Nokia Lumia 1520 hands-on: Does size matter for this six-inch phablet?

Nokia Lumia 1520 hands-on: Does size matter for this six-inch phablet?

Summary: The Lumia 1520 is Nokia's biggest smartphone to date, but is it its best?

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  • Nokia announced the Lumia Black update in tandem with the launch of the Nokia 1520, and the phablet makes use of the update's introduction of three columns of tiles, so you can cram even more apps onto that big screen.

    Of course, as the 1520 runs Windows Phone 8, you'll have a hard time finding a huge amoung of apps you want to install. Take banking for example — of the UK's biggest banks, only RBS and its subsidiary Natwest have Windows Phone apps; of its main newspapers, only The Guardian is present in the store. However, the recent arrival of Instagram on Windows Phone means you'll be able to take full advantage of the 1520's camera.

    Image: Jo Best/ZDNet

  • The Lumia 1520 comes in Nokia's usual colour palette — yellow, red, and black. As you might expect, the yellow version we tried seemed to mark easily, while the black version looked sleeker and cleaner.

    The 1520 has a slight raised bump on the back where the camera lens is, but the device is still pleasant to hold, despite its size.

    And, while the 1520 may come with a hefty 3,400 mAh battery, don't expect that to translate to longer life for your device — using all the higher-end features will make short work of your charge.

    Image: Jo Best/ZDNet

  • Should you consider the 1520 for your next phone? It depends on whether you're a phablet fan or a tablet phobe.

    ZDNet's Matthew Miller for example found the device "just too big for anyone to comfortably handle". Which it can be, if you're trying to use it one handed as you would a normal phone. But the phablet is designed to be used like a tablet, with both hands. For making long phone calls, holding a six-inch handset can feel a bit onerous, but for checking emails, browsing the web, gaming, and so on, the bigger screen outweighs any disadvantages from two-handed operation.

    Its $700 price tag is certainly offputting but carrier deals mean you're unlikely to pay such a sum upfront — you'll often find it at the same upfront cost on a high-end mobile tariff as Apple and Samsung flagship devices. If you're happy with a six-inch screen, the 1520 ranks among the best of them.

    Image: Jo Best/ZDNet

Topics: Smartphones, Hardware, Nokia

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28 comments
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  • My 2 cents

    Nokia makes great hardware - undisputed. People buy phablets because they want productivity. Maybe take notes, edit a spreadsheet, surf the web with full feature sites. The Lumia 1520 is excellent for that. If you have a small phone, like iPhone 5, then small mobile apps are more important than productivity. For example; On the Lumia 1520 just go to the full featured Banking Website using IE. On an iPhone, browser is too small so use the mobile app instead.
    Sean Foley
    • I agree

      App availability on Windows Phone 8 is much improved over the last year, as Windows Phone 8 has cemented its position as the number 3 phone OS. You make a brilliant observation regarding using IE to visit web sites to get the full experience versus an app which may not offer the same.

      My eyes are not getting any younger. The Lumia 1520 (or its replacement) will certainly be my next phone, as soon as my contract with AT&T runs out on my Lumia 920 (also a great phone)...
      tonymus
    • I like Lumia phones but...

      With this size phone, I think the Samsung Note might be the better phone to get with its pen integration and suite of software. It also has multiple windows support, which is ironic since that is a killer feature on the Windows Metro side.
      Rann Xeroxx
  • Nokia Lumia 1520 hands-on: Does size matter for this six-inch phablet?

    Size doesn't matter!!!
    Loverock.Davidson
    • Only those...

      with little ones say that but the rest of us know better.
      snowboarder74
    • Yeah

      Your wife said that!! :-)
      jonnybr
      • But she wasn't thinking that.

        Just wishing she had a different husband.
        DontUseMicrosoftAtAll
  • Feel it want it...

    I was thinking, should I buy the 1020 or the 1520. Both where at the Phonestore. The 1020 looked small, the screen of the 1520 super. Played with it and was thinking yes the 1520 is big, but in this case Big is to beautiful not to buy, so yes the 1520 is a buy for me :-)

    Dont forget the Tiles will be optimized. In the beginning not much was displayed on those tiles. The developers had to find out how and what to display, but now my Calendar thats synced with the Microsoft calendar displays all my meetings in a very nice way and so will much more Apps gonna display usefull information on those tiles so a big screen will come handy.

    I have big fingers and for WhatsApp a big keyboard comes handy. Will it fit in my pocket? Most times I wear a coat, so I will be fine :-)
    Herman Van Der Blom
  • using it now

    Love this phone. Screen is big enough that I can actually use the web browser like I'm doing now. For an older guy (eyes going) with big hands, this is the perfect phone.
    RonCri
  • camera comparision

    "While its camera isn't quite up to the pro quality of the 41-megapixel Nokia Lumia 1020, the 1520's imaging capabilities are still pretty impressive."

    Not every camera in Nokia phones needs to be compared with 41MP camera, makes more sense to compare with rival 6 inch phablets.
    Mac_Win
  • Great business potential

    This device, along with 8" Windows tablets, should be great in vertical markets, and throughout the enterprise. Not only should they be popular with doctors and nurses on the go, I can see them being used by law enforcement, delivery guys, etc., as communication / data processing devices.

    I think there is a huge potential for 8" Windows tablets in stores, warehouses, etc. outfitted with scanners and other accessories, to be used to process inventory, do communication, etc. I can also see most workers using tablets to take notes, consume / create / process documents, do communication, etc. I think there is a huge potential for these devices in business.
    P. Douglas
    • 8" phablet

      Why not? I rarely hold the phone to my ear since the switch to touch screen. It's either headset ear buds or Bluetooth throughout the car or jamba.
      dalspartan
      • You think that now,

        wait until you try it out to make your final judgement.

        I say this from experience.
        louishelps
  • Page six - "far less painless"?

    Painless is not something you can have more or less of. It's either painless, or pain was involved.

    I'm guessing you meant "far less painful". ;)
    james.faction
    • Please stop making sense.

      You might confuse some people here.
      Transporter25
    • its right

      Painless in Australia is a very common word. Painless is to not be Burdened with pain.
      JohnnyJammer
      • Same here.

        He was commenting on the usage of the word by the OP.
        DontUseMicrosoftAtAll
  • Too big...

    ...for my pocket. I'm satisfied with the size of my Lumi 920.
    a hobbit
    • I agree.

      Why carry around something to put this in since it won't fit in a pocket?

      May as well get a 7 or 8" tablet at that point.
      William.Farrel
      • depends on the pocket.

        I felt the same way with 7" Android tablets. I started with Palm devices in my shirt pocket. Moved to a Galaxy Player 4. wanted to upgrade to a Galaxy Tab 2 7". What to do? Cargo Pants!. Tablet in one cargo pocket, charger in the other. Solved the problem of a separate carry bag.
        pfyearwood