Nokia Lumia 1520

Though it lacks some features found in its big phone rivals, the Nokia Lumia 1520 is a great buy for Windows Phone fans seeking a supersize smartphone with premium hardware.

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Bigger isn't always better, but in Nokia's case, it is. The 6-inch Lumia 1520 is the fastest Windows Phone ever made. Slimmer and lighter than you'd expect for a supersize handset, the 1520 brings home the goods: a huge 1080p HD display, a 20-megapixel camera, and a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, a first for Windows Phone.

In Australia, the 1520 will be on sale from 11 December, exclusive to Harvey Norman for AU$899. This will include a AU$20 voucher for apps in the Windows Phone Store.


(Credit: Josh Miller/CNET)

Nokia's smartphones tend to be chubsters, especially when there's a higher-resolution camera involved, but not so with the 1520. This colossus is much slimmer and sexier than many a Nokia handset, at a svelte 8.7 millimeters compared to the Lumia 1020's 10.4mm depth. That's still slightly thicker than the Note 3 (8.3mm).

(Credit: Josh Miller/CNET)

At 210g, it's significantly heavier than the 167g Note 3, but a tad lighter than the One Max (218g). It feels hefty in the hand, but not too onerous for a phone of this size. I already carry a heavy purse stuffed with electronics; the 1520 fit right into the jumble.

(Credit: Josh Miller/CNET)

The 1520, which comes in glossy red, matte black, matte white, and matte yellow colors (we reviewed it in red and black), handles well for its size, though the shiny variants are harder to grip, and the slippery device often tumbled from my fingers.

(Credit: Josh Miller/CNET)

Most of the phone's chassis is taken up by its 6-inch 1080p HD LCD screen, which made the Windows Phone start screen pop. Colors look bright and edges crisp on the Lumia 1520's screen, which has a pixel density of 367ppi. The One Max and Note 3, with their slightly smaller screens, do pack in more pixels, but the difference is hardly noticeable.


Along with the mid-level Nokia Lumia 1320, the Lumia 1520 is the first to ship Microsoft's slightly updated OS, imaginatively called Windows Phone 8 Update 3. The main thing you need to know is that this tweak introduces a three-column view for device screens measuring 6 inches and above.

(Credit: Josh Miller/CNET)

Windows Phone gives you standard calendar and alarm tools, Xbox gaming tie-ins, podcasts, and the mobile version of the Microsoft Office suite. Also included is 7GB of Skydrive cloud storage. Multitasking, multiple inboxes, integrated social sharing, music identification, and a barcode scanner are also woven into the Windows Phone platform.

Back on the hardware end of things, there's NFC, or near-field communications, onboard the 1520, and Qi wireless charging makes its return.

Nokia's deep investment in outrageous optics continues in the Lumia 1520. Like other Nokia phones, the 1520 uses Carl Zeiss Optics and the PureView technology that Nokia is associating with its brand. There are ball bearings for effective optical image stabilization, and a dual-LED flash instead of Xenon.

(Credit: Josh Miller/CNET)

(Credit: Josh Miller/CNET)

The first Windows phone with a quad-core processor, the Lumia 1520 has a lot to prove. Qualcomm's 2.2 GHz Snapdragon 800 is currently the brawniest on the market, and in my tests, it upheld standards for all tasks I threw its way. The phone comes equipped with 2GB RAM. Operations meant to be snappy never lagged, and it handled gaming graphics well for high-resolution titles like Temple Run.

Diagnostic results with AnTuTu came in at 25,000 after three tests, slightly lower than the Note 3's score of 27,000 (using the same Snapdragon 800 chipset). The 1520's benchmark was also lower than the HTC One Max's score of 26,375 using its Snapdagon 600 chip.

Battery capacity is a respectable 3,400 mAh, which should more than keep the 1520 going for at least a full workday without requiring a charge. Nokia rates battery life at 25 hours over 3G (there's no 4G rating), but depending on how you use it, you'll drain resources faster doing things like streaming photos and video.


Nokia came to compete in the extra-large smartphone space, and that it does, bringing top-notch specs and attractive hardware to an increasingly crowded field. However, monster megapixel camera aside, the 1520 lacks the other phones' flashier window dressing: the Max's fingerprint scanner and the Note 3's stylus.

The Windows Phone operating system itself is also more simplistic. While there's NFC, lock-screen shortcuts, and some slick-but-subtle touch screen controls, the OS just can't compete with Android and iOS on voice assistance, mapping, integration with Google services, and a wider variety of content you can buy, rent, and download from a native store.

The Windows Phone interface, though clean and useful with the additional third Start screen column, is also the least visual OS overall. If all that sounds about right to you, then buy the Lumia 1520.


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