Nokia Lumia 1520 is a big boss - review

2014-03-10 11:30
The Nokia Lumia 1520 sells for R449 per month on contract in SA. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

The Nokia Lumia 1520 sells for R449 per month on contract in SA. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Cape Town - The Nokia Lumia 1520 makes a bold statement - or perhaps that should be a large statement: The phone is Nokia's first phablet.

Nokia is taking a gamble with the 1520 - at 15.2cm, it's one of the largest phones on the Windows Phone operating system you can buy and the flagship of the range.

The fact that it weighs is at 209g makes it feel bigger than the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and the Nokia seems more single minded in purpose as a smartphone compared to the Note.

One benefit of having a mammoth screen is that it gives more space to display content through the Live Tiles on the phone. It's easier to check e-mails, IMs and SMSes with one glance.

Access to the camera mimics earlier Nokia smartphones like the Lumia 1020, 925 and 920 which have a dedicated button mounted on the case for the camera.

Camera quality

Unlike the 1020 though, the 1520 has a lower resolution camera at 20 megapixels - yes "lower" - but Nokia has a strong reputation for camera quality and has included a range of wow features in camera functionality.

The Pro Camera makes a comeback on the 1520, giving users the ability to play with a range of real imaging settings that is the last definitive sign that digital cameras may be on serious life support.

The Pureview technology allows the Lumia to save two versions of the same image - one for a quick upload to social networks and another high resolution image for artistic printing.

It would be cool though if these two versions could live in separate folders as Nokia does with edited images so that someone is easily able to check which ones are more suitable for large format printing.

In addition to taking pictures, Nokia has launched a beta version of geo-locating image management called Storyteller. The application arranges your pictures according to either date or location so that you don't have to remember the context of the picture collection.

As with previous Nokias, there is tight integration with social networks and within the light of the recent revelations of US government accumulation of data, not everyone might comfortable with this functionality.

The operating system also includes a built in data management tool, but over the review period, it was hardly necessary because Windows Phone is quite kind to your data bundle.

Offline maps

However, there is still a high percentage of teaser apps on the platform which might turn off new users.

So is this the best Nokia ever? In terms of build quality, the answer is a resounding "Yes".

However, given that Windows Phone is now over four years old, the OS still feels unfinished even though it is seeing healthy, if not spectacular adoption.

The Nokia's panoramic function is limited - more so when compared with the Galaxy and iPhone capability and though the real estate is great for content, more could be done to enable one hand use as with the LG G Pro 2.

But Nokia has a trump card in Here Maps and Drive. The fact that maps can be downloaded for offline use is a great way for users to save on data costs.

On a trip from Cape Town to Spain, it was a simple matter to download the superior maps for Spain to the device and their accuracy enabled easy travelling an unfamiliar environment.

It should also be noted that the Nokia has a full version of Microsoft Office, making editing and sharing documents easy and efficient.

The Nokia Lumia 1520 isn't an everyman phone, but in terms of build quality, camera functionality and office efficiency, it makes a compelling case for itself.

It is in the $1 000 phone category, and is available from mobile operators Vodacom and Cell C for R449 per month, though Cell C adds 200MB more data.

Check out our News24 video review of the Lumia 1520:

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