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The Nokia Lumia 2520 is instantly recognisable as a Lumia device thanks to its candy-coloured polycarbonate shell. The tablet's shell is all plastic which lends it a playful and laid back, yet oddly premium feel that makes the Surface 2 comes across cold industrial in comparison.

Its design borrows heavily from Nokia's 1510 smartphone and is similarly comfortable to hold thanks to its smooth edges and rounded corners. All that caressing comes at a cost, however, as you'll be wiping away fingerprints from the second you turn it on to the moment you set it down.

The Nokia Lumia 2520 sports a 10.1-inch 1920 x 1080-pixel-resolution display (218 dpi) with Corning Gorilla Glass 2. It's a widescreen 16:9 panel that's more suited to landscape mode and holds certain advantages in areas such as viewing cinematic video content without having to put up with annoying black border and snapping Windows 8.1's apps side-by-side.

However, its dimensions can feel a little awkward at times compared to the iPad's squarer 4:3 aspect ratio and occasionally make the device feel like a technologically savvy wine menu. I've seen flashy restaurants hand out iPads to customers for them to make orders, so if all else fails, the Lumia 2520 has at least one area it knows it will excel in.

Nokia Lumia 2520 couch

On display

The Nokia Lumia 2520's full-HD resolution looks sharp and leaves ample room for desktop icons, snapping windows and lining up tiles on the Start Menu, but it's a shame Nokia didn't take the opportunity to fit its debutant with something truly dazzling.

If there was a time to out the world's first Windows RT device with a quad-HD display (or thereabouts), this was it. The iPad has had a Retina display for just over a year (the iPad Air's has a 2048 x 1536 pixel resolution), and newer entrants such as Dell's 11.6-inch XPS 11 laptop (2560 x 1440) are whipping up excitement through their lofty resolution-driven ambitions.

Of course, there is a solid argument that portable computers don't need such high resolution displays and, for the most part, I agree. Scaling problems in Windows 8.1 almost ruined the Surface Pro 2's overall experience; however, such issues are much less noticeable on the Lumia 2520 in the absence of third-party desktop apps - such as Google Chrome and Spotify - that are yet to be given a high-res update.

Don't get me wrong: I'm not trying to wrangle a positive out of Windows RT having a barren app store (I'll get to that shortly). It's just that you don't notice scaling issues quite so often, and I believe that ramping up the resolution would help lift Windows RT's appeal in the same way that the iPad 3's Retina display gave Apple's tablet a whole new lease of life.

Nokia Lumia 2520 in bush

But to give Nokia and the Lumia 2520 credit where it's due, the tablet is in another league to its competitors when it comes to outdoor reading. Nokia claims that it offers "best in class outdoor readability" thanks to its 650 nits peak brightness, and it's one that holds true.

Set to full brightness, we could read website text with ease outdoors in bright sunlight from all of its 178-degree wide viewing angles. Readability is even better in lower light conditions, showing off vibrant colours with decent colour reproduction thanks to Nokia's ClearBlack technology.

The weight escape

In the weight department, the Nokia Lumia 2520 is slightly off balance, feeling marginally heavier when held by its right-hand edge than the left. Thankfully, it's a fairly lightweight device, tipping the scales at 1.36 pounds. At 8.2mm, it's the same thickness as the Surface 2 and is slightly chunkier than the iPad Air (7.5mm).

You still won't be wanting to hold it in a single hand for long periods of time, but if you do, it's marginally more manageable than the Surface 2's 1.49 pounds. Only Apple's svelte iPad Air (1 pound) and Asus' Transformer Book T100 (undocked - 1.2 pounds) exist as more portable alternatives in the 10-inch category.

Nokia Lumia 2520 rear

The 2520's curvy nature and bright screen makes it an appealing tablet for the occasional spot of reading, but if you're planning on buying a device to satisfy your bookworm tendencies, you'd be better off with a dedicated e-reader, or a smaller tablet option in the form of Apple's iPad Mini 2 or the new Nexus 7.

The tablet feels solid in the hand but gives off some flex when applying pressure between its front and back panels. It's not flimsy - far from it - but you don't quite get the industrial-strength feeling you get from the VaporMG casing protecting Microsoft's Surface 2.

Nokia Lumia 2520 under tree

It's also creakier than a Pennsylvanian cellar door when flexed, though that's not something you're likely to notice in general use and not a cause for concern.

Prise open the Lumia 2520 and you'll find a 2.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 (MSM8974) processor alongside an Adreno 330 graphics backed up by 2GB RAM. Other features include an ambient light sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope, proximity sensor and magnetometer, and storage can be boosted by 64GB via a micro-SD card slot.