Nokia had added many firsts to its Windows Phone Lumia 1520. It is the first phablet from Nokia, the first quad-core processor and the first with Full HD display.
The six-inch IPS LCD device is powered by 2.2GHz Qualcomm 800 processor coupled with Adreno 330 GPU and 2GB of RAM. It has 32GB of internal storage capacity and out of this, only around 26GB is available for users. There is a microSD slot to boost storage capacity to 64GB.
Nokia has stuck to its soft-touch single-piece polycarbonate body for the entire Lumia range. The volume rocker, power on/off button and the camera button sit on the right side of the device. On the top houses the 3.5mm audio jack and the microUSB port in the bottom. On the left side are the nano-SIM card and microSD slots. The device is slightly heavier when compared to other phablets in the market and weighs 209 grams.
The screen (368 pixels per inch density) is the best from Nokia and produces crisp and great colour reproduction and images look fantastic.
With the ClearBlack technology incorporated into the 1520, viewing under bright sunlight is easy as the filters on the screen reject ambient light and make it easier to read with very good viewing angles.
The Black update has given room for one more column of tiles to the home screen and more apps can be floated on the home screen.
The camera features are the ones that stand out in 1520 but not as good when compared to Lumia 1020. The 20MP PureView technology camera with dual LED flash combines a 1/2.5-inch BSI sensor with (26mm F2.4 lens) Carl Zeiss lens and optical image stabilisation. When taking a capture it captures two mages — one with 5MP for sharing and the other with 19MP. The new software update lets users capture images with digital negative (DNG) file for RAW processing in bid to optimise the images in post-production. The images are saved in JPEG or DNG format.
The device takes time for shot-to shot images compared to rivals and it slows down in low-light conditions but accuracy is maintained.
The device comes with the standard Windows camera app and Nokia has added a much better Nokia Camera app that combines the functions of the previously separate Nokia Pro Cam and Smart Cam apps.
When in Nokia Pro Cam, a row of expandable icons like flash mode, ISO, white balance and exposure levels can be used for manual controls. A wheel-style controller pops up on the right side when tapping on each icon and can be adjusted manually.
The photos taken can be edited with Nokia Creative Studio. There are eight colour filters like Silver, Ivory, Seashell, Quartz, Jade, Aquamarine, Amber and Opal or users can stick with the original image. The photos can also be cropped and red-eye can be removed with the tools. Nokia Cinemagraph lets users create fun ‘animated GIF’ style photos.
The Remove Moving Objects function is good and the moving object has to fairly big to be removed and this feature is available on most high-end smartphones while the Motion Focus picks out a subject and blurs everything around it. The Smart camera function lets users browse the snaps and select the best photo. There are many functions that can be played with but how many people will all these functions need to be seen. Hats off to Nokia for bringing the best camera features to the smartphone arena.
The front houses the 1.2MP camera and that also takes decent selfies.
The app store is where Windows suffers compared to Google and Apple. Even though Instagram app was recently launched on Windows app store, it does not provide the entire features like in other platforms.
In video recording, 1520 offers more options on resolution and frame rates. It can capture Full HD and 720p at 30, 25 and 24 frames per second but no filters for slow motion.
Nokia has added four microphones to capture directional stereo sound when video recording and it works very well.
The loudness of the built-in speaker is not so good and plus it is placed at the back. The difference can be felt when used with a headphone.
Another area where Nokia is strong is the map. Here Maps for standard mapping, Here Drive Plus for satellite navigation and Here Transit for public transport.
So save battery, all notifications will appear on the screen as icons to inform the user even when the screen is off.
Gaming on the device is superb and games like Asphalt 8 and Halo: Spartan Assault look great and perform effortlessly on the 1520 but the device gets warm over a period of playing.
Regarding connectivity, it has WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, 4G LTE and near field communications (NFC).
The non-removable 3,400mAh battery offers one full day of heavy use and can also stretch it to two days for moderate users. The battery has a good standby time of three weeks which is pretty good but charging the battery takes a considerable amount of time. It is priced at Dh2599.
• High-definition screen
• Good battery life
• Good camera specs and features
• Good storage capacity
• Recording of DNG Raw files
• Size may not be appealing to some
• Slow camera app start-up
• Choice of apps limited
• Lack of video store
• Stereo speakers could be better