Nokia Lumia 1520 review

Nokia goes big on specs, but can Windows Phone 8 keep up?

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With that big, beautiful 6-inch display, the Nokia Lumia 1520 makes for a fine media player - provided you can lay your hands on the appropriate material.

You can store hours of video, thousands of songs, and plenty of 3D games on it with its 32GB of internal storage and enormous memory expansion potential, too.


Nokia Lumia 1520 review

It's a little surprising that, despite the Nokia Lumia 1520's headline feature being that 6-inch Full HD display, it's arguably set up to be a stronger music player than it is for videos or even games.

The default Music + Video app bunches all of your media together, but going into the dedicated Music section breaks your music collection (which can be synced by hooking up to your computer) up into artists, albums, songs, playlists (which can be created here), and genres.

These are all presented in typical Windows Phone 8 fashion, as sparse vertically scrolling lists, though the albums section does at least feature album artwork.

Once you've started a track playing, audio player controls will appear on the lockscreen, or after pressing the volume key when anywhere else in your device. It works well.

There's also an FM radio accessible from the Music + Video app once you've hooked up a set of headphones, but that's made pretty much redundant with the inclusion of the Nokia Music app.

Nokia Lumia 1520 review

Here you get another audio player interface, which is very similar to the Microsoft one, as well as Mix Radio. This provides you with a wide selection of themed, curated playlists, which can all be listened to for free and with no sign-up. You can't be too picky about which specific artists you want to listen to, but you can save particular playlist for offline listening.

When it comes to purchasing MP3s, the Nokia Lumia 1520 is a well catered for as any other Lumia device. Both Nokia and Microsoft offer online stores through their respective media apps.

On the Microsoft front, through Music + Videos, you get the Xbox Music Store, which enables access to Microsoft's unlimited music subscription service as well as enabling you to purchase tracks outright.

And this is why the Nokia Lumia 1520 is so well suited to music fans - it's got the content to back up its undeniably impressive specs.


We have mixed feelings about the Nokia Lumia 1520 as a video player. When it comes to actually pumping out HD footage, it's a stunner.

That 6-inch 1080p display (have we mentioned that before?) really does make watching full films on the go viable, and shows off its accurate color reproduction - which isn't always the case with Nokia phones thanks to the company's taste for super-vibrant AMOLED display technology.

Nokia Lumia 1520 review

This is LCD, and so nicely balanced, though you do lose the deep blacks of AMOLED. You're well sorted for codec support too, including MP4, H.264, H.263 and WMV.

Our issue, though, is one of content. If the Lumia 1520 is almost overstocked with music-playing apps, it's underserved for video.

There's no Xbox Video Store service here. One is coming, but it's not available yet. Meanwhile, Nokia has no equivalent to its own Nokia Music store for video content. There's just nothing. This leaves you with support from third party apps such as Netflix, YouTube and Vimeo.

Nokia Lumia 1520 review

It's a crying shame, as the Nokia Lumia 1520 has the raw specs to be one of the finest movie players in the business. Without the content ecosystem to back it up, though, it's simply not good enough at this point in time.


The Nokia Lumia 1520 handles photos beautifully thanks to the ever delightful Windows Phone 8 Photos app.

We've mentioned it already in the review, but we love the way it cycles through your snaps on its Live Tile. There's a reason it's bigger than most of the others.

Nokia Lumia 1520 review

Into the Photos app itself, and you get to carry out your picture browsing with a high resolution snippet of one of your photos as the backdrop. It's incredibly sharp.

Camera roll provides you with a list of square thumbnails for all of your photos and videos, with the latter clearly delineated by a play icon. We actually like that they're placed into the context of the surrounding photos here.

Albums, meanwhile, splits your photos into their source folders. This includes your camera roll, any images you might have saved onto the device, screenshots (taken by pressing the power and Windows buttons together) and images that have been saved to Microsoft's SkyDrive cloud storage solution.

You get 7GB of the latter for free as standard, so it's well worth utilising.

The Photos app also allows you to sort your pictures by the date they were taken, as well as to pick out your favourites. It also lists any apps you have installed that enable you to interact with or enhance your photos, which helps remind you of that random filter app you installed on a whim three weeks ago.

Naturally, pictures look great on the Nokia Lumia 1520's display. Add in the aforementioned Nokia Creative Studio app for editing purposes, and you have one of the best digital picture frames you can take around with you.


Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
Wireless LANYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported64 GB
Built-in Memory32 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationYes
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilyLumia
Cellular Generation4G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 850, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 1900, WCDMA 2100, LTE 800, LTE 900, LTE 1800, LTE 2100, LTE 2600
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution20 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraYes
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleBar
Operating SystemWindows Mobile
Brand NameNokia
Battery Talk Time1 Day
Product Model1520
Screen Size15.2 cm (6")
Screen Resolution1920 x 1080
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)209 g
Processor CoreQuad-core (4 Core)
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityChina RoHS, EU RoHS, WEEE, REACH
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Processor ManufacturerQualcomm
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 4.0
Operating System VersionWindows Phone 8
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Pixel Density368 ppi
Front Camera Resolution1.2 Megapixel
SIM Size SupportedNano
Height162.8 mm
Width85.4 mm
Depth8.7 mm
Battery Standby Time768 Hour
Product NameLumia 1520 Smartphone
Processor Speed2.20 GHz
Processor TypeSnapdragon 800
Product LineLumia
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeAccelerometer, Gyro Sensor, Proximity Sensor, Digital Compass, Ambient Light Sensor, Magnetometer
Manufacturer Part NumberA00015322
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing InformationSee more
A six-inch, 1080p full HD display with excellent outdoor readability and redesigned start screen lets you make the most of the extra space.

Tell better stories
Tell your stories the way they're meant to be told with Nokia Storyteller, image editing tools and a 20 megapixel, PureView camera.

Your creative canvas
With a six-inch, super-sensitive, full HD display and great readability in sunlight, the Nokia Lumia 1520 Tablet Phone is the perfect canvas to tell your story on.

When you can't find the words
Take amazing photos with a 20 MP PureView camera and let Nokia Storyteller organise them into stories using interactive HERE maps.

Pick up where you left off
The Nokia Lumia 1520 smartphone is a powerhouse of productivity. Built-in Microsoft Office means you can view and edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint files without losing any original formatting. Save documents to SkyDrive and return to them whenever it suits you.

Fun with photos
Tell a different story by reframing and recropping high-resolution photos. Add captions and explore a whole range of creative effects and filters with exclusive photo editing tools.

Windows Phone 8 gets even bigger
The Nokia Lumia 1520 comes to the UK with all the exclusive features of Windows Phone 8, like Live Tiles and People Hub. And they're all optimised for the big screen, making your Windows Phone 8 experience even better.

Fit for business
The Nokia Lumia 1520 is a formidable business smartphone with built-in Microsoft Office, respected business applications like Microsoft Exchange, Office 365 and Lync, as well as enterprise-level security to give you peace of mind.
Package Contents
  • Lumia 1520 Smartphone
  • MicroUSB Charger
  • Charging and Data Cable
  • Headset
  • Quick Guide
  • SIM Door Key
Limited Warranty2 Year
Standard Memory2 GB