Nokia Lumia 1520 Review

Nokia Lumia 1520 Review

Globally announced back in November during our coverage in Abu Dhabi, the Nokia Lumia 1520 is set to arrive in the Philippines on January 2014. Check out our full review of the Nokia Lumia 1520 after the jump.

The Lumia 1520 is Nokia’s biggest and most ambitious Windows Phone ever. It’s already considered to be in the phablet category already due to its large 6-inch display. It also incorporated the latest hardware configuration and the PureView technology.

From the design and hardware perspective, the Lumia 1520 is already a beast of a smartphone. Nokia has pretty much addressed all the hardware-related complaints about their flagship Lumia devices with the 1520. What remains to convince users is the mobile operating system.

Design and Construction

The Lumia 1520 did not depart much from the usual design signature of the Nokia Lumia line. It’s very close to the likes of the Lumia 925, minus the aluminum chassis. The body is very glossy and has a piano-type finish.

It still maintains a very slim profile, at just 8.7mm which is pretty close to the 8.3mm thin Galaxy Note 3 and the 8.5mm Lumia 925. And yes, it feels really slippery especially when you have sweaty hands. The device is definitely huge but can still be held with one hand with some level of comfort. Sending text messages though will really require both hands to operate.

The volume controls are on the right side, along with the dedicated camera button that flanks the power button in the middle. The micro SIM card slot is tucked away on the left side together with the microSD card slot. The 3.5mm audio port is up top and the microUSB is down below.

At the back is the 20-megapixel PureView camera with the dual LED flash and the four high-performance digital mics for directional stereo recording (that’s the 4 pinholes lined up just above the LED flash). We’ve never seen so many microphones tucked in a single smartphone ever.

The device looks stunning in red against the black contrast of the Gorilla Glass display at the front. The design is really simple yet very elegant, giving more focus to the large display than anything else.


With the Lumia 1520, Nokia went all out on their display using a full HD ClearBlack Display protected by a Gorilla Glass 2. While we’ve seen a lot of full HD displays already with most flagship handsets, the compact pixel density is much more appreciated with large display sizes like the Lumia 1520.

The handset offers dark & rich colors, crisp images and great viewing angles when watching movies or videos. Outdoor visibility is also very good, as long as you crank up the brightness level to high.

The glass panel is slightly embossed with a thin strip of rubber protecting it. The three WP soft buttons are found at the bottom corner (Back, Home and Find). Having a full HD 1080p resolution on a Windows Phone does give it a boost even if the UI is mostly flat colors.

OS, Apps and UI

Nothing much has changed in the UI of the platform, except perhaps for the addition of re-sizable tiles from the last update. They now have 3 different tile sizes from a small square to medium square, right up to a large rectangular Live Tile.

Nokia added a lot of proprietary apps into their Lumia phones to make it more useful and productive. The Nokia Pro Cam is probably the best native camera app on any phone running any mobile OS. The Here Maps and Here Drive+ gives you access to local map information, turn by turn navigation even if you’re offline or do not have any data connection.

There were a lot of new updates, games and apps introduced during the announcement of the Lumia 1520 back in October. Among them is the much-awaited Instagram app, Vine, WhatsApp, Waze, WeChat, Viber, KakaoTalk.

Granted that it’s not as extensive as the Play Store and iTunes Store, the Windows Phone Store still has most of the usual ones you’d look to download on the first time you set up your smartphone.

Multimedia and Camera

Nokia did a lot of hard work to make the Lumia 1520 the best multimedia device they ever had. They started with a large, 6-inch full HD display which is great for browsing, reading and especially watching movies. Add to that the great battery life.


Then, they followed it up with high quality audio recording using 4 microphones, giving you directional stereo recording. The result is well-balanced audio that captures the full range of hearing. Sound is not distorted even the environment is too noisy.

The powerful Snapdragon 800 chip can chomp thru any games you download from the WP Store. I think the only drawback we noticed with the 1080p display is that games and apps looked a bit pixelated since they were optimized for 720p only.

Then, there’s that PureView camera. We’ve seen it perform with the Lumia 920, Lumia 925 and Lumia 1020. The Lumia 1520 is no exception. Here are several sample shots taken with the 1520:

[fancygallery id=”64″ album=”67″]

Here’s a clip from YouTube of the video recording:

You will notice that the Lumia 1520 has great imaging capabilities, but it’s not evident all the time.

The Pro Camera app is certainly the best native app on any smartphone we’ve used. It’s simple yet intuitive and gives you manual controls of the critical settings of the camera right away.

Performance and Benchmarks

The hardware on the Lumia 1520 is the most powerful set ever made for Nokia. It’s a huge jump from the previous generation, even with the Lumia 1020 (except perhaps for the camera). As such, the boost in performance is very noticeable — from running apps and games, to multitasking and media, and especially with the benchmarks.

We were able to run WP Bench and the new Antutu Benchmark that’ recently became available in the WP Store. The Lumia 1520 scored 25,052 which is already pretty high (not sure if we can compared it with other Snapdragon 800 chips like in the G2 which got a higher score of 34k).

Nevertheless, the hardware configuration of the Lumia 1520 already matches those of other Android flagship devices.

Call Quality, Connectivity and Battery Life

We’ve had no problems with the handset when using it for basic functions such as making voice calls or SMS. Reception is loud and clear, text messages are sent and received in a timely manner.

As for battery life, we were very impressed with the idle time as well as its dexterity with normal use. We reckon we can do more than a day or close to two days when using it for calls, SMS, mobile internet and a few social accounts like Twitter, FB and Instagram.

With our standard battery bench, we were able to pull off about 11.5 hours of movie playback on a single full charge at medium brightness and 0% volume (we assumed medium brightness is at 50%).

As for connectivity, the 1520 has got it all — LTE, WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS and NFC. We managed to get as high as 25Mbps over Globe LTE in our area here in Makati which is pretty much the range when we LTE tests with other devices.

And, as a bonus, there’s also Qi wireless charging built into the device. We were able to use it together with the portable wireless charging powerbank that we got from Nokia.


No doubt that the Lumia 1520 is the best and most exciting Lumia phone Nokia has ever built. It’s got all the hardware, design and multimedia capabilities that consumers are looking for when picking a new phone.

The Windows Phone ecosystem is also slowly catching up and this is evident with the release of more popular and download-worthy apps in the WP Store.

The Nokia Lumia 1520 is set to be released in the Philippines some time in January so we don’t know the suggested retail price yet. We’re hoping it will not be as expensive as the Lumia 1020 when it first arrived in the country a couple of months ago.

Nokia Lumia 1520 specs:
6-inch ClearBlack Display @ full HD 1920×1080 pixels
Gorilla Glass 2
Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 2.2GHz quad-core processor
Adreno 330 Graphics
32GB internal storage
64GB via microSD
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, ac
LTE 150/50 mbps, DC-HSPA 42mbps
Bluetooth 4.0 LE
20MP PureView rear camera, dual LED flash
1.2MP front-facing camera
Li-Ion 3,400mAh battery
Windows Phone 8
162.8 x 85.4 x 8.7mm (dimensions)
209 grams (weight)

What we liked about it:
* Impressive performance
* Great, slim design & solid construction
* Wireless charging
* Large battery capacity
* Fast LTE connectivity
* Stunning display quality
* Impressive camera performance

What we did not like:
* Slightly heavy-set
* Slippery on the hands
* Still lacking App Store

Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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56 Responses

  1. Gian says:

    Now this is the ultimate WP device. Futureproof pa sana to kung dual-boot xa…

  2. Mir says:

    Soon na ung Raw/Dng file support s Lumia 1020/1520 :)

  3. RyanJay says:

    I am a Nokia 1520 user since Christmas and here is my humble review:

    1. the display is amazing, very immersive ang multimedia experience due to the vibrant screen and good viewing angles.
    2. from light to moderate use, 1520’s battery could last for a day or a day and a half on low settings.
    3. design and build quality is astounding. This is an attention begging phone! hahaha
    4. Nokia’s Glance and double tap to unlock and other exclusive apps save the scarcity of windows apps (somehow) and they are beautifully written.
    5, hardware is spot on, if not for some poorly written apps, this phone flies.

    1. this maybe is area related but 1520 can not maintain a good H or H+ connection, while my 5s (sitting beside it) is stable on 3g. you are stuck with the slow EDGE.
    2. this can be app related but VIBER is really funny on windows. It is not as smooth as IOS or android, very buggy ultra SLOW. Facebook too is rather primitive, hahahaha, WP uses the older Facebook versions in IOS or Android. No official youtube app (with all of its cool features)

    other than that this phone holds so many promise

    • gsgalacgac says:

      There is a new better facebook version for wp already, now on par with the ios and android version.
      And for youtube, which I dont use often, i even unstall it in my s4, use alternative much better than youtube, the metrotube. Or gawin mo na lang ginagawa ko, download the video using uc browser. Sa android version ng uc browser di pwede download videos sa youtube, pero yung sa wp, pwede.

    • Ryan Jay says:

      Sir what is that new better facebook version?

  4. Bob says:

    Nokia Lumia 1520 may be the best Windows Phone specs-wise to date, but I won’t trade my 1020 for this. After using WP8 for almost a month, I’ll still go for iOS and/or Android.

  5. HNSCC says:

    Question to rhe reviewer: Can you activate the field test menu (dial ##3282#) on the phone dialler to set the phone to exclusively connect to LTE? This is what I hate about Windows Phone ever since I upgraded to GDR2/Amber: my phone only connects to EDGE even when 3G/HSDPA is present regardless of the SIM card I used. It made my unlimited data plan useless. Before getting the Lumia, test if the ##3282 command works in the dialler. Otherwise, wifi is your only way to connect to the internet.

  6. siphone says:

    Some questions to anyone who have used the 1520:
    1) Is it really big that you cannot fit in to your pocket? How do you bring it when outside the house or office?
    2) Is the Yellow, Black or White in Matte as slippery as the Red version? I guess not since it is matte.
    3) Abe said “lacking in App Store”… It has Windows store… what is lacking more in the WP8?
    4) This is not a question.. but I think 1520 will be upgraded to WP8.1 ..

    • cheska says:

      to answer some of your question, the size forn me its just right coz its really depends on the user, just like me i prefer bigger screen so the size doesnt matter with me its still manageable, i have the white version but its not slippery like the red one coz its glossy plus a bonus u dont need to buy a flip cover coz its already included in the package, as for the apps its still depends on you, when i tried browsing the windows store there’s also a lot of applications, so bottom line it depends on the user, as for me im not apps savvy so the lack of applications as what they dont matter to me, so you decide if you still want to buy this handset as for me i enjoy using it, i was an android user before so far i never regret switching to wp8.

    • Ryan Jay says:

      1) Is it really big that you cannot fit in to your pocket? How do you bring it when outside the house or office?-It’s Big! Doesn’t fit to your regular jeans pocket.I bring a bag every time lumalabas ako.I have been to greenhills pero wala pang cases for the phone. Sulit is out of stock din for the mean time.

      3) Abe said “lacking in App Store”… It has Windows store… what is lacking more in the WP8?
      -I think windows store lacks the OFFICIAL APPS. No official Youtube or facebook App, no PVZ2 (but temple Run 2 and Subway Surfer made their way na). The answer is Third Party App which sometimes lacks the original features of the official app.

    • siphone says:

      I’ve been a long-tome user of Nokia phones naman so I pretty much know the lacking apps in their phones and pretty much what I need they they already: Facebook, Twitter, INstagram, Camera(!) .. I guess I’ll be alright with this.

      Question to the owners: did you get it from Expansys? Did the warranty affect your purchase… Cost is too much : P29k + P1k freight + customs charges + P1.6k warranty extension. I’d rather wait for Nokia Philippines to release it. I’m also wondering what kind of warranty Kimstore and other local sellers here offer for the phone since it is not officially released yet…

    • cheska says:

      sorry i cant answer your question coz i live in dubai that’s why i was able to get it earlier thankful that they launch it in abu dhabi..

    • john says:

      1) Sakto lang ang size para sa akin. Minsan nga e nakakapag-type ako kahit isang kamay. Siguro dahil naggitgitara ako kaya sanay akong umabot ng malalayong lugar gamit daliri.

      Kasya rin siya sa bulsa ko. 30 ang bewang ko so i-imagine mo na lang ‘yung bulsa ng mga pantalong ganun kalaki. Kasya rin siya sa sports jacket ko.

      2) Hindi ako nadudulasan sa glossy red back ng phone ko. Siguro sanay lang talaga akong humawak ng malalaking devices.

      3) Sa HotGadgets ko binili phone ko. I-search mo sa Sulit. Di ko nae-experience ‘yung problems sa connectivity pero baka marahil dahil naka-postpaid plan ako.

      4) Halos lahat naman yata ng WP e magkakaroon ng WP 8.1 update.

  7. Miongb says:

    Saw it sa sm lazaro yesterday…very gorgeous-looking phone! Kaso its too pricey 33k if im not mistaken….but the winphone os, so buttery smooth, the kind of experience na di ko naranasan sa android.

    Also, sir abe is right. Cons include the glossy finish and the slippery back. Pawisin pa naman ako.

    • john says:

      Contrary to what Sir Abe said, di naman ako nahirapan sa paghawak sa glossy back kahit walang cover madalas ‘yung phone ko. Nakalimutang i-mention ng writer ‘yung ease sa paggamit ng English keyboard. Over two weeks, nasa dictionary ko na ‘yung mga salitang “naman”, “hindi”, atbp., tsaka ‘yung phrases na madalas kong i-type tulad ng ‘Nokia Lumia 1520’, ‘I love you’ atbp., e sunud-sunod na ‘yung word suggestion. Kaya di rin siguro kelangan ng Swype or gesture typing dito kasi efficient ‘yung predictive text basta ilang weeks pa bago ma-store ng phone mo ‘yung words at phrases na madalas mong gamitin.

  8. abuzalzal says:

    I’d buy this phone for the TILES alone…looks soooooo beautiful, you can arrange it in any order you prefer!

    Windows Tiles Rule!!!!

  9. wew says:

    Android-like specs + Windows Phone OS = A Monster Windows Phone =) guaranteed n walang stutter at lag kahit ilang updates pa ang dumaan in the next years =)

  10. mark aznar says:

    Its a great phone, I’m selling white and black Lumia 1520 32gb brand new lte smart and globe factory unlocked for only 25k, just add 1500 for Nokia wireless charger. Check my sulit feedback, mark aznar 09166336391, 09178586850

  11. Edwin C says:

    At magkano naman ito at ako’y bibili?

  12. Jacob says:

    I have been using the Nokia 1520 for two weeks now. It is a BIG phone, a centimeter taller than my Galaxy Note 2. But first of all, I picked this phone because I grew tired of Android and find iOS too restrictive. 60-70% of the time I use my smartphone for business and work-related stuffs, and photography, hence Windows Phone 8 is almost perfect for me.

    Permit me to comment on some of the early feedback. I did notice that the phone switches from G, Edge, H, H+ on a typical hour especially when mobile. I am on Smart and I learned that Smart LTE is yet to officially support the Nokia 1520, simply because the phone is yet to be released officially in the Philippines. It is possible that the phone hunts for LTE and is rejected by the Smart network hence it is thrown to 2G, 2.5G before it gets back to HSPA. If the problem persists even after Smart officially starts supporting 1520 for its LTE network, then I guess Nokia has to issue a patch to solve the problem.

    On the phone being slippery on the hand, that’s the reason I bought a black one with a matte and not with a glossy backside. My phone is not slippery at all, expect when I just finished eating with my bare hands, of course, in which case it would not be a good idea to touch my phone :)

    Battery is good. I won’t say it is stellar. It is almost as sturdy as my Galaxy Note 2. But then again perhaps it’s because I have been tinkering with it big time since I got it.

    Where it excels is the built-in speaker, the built-in microphone. Let me add that the sound of the person I am talking to during a call is very clear and vivid.

    Photography is of course the Lumia’s given strength. The built-in cameara is the best I ever had on a smartphone. It has 20 megapixels which gives me a lot of details to play with. That said, I think it’s just as good as the camera on smaller iPhone 5S. However, where it becomes a handy photography tool is when I use it to view my DSLR shots. The pictures have that “pop” because of the splendid display. Stunning is not an exaggerated praise.

    My fingers are relatively long hence I find the phone size ok. Try it before you buy it. Clearly a phone this size is not for everyone. It is as big as the HTC One Max, but thinner.

  13. gary says:

    meron pa palang Nokia?

  14. boymagsasaka says:

    @gary meron pa palang tangang tulad mo sir…

    • Kukarikapo says:

      @boymagsasaka di sya tanga! Di lang sya ganun ka updated sa mga techs at smartphones…:)) ang mahal nga lang ng lumia 1520. Kahit i-reconsider mo pa yung processor nya :( wala mahal parin …ANG MAHAL NYA compare mo sa ipone 5s! At parang ang laking gastos 33k ko to nakita sa sm san lazaro at… Iintayin ko na lang yung Nokia XL, Nokia X+ (haha april pa ata) sa presyo ng lumia 1520 pede kana bumile ng nokia xl o x+ ng 2 o kaya 3 hahaha :)
      Maganda quality! Nya
      Ehh pag bumili ka ng 2 o 3 ng nokia xl or x+ may pede ka pa bigyan…quantitative paren ang mas higit…haha di po hater (medyo opinion ko lang po)

  15. Jacob says:

    Let me share an update. I called Smart and they were able to fix my LTE connection, so my 1520 is now on Smart 4G. At home I get download speeds of 20-25mbps and upload speeds of 5-8mbps. Connection has been very stable too, signal has not been dropping anymore especially when I am mobile.

    • Ryan Jay says:

      Sir share mo naman anong update ang ginawa ng smart sayo at paano mo nirequest yun. I think I have the same network connectivity issues with my Lumia.

    • john says:

      Sir, bakit ako, di ko naman nae-experience ‘yung LTE connectivity problems? Smart din ako at postpaid pa.

  16. silver says:

    nokia is catching up with its lumia series, great camera but im not so impressed with the specs.. still it cannot be compared with my LG G2! it has all the necessary features!

  17. nice says:

    ganda sana nito kaso wlang kc android yang nokia ei… kya mas pinili q nlng ung LG phone lalo n yung G2..

  18. Name: Jacob Castro says:

    I almost bought the LG G2. It was a nice phone. The screen is good, but it is not as buttery smooth to touch and scroll as the Lumia 1520. WP8 in general is more buttery smooth than Android. iOS and WP8 are almost equal when it comes to navigation smoothness. So I can glad you are happy with your G2s. The screen of Lumia 1520 however blows it away. Try watching a 4K video on your G2 and see what happens. Try lang.

    • oel says:

      as i was reading your comments.. nabasa ko na reg sa playing 4k videos on G2.. na curious ako sinubukan ko sa ascend mate ko… 4k videos run smoothly bro! happy for now on my ascend mate:)

  19. kyliee says:

    now nokia is catching up,when it comes to windows phone.. but i prefer android phone like LG G2.i read the reviews and awards.. :)

  20. Jacob says:

    Again I am not questioning your decision to buy the LG G2. I personally tried it before buying the Lumia 1520. Was the Lmia 1520 already out before you purchased the LG G2? Btw, the LG G2’s price is now down to 20k, that LG had to bring down the SRP so soon is proof that it was not doing well.

  21. Flora says:

    Hi, I just bought lumia 1520 and been looking for the network services button and can’t find it. I have this retailer sim and I couldn’t find the Load Wallet option in this phone. Need help please… :) Upon testing, this is really an amazing phone, speed and apps – wise, no regrets with the price.

  22. ymer says:

    Got mine at last! So happy with it! I only hope accessories for this phone will soon be far no luck in finding flipcover or backcover for this device.. Switching to WP8 is a bit of a challenge but no regrets just the same…never thought live tiles are great until now! Absolutely awesome! ????????????

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  39. wyn_1520 says:

    to the staff of yugatech, can you make another review of the lumia 1520 after 1 year of use and the difference from the first OS black to cyan? also the tps and tricks for the new OS and the upcoming OS Denim.

    Thank you and hoping you can do this review again.

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