Nokia's Lumia 1520 Windows Phablet: Some benefits worth the weight

Nokia's Lumia 1520 Windows Phablet: Some benefits worth the weight

Summary: Nokia's biggest Windows Phone yet, at six inches, offers some benefits for those not put off by a meatier form factor.


As someone who's been a pretty vocal critic of Nokia's heavy and bulky Windows Phones, I have to admit, I didn't have high hopes for the Lumia 1520 phablet.


I figured a six-inch Nokia phone would likely be a six-pound dead weight in my hand/purse. Nonetheless, the idea of a near-mini-tablet-sized portable Windows device still intrigued me. 

Nokia loaned me a Lumia 1520 Windows Phone late in the day on November 15. I've used the device over the past 48-plus hours. My verdict: Nokia's is finally figuring out how to make their handsets -- even BAPs (big-ass phones) -- easier to hold and use. That's welcome news for this user, who opted for an HTC 8X over any Lumia device because I found Nokia's hardware unwieldy.

The Lumia 1520 has a 1080p full HD display. It includes a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor and a 20 MP camera. It ships with the Windows Phone 8 operating system with Update 3 and Lumia's "Black" update all preinstalled. Nokia's full spec sheet for the 1520 is here.

Without a cover, the 1520 weighs .45 pounds (206 grams). A Nokia-loaned, protective case didn't add a whole lot of extra weight and made the device more grippable. This isn't a light phone, but, to me, it feels less like a brick than many of the previous Lumia phones I've had a chance to try (including the Lumia 928 on Verizon, which actually weighs less (.36 pounds/162 grams). The half-pound of weight is well distributed.

The extra screen real estate on the 1520 is great when it comes to viewing PowerPoints, reading Kindle books, watching video and browsing the Web. (I haven't used any of my phones in the past for reading books because I felt the smaller screen sizes made page flipping too much of a chore.) Not having to squint to read lengthy emails and/or tweets is a nice side benefit, too, of a 6-inch device with a nice screen.

The camera, as one would expect from Nokia, is really good. Nokia's Pro Camera app is preinstalled and a variety of lenses, including the Refocus one, are available for the device.

Keep  in mind I am a casual photographer who doesn't know or care about things like aperture settings and white balance. I just pointed and shot this picture in low-light conditions (at a sushi bar, infront of a tip jar) with the 1520.

WP_20131115_002 (1)

Another (from a beer tasting this weekend):

WP_20131117_001 (1)

Not bad for a camera that's not 41 MP. Not bad at all.... 

I know the word is that the Lumia 1520 isn't a phone expected to take the U.S. market by storm. It's also supposedly a device, due to its size, that is perceived to appeal more to potentially purse-toting women than men. I say: Man up, guys and get a murse if you don't wear shirts or jeans with a pocket that can accommodate a 6-inch phone.

I think this phone is worth a look -- especially if you are contemplating using it in place of a mini-tablet.

The 1520 goes on sale on Friday, November 22. It will be carried by AT&T for $199 on two-year contract (or $99.99 if you grab it as part of a limited-time special offer deal). It's also available for $449 on a one-year contract.

Topics: Nokia, Microsoft, Windows Phone


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Thanks Mary Jo Foley!!! For letting me know about the AT&T special!!!

    Thanks Mary Jo Foley!!! For letting me know about the AT&T special!!! I just ordered mine for $99.99!!! :)
  • No murse for me

    The only way I'm carrying a murse is if they nail it to my cold, dead body. That's why phablets don't work for me.
    • Another option.

      Why not carry a phablet in your computer bag, maybe somewhere that could be easily accessed?
      Michael Alan Goff
      • The thing I like about Phablets...

        It separates the men from the hipsters with their skinny jeans. The Verge hated the phone.... bwahahaha
        • Not really...

          They just applied their standard 1 point penalty for any device that dares to run on software developed by Microsoft.
          • 1 Point Penalty

            Sort of like the public at large. Have you seen Windows Phone market share lately? Not a pretty sight.
          • Maha888: Apparently, it's you that hasn't seen the WP market-share lately,

            since, it's growing, every day, and could overtake the iPhone share in the U.S. in a year or two, and it's already close to overtaking iPhones in all of Europe, while currently, it's number two in Italy and other countries.

            It pays to stay informed, otherwise, you risk making a fool of yourself. Oh, wait! You already did!
    • Agreed.

      A Phablet is a little too large for my liking, the trade off not worth it, to me at least.

      I just need a "slip in my pocket quick reference" device like a smartphone. i don't want to be bothered with managing another article of tech or clothing all day.
      • Worth it

        You don't have 60 year old eyes I guess.
      • Actually phablets are really useful for people who have poor eyesight

        this includes senior citizens like @hayneiii@... mentioned. I have noticed that with my in laws. Yes it is bigger and may not fit into the palms, but women carry hand bags anyway and I think good number of older men wear pants with bigger pockets.
        Ram U
      • My eye sight is fine with a smartphone

        Hence the "to me at least." clarification.

        Agreed for those that can't see well, but for me I get no benefit vs the added article I have to manage.

        10-15 years down the road? Maybe it will be worth it, just not today.
    • Phabets

      They fit in baggy pants pockets too.
    • Depends on what you call it.

      I would never carry a murse. If it was called a tablet bag and I could put a few extra things in it then I might carry it ;-)
      • LOL!

        A manbag?
      • Roman Brestplate

        You can get a special case with straps and make a Roman Breastplate out of it. Binford 9000 Roman Breastplate case $25. ough ough ough
      • I too would never carry a murse, manbag or whatever

        OTOH, I am ok to carry a small netbook bag that could be used to carry tablets, phablets, mini tablets or whatever items that I possess at that time. :)
        Ram U
      • Just put it in your purse

        And shut up, you voted for Elizabeth Warren, the fake Indian.
        I hate trolls also
  • A murse will be high fashion...

    Just as soon as moobs are considered sexy.
    • it will go perfectly with the manzeer

    • moobs? LOL.

      Ram U