When Nokia announced the Lumia 2520 back in October, it was hard to see past the fact that it would run Windows RT. Unfortunately, despite a number of excellent features - from its near 11-hour battery life to one-hour charging, decent speakers and excellent outdoor readability - the fact that you just can't do much with it in the absence of useful apps or legacy desktop programs means that it's difficult to recommend.
First the good: the Nokia Lumia 2520 has set the gold standard for tablets to aspire to when it comes to battery life, going the distance and powering up quickly when asked.
It also features a mighty impressive IPS display that, despite not being the highest resolution out there, is fantastic for reading outdoors and really brings Windows 8.1 RT's vivid colors to life. Holding the tablet is a joy too, its curved dimensions smooth to touch without coming across as poorly constructed, even if it feels a little unevenly balanced at times.
It could be something of a killer games machine too - so long as you stick to the ones from the Windows RT 8.1 Store. Our benchmarks served up Surface 2-beating numbers, meaning there isn't really any contest between the two if light gaming and battery life are at the top of your list.
That decent performance extends to other areas of the tablet - anything you do from opening and switching between apps using the OS's charm menus - is seamless and stutter free.
We didn't like
Windows RT, Windows RT, Windows RT. We can't say it enough: it was always a massive gamble opting for the much-maligned operating system, and it's one that simply hasn't paid off.
It's difficult to deny that the Lumia 2520's hardware impresses, but once that sheen has worn off, there's little underneath to keep you returning for more at this moment in time. Unless you use the Lumia 2520 for one or two specific purposes - whether that's browsing websites in Internet Explorer 11 or typing up documents in Word - there's simply not much to do with it.
And even if you're only planning to use the Lumia 2520 as a casual content consumption device, you're sure to be irked by its lack of a kickstand and full-sized USB port. Splashing out on a pricey Power Cover is even more of a must than buying a keyboard cover was for a Surface 2 (you could use a wired keyboard with its built-in USB if you was desperate), which drastically limits the Lumia 2520's appeal as a pick-up-and-go device.
The bottom line goes like this: if the Lumia 2520 ran full-fat Windows 8 and added a kickstand, we would be looking at the most compelling Windows 8 tablet ever.
But it doesn't, so we're stuck with one featuring a half-baked operating system that benefits from some incredibly nifty and unique features while taking away ones that seem incredibly simplistic and even taken for granted these days (kickstand, we're looking at you).
Microsoft's Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 tablets suffered from something of an identity crisis, so the company didn't hold back when offering configurations and accessories en mass.
I feel like the Nokia 2520 should have done the same to avoid becoming the watered down, lightweight offering that it has. Compromises have been made in the wrong areas, and the overall package is much less appealing as a result.
I'd love to see a tablet outed that's halfway between a Surface Pro 2 and a Nokia 2520 - one with outstanding battery life and charge times, a vibrant bright screen and a playful polycarbonate shell. Of course, it would have to run Windows 8.1 and have a kickstand too.
Come on, Microsoft. Give Nokia a pop at a successor and show us what it's really capable of.