Nokia Lumia 1320 review

A capable phablet, but is it already obsolete?

Nokia Lumia 1320 review
Nokia wants us to enjoy this budget moment

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The Nokia Lumia 1320 runs on the latest version of Windows Phone 8. That shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone with a passing knowledge of the company's history, what with Nokia's long-standing partnership with and imminent acquisition by Microsoft.


As such, there's really nothing new to discuss here on the interface front. Microsoft runs a tight ship with its heavily stylised operating system, with the same single Live Tile-strewn homepage popping tidbits of information to its square app icons.

Windows Phone 8 still looks and feels great, and there's nothing else quite like it on the market – though Microsoft's rivals have clearly 'borrowed' elements of it.

You still get the impression that it's an iteration away from truly matching Android and iOS for pure functionality – the lack of a notification centre being the biggest omission – but it's a genuinely viable alternative.

One fairly unique addition that the Lumia 1320 shares with the Lumia 1520 is an extra column of Live Tiles. As with pretty much everything that's notable about this phone, this feature is facilitated by that 6-inch display.

Though the Lumia 1320's display is 720p rather than 1080p, this expanded home screen still looks great. Thanks to Microsoft's crisp, flat OS design, there's no great fuzziness on display here.


Having said that, one of the main criticisms I levelled at the Nokia Lumia 1520 applies equally here. Having a huge screen is all well and good, but Windows Phone 8 simply doesn't scale sufficiently to suit.

Other than that extra column of Live Tiles, this is pretty much Windows Phone 8 as presented on the 3.8-inch Nokia Lumia 620.

Menu screens that once benefited from having chunky white fonts on simple black backgrounds when displayed on 4-inch smartphones look wasteful and inefficient here.

Consider, too, the stock Windows Phone keyboard – which is the only one you're ever going to get, given Microsoft's policies on third party alternatives (they're not allowed).

It still takes up a good half of the Nokia Lumia 1320's display, which makes typing a little unwieldy and, strangely, no more error-free.

It also fails to offer any enhancements for this larger form factor, such as dedicated numerical keys or the ability to resize and reposition the keyboard.


Still, as the Windows Phone 8 user experience is both stylish and lightweight, which is no mean feat (just ask HTC).

What's more, thanks to Microsoft's tightly controlled hardware requirements, the mid-range Nokia Lumia 1320 runs the basic OS pretty much as well as quad-core beasts like the Nokia Lumia 1520.

I didn't pick up any signs of lag whilst navigating through the OS on the 1320, apps were quick to boot up, and those swishy transition animations that make the Metro UI such a pleasant experience are perfectly smooth.

If you're talking raw performance, the Nokia Lumia 1320's dual-core Snapdragon 400 is far from top of the pile. The average WP Bench score I recorded for the device was 312.22.

Taking into account the device's CPU, GPU, and memory performance, these test results suggest a performance level that's roughly 40% lower than the Nokia Lumia 1520, which tends to score somewhere around the 500s.


Still, as stated, that's more than enough processing power to handle the Windows Phone 8 OS. Also bear in mind that the Nokia Lumia 1320's processor is pushing around half the number of screen pixels of the Nokia Lumia 1520, which goes some way to levelling general performance.

One technical area in which the Nokia Lumia 1320 clearly struggles, though, is storage.

8GB isn't much for any modern smartphone OS to run with, but with Windows Phone 8 – which takes up a good 2GB plus of storage by itself – it's positively miniscule.

Sure enough, you'll find yourself bumping up against the Nokia Lumia 1320's storage limits pretty quickly once you start loading up your collection of games, apps, and music. As I've noted already, a sizeable microSD card is a must.