Nokia Lumia 520 assessment: does Nokia want one other price range Home windows Telephone?

Nokia Lumia 520 review: does Nokia need another budget Windows Phone?

Oh, for a simple life. Typically it would be good to only learn a telephone’s spec sheet, examine costs and decide. In quite a lot of methods, the Nokia Lumia 520 seems to be like simply the kind of handset the place this should be potential: it has the identical dependable internals and joyful design language which have already confirmed their value within the Lumia 620, however it makes a few sacrifices for the sake of its £one hundred fifteen pay-as-you-go price ticket within the UK — which undercuts the upper mannequin by an excellent £30-£50 relying on the place you store. It is even cheaper within the US, the place a $one hundred fifty Lumia 521 variant (not the one reviewed right here) is scheduled for basic availability on T-Cellular beginning tomorrow.

These sacrifices appear simple sufficient, they usually embrace issues that many smartphone customers might barely discover, such because the absence of a entrance-dealing with digital camera, digital camera flash module and NFC. The issue is that the specs are by no means the complete story. Like all telephone, the Lumia 520 comes with a number of surprises. Learn on and we’ll attempt to root them out.%Gallery-186224%

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Nokia Lumia 520


  • Cheap
  • Helpful Nokia apps
  • Principally good elements and development


  • Battery life is brief for a low-finish telephone
  • Poor show
  • Feels redundant beside the Lumia 620


This telephone simply cannot maintain its personal towards the Lumia 620, and we do not assume the modest financial savings are value it.


The 520 continues Nokia’s shiny, daring strategy to telephones, and that is a superb factor. It is obtainable in cyan, purple, black, yellow and white, so there’s some selection in how loud you need to make it.

Then once more, no matter which colour choice you decide, this handset is not fairly as vibrant or daring because the Lumia 620 — that stunningly good handset that may inevitably set the benchmark all through this evaluation. The matte, plastic again cowl lacks the shiny, rubberized character of the upper mannequin and in addition feels a tad creakier. In contrast to the 620’s cowl, it does not incorporate any headphone jack circuitry — it is only a skinny piece of plastic.

There are not any issues with seams or with the best way the duvet matches on, sustaining Nokia’s typical high quality. The speaker, earpiece, aerial and all mobile elements appear to work high quality. Some individuals might even favor the 520’s extra sedate look, together with its barely bigger LCD show, which leads to the telephone being a number of millimeters longer and wider than the 620, in addition to having different ramifications that we’ll come to in a bit.

Nokia Lumia 520 review: does Nokia need another budget Windows Phone?

General, Nokia’s manufacturing is sweet, nevertheless it is not good. For the primary few days of use, the 520’s digital camera button stored jamming, requiring the again cowl to be eliminated with a view to unstick it. This drawback appears to have died down, however it might even be that we’re being gentler with the shutter launch — which actually we should not should be.

Aside from that, the straightforward exterior is punctuated by a three.5mm headphone port on the highest left, micro-USB cost and sync port on the underside, quantity rocker and energy/standby button on the best, speaker and digital camera lens on the again. Lastly, we have now the earpiece and capacitive Home windows Telephone navigation buttons on the entrance face — none of which gave us any issues.

Nokia Lumia 520 Dimensions 119.9 x sixty four x 9.9mm (four.seventy two x 2.fifty two x zero.39 inches) Weight 124 g (four.37 ounces) Display measurement inches Display decision 800 x 480 (235 ppi) Display sort IPS LCD, Delicate Contact Battery 1,430mAh Li-Polymer (detachable) Inner storage 8GB Exterior storage microSD (as much as 64GB) Rear digital camera 5MP, f/2.four, no flash Entrance-dealing with cam None Video seize 720p NFC No Radios GSM (850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900) WCDMA (900 / 2100) Max DL velocity: 21.1 Mbps HSPA+ Bluetooth with A2DP SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 CPU 1GHz twin-core GPU Adreno 305 RAM 512MB WiFi Twin-band, 802.11b/g/n Wi-fi Charging No Working system Home windows Telephone eight


Nokia Lumia 520 review: does Nokia need another budget Windows Phone?

The Lumia 620 taught us that a excessive-high quality show needn’t value the earth. Alas, the Lumia 520 teaches us that a prime-shelf show should value one thing, as a result of Nokia hasn’t been capable of carry it over into this backside-finish handset.

This LCD is washed-out, erratically lit (particularly within the decrease corners) and suffers from comparatively poor (although not horrific) viewing angles. It is not a patch on any of the upper fashions, and that is one thing the Lumia’s spec sheet by itself does not warn us about, except for the absence of the phrase “ClearBlack,” signifying that the producer acknowledges this can be a lesser panel.

The 520 can also be technically worse off when it comes to pixel density, because of the reality it has a four-inch, fairly than three.eight-inch, show whereas preserving the usual 800 x 480 decision. In actuality although, that type of distinction is imperceptible at screens of this measurement.

Whatever the show’s technical elements, we reckon that the inherently daring and contrasty aesthetic of the Home windows Telephone surroundings makes it much less of a problem. Within the midst of every day use, you are simply not going to note that shiny patch within the decrease-left nook, or these blacks that are not actually black — no less than till somebody with a 620 comes and sits down subsequent to you.

Digital camera

Nokia Lumia 520 review: does Nokia need another budget Windows Phone?

Judging by the standard of its footage, the Lumia 520’s digital camera module is principally the identical because the 620’s. Meaning it takes satisfactory stills for sharing and taking a look at on small shows. Nevertheless, there are some things holding the 520’s images expertise again. There isn’t any focus help mild, for a begin, which leads to unpredictable focus in low-mild photographs. Mixed with the sluggish shutter velocity (because of the absence of a flash) and the slight shake ensuing from the typically-sticky digital camera button, this sometimes leads to overly blurred pictures, because the pattern under will attest.

Nokia Lumia 520 review: does Nokia need another budget Windows Phone?

General, daytime photographs have been okay, however this author’s stills simply aren’t as crisp as these Mat Smith took with the 620 in low-mild conditions — and there needs to be a purpose for that different than simply my basic clumsiness.%Gallery-186249%

However, it isn’t like digital camera is not enjoyable. Nokia is placing actual effort into its software program, and despite the fact that there aren’t as many settings as we might like, there are many quirky “lenses” to mess around with. These embrace Cinemagraph (take a look at the video evaluate for an instance), Panorama and a Greatest Shot mode — all of which work, however every endure from basic sluggishness, each when it comes to loading up a lens and saving its outcomes. This beautiful a lot kills spontaneity and means you must be actually deliberate in how you employ them.

Lastly on this part, the Lumia 520 deserves a nod for its principally environment friendly 720p video output. Simply as with the 620, there is no picture stabilization to talk of and the ten Mbps (1.three MB/s) knowledge price (an entire 1 MB/s lower than some excessive-finish telephone cameras) makes colour and dynamic vary compression a tad extreme, in addition to introducing some choppiness when there’s rather a lot happening within the scene. Nonetheless, the focusing, auto-publicity and microphone work all work high quality, leading to usable footage that may in all probability seize what you need it to, as long as you do not over-do it with motion or excessive ranges of element.

Efficiency and battery life

Nokia Lumia 520 review: does Nokia need another budget Windows Phone?

The Lumia 520 handles Home windows Telephone eight simply high-quality, with its prime-notch mobile elements providing respectable HSPA+ speeds (nominally as much as 21 Mbps down), on a par with different smartphones we have examined on Vodafone’s community in London. In some locations it received an additional sign bar over fancier telephones, so reception is certainly on the robust aspect.

When it comes to computing efficiency, the Lumia 520 behaves identically to the 620 and 720 in each single respect apart from one — it is critically missing in stamina, notably for a low-efficiency handset.

By some means, although the 520’s detachable battery has a better capability than the 620’s (1,430 vs. 1,350mAh), the 520 is left worse off. That is in all probability on account of much less-environment friendly elements — with the most probably offender in all probability being a budget show. In any case, the 520 solely lasted two-thirds so long as the 620 within the WPBench rundown check, and it struggled to outlive 12 hours of average to heavy use. Retaining brightness set to excessive makes issues worse, despite the fact that the reflective display will typically make you need to do this. If we used the telephone primarily for calls through the morning, then did one thing extra taxing within the afternoon — corresponding to half-hour of enjoying round with Cinemagraph — the telephone would die by 10 PM.

Though some excessive-spec Home windows Telephones have comparable run-down scores, they weren’t fairly this dangerous when it comes to actual-world battery life — and it is also simpler to be forgiving whenever you’re getting premium options out of quicker CPUs. It is compared to the opposite finances choices that the Lumia 520 actually suffers.

Lumia 920 Lumia 820 Lumia 720 Lumia 620 Lumia 520 HTC 8S HTC 8X Samsung ATIV S WPBench 227 224 179 one hundred eighty 178 one hundred eighty 221 241 Battery rundown 2:36 2:07 four:36 three:forty one 2:forty one three:30 2:30 2:38 SunSpider (ms, decrease numbers are higher) 914 909 1,440 1,443 1,four hundred 1,415 914 890 AnTuTu (*GFX check off) 10,957* eleven,506 7,348 7,479 7,350 7,333 eleven,775 12,064

Software program

Nokia Lumia 520 review: does Nokia need another budget Windows Phone?

At this level, we actually should distinguish between the 2 varieties of consumers who may be on this telephone. If we have been coming to the 520 as a smartphone newbie, or as somebody who had a quick run with a finances Android, however could not get together with it, then this Nokia telephone can be every thing we’d like. It offers entry to the Home windows Retailer, which, today, has sufficient first-celebration apps (or good third-celebration ones) to cowl most mainstream wants and eventualities. There’s OneNote, Evernote, Twitter, Fb, Flickr, Spotify, Kindle, WhatsApp, Skype — which is usable for video chat if the 2 events take turns to gawp at one another — and so forth advert infinitum. Nicely, not fairly infinitum, however we’ll get to that in a second.

We additionally get entry to Nokia’s suite of providers and Lumia exclusives. These apps principally have counterparts in different ecosystems, however as a cohesive bunch they’ve actual worth. That is notably the case with Nokia’s so-referred to as Right here apps for location providers and navigation. CityScape continues to be a little bit of novelty, however Maps and Drive are actual heavyweights. Actually, Drive is nearly ok to be alternative to the TomTom app on different platforms, which prices £forty ($50) — until you depend on visitors updates and re-routing or velocity digital camera alerts, which Drive does not but supply within the UK (despite the fact that Right here Maps does present visitors congestion).

It says quite a bit concerning the power of Nokia’s Lumia smartphones that they’re typically their very own worst enemy.

Now, let us take a look at the Lumia 520’s software program from a unique perspective — that of an skilled smartphone consumer coming from an alternate ecosystem, like Android. From this viewpoint, we now have to provide the identical previous boring warning we all the time do with Home windows Telephone handsets: do not anticipate to take part in every little thing, or have all of the apps you are used to.

This UK-based mostly writer makes use of Google+ for social stuff, Amazon Cloud Participant for music, Kobo and Google Books for studying, Zinio for magazines, Springpad for notes and iPlayer for TV. None of these apps are but out there on Home windows Telephone within the UK — regardless that some are coming — and this constitutes a serious barrier to me utilizing Home windows Telephone as my main gadget in 2013. The general panorama is enhancing however do not anticipate issues to maneuver as quick as you need.

Keep in mind that the Lumia has solely 512MB of RAM, too, so a number of apps and video games obtainable within the Home windows Retailer could also be particularly denied to you. Not an enormous deal, nevertheless it’s that sense of exclusion once more — one thing that in all probability would not be a problem with a equally priced, equally specced Android system just like the Huawei G510. Then once more, Huawei’s Android pores and skin simply does not have any of the welcoming really feel or aptitude of Microsoft and Nokia’s mixed efforts, in order that’s the selection you make.


Nokia Lumia 520 review: does Nokia need another budget Windows Phone?

It says rather a lot concerning the power of Nokia’s Lumia smartphones that they’re typically their very own worst enemy. The Lumia 520 gives a full-fledged, fluid and pleasant smartphone expertise, however it sits within the shadow of the 620, identical to the 920 makes life more durable for the 720 and 820. It is sibling rivalry of the worst variety, as a result of for as soon as, it truly leads to us loving yet one more than the opposite — and, on this case, we’re nonetheless so hooked up to the 620’s design and additional options that we simply cannot advocate the 520 to a mainstream price range viewers. What’s extra, contemplating that the 620 has already been provided on offers within the UK for as low at £one hundred thirty ($200), we might recommend snapping up an identical discount as quickly as one comes round, relatively than plumping for the average financial savings provided by the 520.

If the Lumia 620 have been dominated out for some cause — maybe as a consequence of a strict finances or native availability — we might in all probability look extra kindly on the 520. In any case, it nonetheless incorporates all of the necessities of the fashionable Lumia providing, with a lot of character and a welcoming OS. However even on this state of affairs, we might come up towards the battery life difficulty — which is a spec that rival price range Home windows Telephones do a lot better on, to not point out Ashas and doubtless different future barebones choices that may value half of the 520’s worth. Superior smartphone customers could also be used to seeing purple battery symbols late within the day, however for any such telephone, which is sure to be picked up by people who find themselves making the leap from a function telephone, it isn’t fairly ok.

seventy six

Nokia Lumia 520

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