My time with the Nokia Lumia 1520

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Late last year in Abu Dhabi Nokia announced a range of new devices including the rather large 6″ Lumia 1320 and Lumia 1520, when I first saw them I thought “wow, they look amazing, I need them asap”. After a few months of reading early reviews and seeing quite how big it was I was quite a bit less interested, mainly due to the size, I was just concerned about how I’d use it as my main device. How would it work on a night out in my small pocketed jeans? How would I take it for a run? Etc etc. Well thanks to Nokia I’ve had the chance to have a play with the Lumia 1520 and I’ve decided to bring you my thoughts about it. Starting with my good and bad points about it.

Good Points

  • Amazing 1080p display.
  • New tile layout is really useful.
  • A Micro SD slot has finally made it into a Nokia flagship device.
  • The camera is really good.

Bad Points

  • It’s just a tiny bit too big.
  • Windows Phone isn’t quite ready for such devices.
  • A Nano SIM in one of the largest “phones” on the market is absurd.

Design

Nokia usually get their designs right, with the Lumia 1520 it is no exception. It is in my eyes a cross between the Lumia 720, the Lumia 925 and something large and thin. I like the way it looks, it’s just a bit big meaning that one handed use is difficult and two handed use is essential.

Camera

I own a Lumia 1020, so I was expecting good things from the Lumia 1520 and I wasn’t disappointed. Nokia have put a lower spec camera in the 1520 with a smaller lense and a lower resolution, but it’s still going to produce better shots than most of the competition. As it has OIS you can basically get the 1520 out of your pocket in a rush and take a shot comfortable in the knowledge that it won’t be blurry. In low light also the OIS helps to keep the phone steady whilst you prepare the photo.

The only slight downside is if you like to take shots and then zoom in on them using the Nokia Camera viewer, the lossless zoom isn’t as good as the Lumia 1020 thanks to the lower pixel count of the images.

Overall I really liked the camera on the Lumia 1520.

In Use

Over the years I’ve tried to use Windows Phone exclusively. Once again I tried when I received the Lumia 1520, this time though a new problem had come to the fore, more on that shortly.

The Lumia 1520 is the most powerful Windows Phone, with a Snapdragon 800 Processor, 32GB internal memory and a Micro SD slot, it for many is the ideal device. Everything is easier on a larger device, web browsing, typing, editing pictures, playing games, watching video, listening to music, browsing the app store, you get the gist the list could go on. The Lumia 1520 is ideal for media playback, the memory card slot lends itself to be filled with music, films and photos, the speaker and the headphones both offer a decent sound quality.

A new feature with the Lumia 1320 and Lumia 1520 is an extra column of tiles, so you can basically have 6 small tiles wide or 3 medium tile or one large and one medium. It really opens up the screen to making something unique and personal to you, I really like playing around with the tiles until I make something nice. Although I wish they’d made another size of tile, an extra wide tile to cover the screen would be great.wp_ss_20140202_0003 wp_ss_20140202_0005

Things aren’t all good though the size brings about a few issues, firstly Windows Phone has only recently started to support 1080p displays, so as much it doesn’t offer anything special with it apart from the extra tiles on the start screen, it just makes everything bigger. So SMS, Email, Settings, toggles, news, everything really. Which isn’t that annoying but Microsoft really need to optimise the OS for this new breed of device. The size also creates a few physical problems, fitting it in small pockets isn’t going to happen, skinny jean wearers need not apply. However I did manage to cycle to work last week with it in my shorts pocket. If you’re going to get a Lumia 1520 I’d suggest picking up a smaller device for nights out, oh and a SIM card adapter.

I am sorry to do this, as much of a Windows Phone fan that I am I still can’t manage full time on the OS, for me writing here and being deeply embedded into Google and its services I just can’t get by. This time I decided I was going to really try hard though, I set about adding my accounts to the Lumia and hit the first hurdle in the Email app, as it was a new device for me I wasn’t allowed to use push email with my Google emails. The workround was to set up Outlook accounts for each Google account, then set up email forwarding for each from Google to Outlook and then set up email aliases. Et voilà it worked, not exactly simple for the average user and it left me with hundreds of duplicate emails. The rest was easy, SkyDrive is an almost adequate replacement for Google Drive or Dropbox, which left the last hurdle being Hangouts, I usually use IM+ which works but it just misses a lot of notifications and leaves you opening it up all the time to check for messages. The shortcomings don’t end there either, with me struggling to get on with WordPress and photo editing apps in much the same way I’ve gone on about many times before.

Windows Phone for me is going to have to remain as my no2 device OS, I just don’t see why I should compromise, life is too short.

Conclusion

The Nokia Lumia 1520 is a great device, for someone, probably. For me it hints at the future, a rather larger teaser of the next generation of devices. Mainly I’d like this exact device crammed into a 5″ display package, which the Americans are very soon to get in the form of the Nokia Lumia 929 (Icon) on Verizon, hopefully Nokia will unveil the European variant at MWC later this month.