Nokia Lumia 1520 review: Finnish fable

Finnish fable

GSMArena team, 20 December 2013.

Battery life

The battery in the Lumia 1520 is sealed, but it has the reasonably big capacity of 3,400mAh. The phablet comes with built-in wireless charging, a feature that was missing in the 1020. To make use of it however, you would have to buy separately a Qi wireless charger - these days those come in many shapes and sizes.

The massive battery, light-weight Windows Phone OS and power-efficient display were made to count in video-playback and web browsing test. They surely helped the Lumia 1520 achieve an amazing score despite the huge estate to light up. Talk time and the overall stand-by endurance are great too thus the 107h top-notch rating is no surprising.



Anyway, with an overall rating of 107 hours, the Lumia 1520 is well ahead of the other phablets we've tested so far. What this number means is that the Lumia 1520 should manage four and a half days on a single charge if used for one hour each of calls, web browsing and video playback daily.

Display

The Nokia Lumia 1520 has a 6" IPS LCD screen of 1080p resolution, the pixel density works out to 367ppi. The LCD incorporates Nokia's ClearBlack tech - a set of polarizing filters, which minimize glare. Plus, Gorilla Glass 2 on top for protection.

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The 6" IPS LCD on the Lumia 1520

The capacitive touch sensor on the display features the supersensitive touch technology that allows it to detect fingers even through winter gloves.

The 1520 comes with the Lumia Color Profile option in the settings, which gives you two sliders to play with - one for color temperature (which spans the cool, neutral and warm range) and color saturation (natural to vivid).

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Lumia Color Profile settings

The Nokia Glance screen keeps the clock and notification counters visible even after you lock the screen. This could be set to appear only for a little while after you lock the screen, intermittently on and off and always on. There's a separate always on setting for when the device is charging. A Night mode allows you to pick a different color for the Glance screen info - Red, Green or Blue - if the default White setting is too bright for your sleepy eyes.

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Nokia Glance Screen settings

One new option in GDR3 is the screen rotation lock. That's an important feature for a phablet, but unfortunately it's only accessible from the Settings menu, which means you have to leave the app you are using to change it, there are no quickly accessible toggles here (this is a common problem for any settings in Windows Phone).

As we already mentioned, the Lumia 1520 screen is tack sharp. Due to its large diagonal, pixel density drops below 400ppi, but 367ppi is still better than what most people's eyes can resolve, especially when you consider you tend to hold a phablet further away from your eyes than a phone.


Nokia Lumia 1520 display matrix compared to the Samsung Galaxy Note 3

The viewing angles are excellently wide with only a minor shift in contrast when going to extremes. Color rendering is good and, as an added bonus, you can tweak the white balance and saturation to your liking. The one weak spot of the display is the black levels, which are not as great as on AMOLED, but the overall contrast is still quite good.

Display test 50% brightness 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
HTC One Max 0.14 224 1591 0.40 629 1572
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 0 149 0 379
Sony Xperia Z1 - - - 0.38 580 1513
Nokia Lumia 1520 0.22 263 1174 0.43 522 1207
Nokia Lumia 1020 0 172 0 398
Nokia Lumia 920 - - - 0.48 513 1065
Sony Xperia Z Ultra - - - 0.47 467 1001
Sony Xperia Z - - - 0.70 492 705
Huawei Ascend Mate 0.23 222 982 0.67 711 1053
Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 0.12 160 1364 0.32 440 1379
Samsung I9505 Galaxy S4 0 201 0 404
HTC Butterfly S 0.15 165 1117 0.43 451 1044

The ClearBlack tech does help minimize reflectivity. The relatively low brightness however hurt the outdoor performance.

Sunlight contrast ratio

  • Nokia 808 PureView
    4.698
  • Apple iPhone 5
    3.997
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3
    3.997
  • Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III
    3.419
  • Nokia Lumia 925
    3.402
  • Samsung I9505 Galaxy S4
    3.352
  • Samsung Omnia W
    3.301
  • Samsung Galaxy S
    3.155
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 mini
    3.127
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom
    3.118
  • Nokia N9
    3.069
  • Samsung Galaxy Note
    2.970
  • Sony Xperia Z1
    2.950
  • HTC One S
    2.901
  • BlackBerry Q10
    2.856
  • Samsung Galaxy S II
    2.832
  • Samsung Galaxy S II Plus
    2.801
  • BlackBerry Z30
    2.790
  • Huawei Ascend P1
    2.655
  • Sony Xperia ZR
    2.672
  • Nokia Lumia 900
    2.562
  • HTC One Max
    2.537
  • Nokia Lumia 720
    2.512
  • HTC One
    2.504
  • Sony Xperia Z
    2.462
  • Samsung Galaxy S III mini
    2.422
  • Motorola RAZR i
    2.366
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    2.307
  • Apple iPhone 4S
    2.269
  • HTC Desire 600 dual sim
    2.262
  • LG Nexus 5
    2.228
  • HTC One X
    2.158
  • Nokia N8
    2.144
  • Oppo Find 5
    2.088
  • BlackBerry Z10
    2.051
  • Apple iPhone 4
    2.016
  • HTC One mini
    2.003
  • LG G2
    1.976
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia ray
    1.955
  • Samsung Galaxy Camera
    1.938
  • HTC Butterfly
    1.873
  • Huawei Ascend P6
    1.865
  • Nokia Lumia 1520
    1.813
  • Sony Xperia V
    1.792
  • Sony Xperia U
    1.758
  • Meizu MX3
    1.754
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    1.691
  • HTC One V
    1.685
  • BlackBerry Q5
    1.682
  • LG Optimus Vu
    1.680
  • LG Optimus GJ
    1.666
  • HTC Desire V
    1.646
  • Sony Xperia Z Ultra
    1.578
  • Samsung Galaxy Core
    1.563
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    1.552
  • LG Optimus 3D
    1.542
  • Nokia Asha 302
    1.537
  • Sony Xperia M
    1.473
  • Nokia Lumia 610
    1.432
  • Gigabyte GSmart G1355
    1.361
  • HTC Desire C
    1.300
  • Nokia Asha 501
    1.270
  • LG Optimus L7
    1.269
  • LG Optimus L9
    1.227
  • Meizu MX
    1.221
  • Sony Xperia E dual
    1.203
  • Samsung Galaxy Pocket
    1.180
  • Sony Xperia tipo
    1.166
  • Samsung Galaxy mini 2
    1.114

Reader comments

  • Neldon

The Nokia 1520 is the best phone ever made. * Privacy is hard to find. * The Nokia 1520 is ‘app less’ * This is wonderful !

Why are you replying to me. I don't care if you want this outdated phone with a new battery.

  • Anonymous

I wish Nokia would reissue the Nokia Lumia 1520 with a 5000 mha battery. The same hardware and software for the Camera and run it on Android 20. With that same black bar style. Greatest phone I've ever had. Even with the Windows system and i...