh battery.
  • Dimensions: 162.8 x 85.4 x 8.7 mm.
  • Weight: 209 grams.
  • Average price (early 2014): € 649.

On paper, the Nokia Lumia 1520 has absolutely nothing to be ashamed of against other high-end terminals on the market. In terms of raw computing power, it rises to the level of the LG G2 or even the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. The photo part is not left out either. On this ground, the 1520 obviously does not do as well as the 1020, but it still does with all the honors. During my various tests, it turned out to be as efficient as my Xperia Z1, especially when the light conditions become difficult. This point will also be detailed a little later in the article.

In terms of storage, the Lumia 1520 does as well as the Note 3. The internal memory will be sufficient to install all the usual applications and games, and our micro SD card will for its part accommodate our films, series and photos. .

And then there's the battery, which goes even further than Samsung's phablet. Here again, we will have the opportunity to talk about it again later in the test.

Nokia Lumia 1520 Review 1

The Nokia Lumia 1520 lock screen.

Nokia Lumia 1520 Review 2

The edge of the Nokia Lumia 1520.

Design & Ergonomics

The Lumia 1520 benefits from the same finishes as all the high-end terminals produced by Nokia. It is therefore flawless, pretty to look at and pleasant to hold in the hand. Phablette obliges, it obviously imposes by its size, but Nokia had the good idea to reduce as much as possible the borders surrounding its screen. Suddenly, the terminal is barely more bulky than a Galaxy Note 3 and it exceeds it as well as a few centimeters in height, and a few millimeters in width.

I know phablets have detractors and, to be completely frank with you, the launch of the first Galaxy Note left me most perplexed. I found it too big, too bulky and ultimately unsuitable for everyday use. In reality, it's just a matter of habit. They take up a little more space in the pocket, it's true, but they are also more comfortable to use and they have another major advantage: they allow us to do without a tablet.

Anyway, the Lumia 1520 is as pleasant to handle as a Note 3. Thanks to its polycarbonate shell, it prevents slipping and it holds well in the hand. Nokia has chosen to bring together all the physical buttons of the phone on the right edge. In order and from top to bottom, we find the two buttons devoted to volume control, the power button and the shutter release button.

I had a bit of trouble getting used to this setup, especially for unlocking the terminal. That said, just like on the LG G2, it is possible to tap twice quickly on the screen of the 1520 to get it out of its torpor and that, on the other hand, is really very practical.

Otherwise, and be aware that it is also sufficient to press the shutter button for a few seconds to launch Nokia Pro Camera. No need to go snooping on the home screen or in the list of applications to shoot the last stunt of the neighbor's cat, therefore.

On the left edge of the Lumia 1520, we will find two hatches concealing the port for the SIM card and the port for the micro SD card. Unlike the Xperia Z1, it is not possible to open them by hand and it will therefore be necessary to equip yourself with the accessory delivered with the terminal to access these elements. If you change memory cards frequently, you should always have a paper clip or pin handy.

On the front of the terminal, above its screen, we will find the usual sensors, the front camera and a grid hiding the first speaker used for calls. At the bottom, we will always be entitled to the sensitive buttons specific to Windows Phone, buttons that will perhaps disappear with the next major version of the platform. The Micro USB connector, for its part, is located on the lower edge of the terminal, not far from the microphone. On the other side, on the upper edge, we can get our hands on the headphone jack.

The back of the Lumia 1520 plays the card of minimalism with the usual mentions, a second speaker and the traditional photo module, a module that comes with a dual LED flash. Note that the objective of the terminal sticks out a few millimeters from the hull. It's not really embarrassing.

Nokia Lumia 1520 Review 3

The back cover of the Nokia Lumia 1520.

Screen, Power & Autonomy

The Lumia 1520 is not a Windows Phone like the others. It is the first to position itself in the phablet segment, of course, but it is also the first to be able to display a Full HD 1080p type definition.

And in fact, that changes everything. Because indeed, thanks to its size and its definition, the 1520 is able to display an additional column of tiles on the home screen. And that is when using medium sized tiles. If you opt for small tiles, then you will be entitled to two additional columns to place the shortcuts of your favorite applications.

In other words, you will have less need to scroll to access your favorite content. The experience will only be more pleasant.

What about the brightness of this screen, its contrast and the rendering of its colors? Here again, it is a true flawless, the Lumia 1520 sublimates our images and our videos like no Windows Phone before it. The viewing angles are also very good. Only downside, the touch screen seems less responsive to me than on my Z1 or my G2 but it may just be an impression. It's very difficult to quantify anyway.

As mentioned above, the technical sheet of the Lumia 1520 is comparable to that of most high-end terminals on the market. It has nothing to envy to the Xperia Z1 or LG G2, for example. Especially that behind, we are entitled to Windows Phone. And if the latter is not free from flaws, no one is anyway, it at least has the merit of being optimized with little onions. The platform was designed to run on modest configurations, and it fulfills its mission perfectly. Obviously, with a configuration like that of the 1520, no slowdown is to be feared.

I took the initiative to run AnTuTu Benchmark on the terminal, thus obtaining a most honorable score: 25,012 . Do not hesitate to launch the test on your preferred terminal to have a point of reference.

During my week of testing, the Lumia 1520 showed no signs of weakening. Neither on applications, nor on games, nor on films, high definition or not.

There remains the question of autonomy. And here again, the Lumia 1520 hits hard. How strong? As strong as more than half a day without needing to be connected to any AC outlet. By being parsimonious, and aiming for economy, we can easily go beyond the two days without recharging.

Nokia Lumia 1520 Review 4

The Nokia Lumia 1520 home screen.

Nokia Lumia 1520 Review 5

The back cover of the Nokia Lumia 1520. From a different perspective.

Photo & Video

The Lumia 1520 is not explicitly positioned in the “photophones” segment, but it is still equipped with a PureView sensor of 20 million pixels. If the latter is not as impressive as that of the Lumia 1020, it is nonetheless capable of delivering good quality shots and videos. Note also that when you press the shutter button, the terminal records our photo twice. Exactly like on the 1020. We will thus be entitled to a high definition version, and a lighter version, intended for sharing on social networks.

As often, the quality of photos taken with the 1520 will depend on the ambient light. Under normal conditions (during the day, with a not too overcast sky), the phablet is very impressive. On the other hand, as soon as the light begins to lack, we find ourselves faced with extremely noisy images. This is not surprising since the terminal compensates for the low aperture of its lens (f / 2.4, against f / 2.2 for the 1020 and f / 2.0 for the Z1) by increasing its sensitivity. On a small sensor, it does not forgive. It is obviously possible to modify the settings of Nokia Pro Cam to limit the rise in ISO, but in this case it is the shutter speed that will increase.

The observation is the same in video, of course. Stabilization, on the other hand, works quite well and it's really a really good surprise. So it's true, not everything is perfect, but the Lumia 1520 still performs better than most of its competition.

And then there is Nokia Pro Cam which is clearly the best mobile application in terms of video capture. Being able to take control, in a few seconds, on the manual settings, it's really very comfortable. If you want to know a little more about this tool, I invite you to go to my Lumia 1020 test .

Nokia ecosystem

Nokia has created a real ecosystem around Windows Phone, an ecosystem that translates into a number of useful and well-crafted applications. I am thinking in particular of the HERE suite which brings together a mapping service (Maps), a GPS (Drive +) and a tool dedicated to public transport (Transit). Good, but that's not all because it is also possible to count on Nokia Cinemagraphe to create animated GIFs, on Nokia Music to listen to … music, on Nokia Creative Studio to edit images or even on Nokia Pro Cam for take some pretty pictures.

These different tools were covered in my review on the Lumia 1020 , so there is no need to talk about them again here.

On the other hand, what you should know is that the Lumia 1520 comes with the latest update rolled out by Nokia, ie with… Lumia Black . More than a simple fix, the latter brings a number of changes to the functioning of the platform:

  • Improved multitasking: Now it is possible to close running applications by going to multitasking and tapping on the cross on the thumbnail of our choice.
  • Folder management: To better organize our home screen, we will be able to group our applications into thematic folders, and pin them as if they were simple tiles.
  • Nokia Refocus: After downloading the app, we'll be able to open our old photos and change the focus area in a few moments, much like we would with the Lytro. Bluffing. The tool also integrates a function to select a color of the image of your choice to make it stand out from the rest of our composition.
  • Nokia Projector: This very useful application will allow you to broadcast items stored on the terminal to another screen, all by scanning a simple QR Code.
  • Nokia Travel Book: Organizing your photos is not always easy, and this is what prompted the firm to develop a tool entirely dedicated to this task. Carnet de Voyages will automatically organize our photos according to several criteria, such as the date they were taken or their location.
  • Nokia Pro Camera: The Lumia Black has a new version of its favorite application, an application integrating Pro Camera and Smart Camera.

On the sidelines, well we will also be entitled to a driving mode. The latter will allow us to disable all notifications to focus on the road. However, it will be possible to customize some of its functions and we will be able to keep notifications related to calls and messages. Better, it will even be possible to ask Windows Phone to automatically activate the mode when our phone connects to a Bluetooth device.

In the same vein, a new option is also appearing to allow us, this time, to disable the automatic rotation of the screen. Very useful function in some cases.

The Lumia Black is a fairly complete update, which will allow us to wait quietly while waiting for the deployment of Windows Phone 8.1.

Nokia Lumia 1520 Review 6

Nokia Transit on the Lumia 1520.

Conclusion

I've read a lot about the Nokia Lumia 1520, and some specialist sites haven't really been kind to it. The fault with his size, his size, apparently. To believe that the terminal was judged as a smartphone, and not as a phablet. Because it must be known, when a person buys a phablet, it is with full knowledge of the facts.

But what is it worth in its segment, precisely? Does it do as well as the Galaxy Note 3 or the Xperia ZU? The answer is pretty obvious, and it comes down to one word: yes . Beautiful, comfortable, powerful, it has nothing to envy its competitors and it finally marks a break in the history of Windows Phone, with a technical sheet worthy of the best androphones on the market.

The Lumia Black is also a good surprise, despite a few flaws. I am thinking in particular of the files which are much less easy to use than on iOS and Android. However, we must not forget that Nokia does not (yet?) Control the very heart of the platform, and its engineers are therefore not entirely free to move around. After that, we must not forget that Windows Phone 8.1 is fast approaching and it should ultimately change a lot of things.

If you have any questions, the comments are there for you.

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