Nokia Lumia 1520

Nokia Lumia 1520 – It will keep your hands full!

Think big! Bigger. No, you’ll have to think bigger than that. Trust me, you’re going to need to be thinking pretty big, because today we’re going to be taking a look at one of the biggest smart phones currently on the market – the Nokia Lumia 1520.

Probably the most vibrant opening we’ve had, the Lumia 1520 comes in a blue box with the different coloured versions on the cover, ranging from white, to yellow, red and black. It’s a very nice design, emphasising more the windows operating system than the phone itself, a common trend of the devices thus far. A variety of the features on the phone are indirectly advertised on the front of the box; Xbox arcade, the Nokia Camera, Windows, the Microsoft Office package, Skydrive and skype all make an appearance, particularly interesting as Skype isn’t even a starting application for the device. The back of the box advertises the majority of the main features, including the music, mapping functions, power systems and brands. The fact that the package is 100% recyclable is a nice touch. It also advertises their twitter and Facebook pages respectively. I think this is an interesting touch, as the Windows operating system seems to emphasise social interaction more than anything else, seen through their emphasis on skype, friends and ‘storyteller’ on the main box itself. Once you pull the main box from this sleeve, you are greeted with the phone immediately. Much like the Gear 2, it hides anything that may be considered clutter, such as the charger and any extra cables.

Probably the most vibrant opening we’ve had, the Lumia 1520 comes in a blue box with the different coloured versions on the cover, ranging from white, to yellow, red and black. It’s a very nice design, emphasising more the windows operating system than the phone itself, a common trend of the devices thus far. A variety of the features on the phone are indirectly advertised on the front of the box; Xbox arcade, the Nokia Camera, Windows, the Microsoft Office package, Skydrive and skype all make an appearance, particularly interesting as Skype isn’t even a starting application for the device. The back of the box advertises the majority of the main features, including the music, mapping functions, power systems and brands. The fact that the package is 100% recyclable is a nice touch. It also advertises their twitter and Facebook pages respectively. I think this is an interesting touch, as the Windows operating system seems to emphasise social interaction more than anything else, seen through their emphasis on skype, friends and ‘storyteller’ on the main box itself. Once you pull the main box from this sleeve, you are greeted with the phone immediately. Much like the Gear 2, it hides anything that may be considered clutter, such as the charger and any extra cables.

We should probably assess one of the biggest things about this phone (no pun intended…) – the size. This phone is HUGE, sitting with a 6-inch screen. It can barely fit in most conventional back pockets, reaching a size beyond my own hand. As such, it’s incredibly difficult to even comprehend using it with one hand, something which may put some people off. Luckily, the screen itself is beautiful, running in 1080p HD at all times. The interface matches the generic windows interface that we’ve come to grow used to with the Windows 8 interface and the other Nokia Lumia systems – tiles are spread out with different infographic logos that tell you about the application you’re going to be opening in a rather slick, sophisticated way, at least on smaller phones. Unfortunately, the sheer size of this phone means that they can fit many, MANY more tiles upon it, something that can make the phone feel cluttered at times, especially when certain tiles are customizable to your colour set (generally the windows-implemented ones) whilst others are forced into their own colour schemes (such as Skype, or, ironically, the Microsoft Office logos). A lot of the icons also feel quite vague, with personalised infographics having very little in the way of subtitles to indicate to new users what is what without swiping away from the nice tile system, and onto a rather boring list that simply tells you everything.

Luckily, the phone runs extremely smoothly, as is common with the windows operating system. Even the loading screen, often represented by a black screen with a buffering cycle in the middle, seems to run fast, only appearing for a few seconds, if at all. The screen helps a lot with this feeling of fluency, making the playing of games and watching of videos an absolute joy to watch. It definitely feels like a tablet, but with an inch off of its screen, it’s been classified as a smart phone, with interesting connotations as a media consumption device. Sadly, some of the more strenuous games (such as FIFA 14, the game provided with the review copy of the phone) can struggle with overheating problems. I was playing the game for around 20 minutes, losing around 7% of battery life and getting a significantly heated palm. The framerate can also become more sluggish as time goes on, a shame for a system that seems so perfectly built for consuming the games available on a smart phone.

We continue the irritating trend held by windows operating systems of having huge restrictions on the applications you can actually use on the phone. Much like the Sony SmartWatch 2, the Lumia 1520 feels weighed down by the system it’s on, as opposed to letting it flourish with the full variety of applications available. There is a complete lack of functional applications beyond the limited array that have been approved, and no video store is in sight. Some basic services are provided, such as applications for Netflix and Youtube, which still leave something to be desired. These applications are still restrictive, and it remains one of the hardest selling points of the entire phone; it’s very difficult to sell a smart phone with such limited customisation in a period of time where smartphones are lauded as one of the great parts of someone’s personality. Due to the tile system, not even a wallpaper is possible, restricting the very look of the phone.

One of the key redeeming features of the Nokia 1520 is the camera, of course. Much like the other Nokia devices, the 1520 holds a fantastic phone. Although it doesn’t quite reach the heights of the 41 megapixel camera of the Lumia 1020, it’s got a 20 megapixel camera that works extremely well. The sensor system also takes the 20 megapixel pictures and compresses them into both a 16 megapixel and a 5 megapixel photo for editing and sharing, respectively. The camera employs a system that oversamples colour, giving all of the photos a very vibrant look that has a certain level of appeal.

Let’s return once more to the features of the phone itself, and the emphasis on socialising. Despite the functional features of any windows operating system such as Microsoft Office and Internet Explorer, the phone has fully functional applications for Facebook, Netflix, Xbox Mobile, Vine, Twitter and Skype, along with other, more obscure applications such as WhatsApp. The phone is practically built to be the perfect device for socialising, and it does just that, with a smooth system that is prepared to help you talk to your friends regardless of where you are. The phone also features applications for BBC and ITV iPlayer, giving you a larger variety of video than you will initially be offered when you purchase the phone. Thankfully the Xbox arcade brings in a host of games unique to the windows system, giving it an edge on other mobile platforms when it comes to mobile gaming. Battery life seems to struggle keeping up with these more strenuous activities however, yet naturally the phone will run for around two days before beginning to struggle. Much like the 1520’s predecessors, it can struggle with frequent and continuous application use, but when used for the basic, factory functions, the battery lasts a lot longer.

The Nokia Lumia 1520 is too big for its boots. Giving off the impression as a perfect media consumption device, with a 1080p HD screen and the ability to play Xbox games, it ends up being an oversized social networking device that focuses on features much more suited for the devices that came before it, mostly due to their more compact size. It’s incredibly difficult to justify purchasing a phone of such size, but if you do, you’ll be guaranteed for a smooth, pleasant experience – the perfect experience a small tablet can provide.
I heard someone using the term “phablet” the other day… perhaps this is the best.

Thanks to Nadine at Axicom for providing us with the device, and filling it with lots of FIFA goodies!!!

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