Nokia Lumia 520 – A Pocket-Friendly Premium Device

The Nokia Lumia 520 has been quite a success, at least here in India. It combines Nokia’s hardware design prowess and the beautiful Metro interface of Windows Phone, and offers some very good things like Nokia’s Here Maps, a pretty good 5 MP camera, a 4″ display all at a very attractive price of <10,000 INR, that’s under $200.

Nokia Lumia 520

Here’s our review. It’s been broken into 3 parts – Design, Hardware and Experience, with one short sub-point talking briefly about the camera. It’s not our usual review scheme, but you should like it nonetheless – it’s straightforward and not a wall of text. Don’t skim through!

Nokia Lumia 520 box

Design:

The one thing that Windows Phone, especially Lumia range, is exceptionally good at is the design. Minimalism is the key..

Nokia Lumia 520

..and the very first thing to be noted, or rather noticeable, is the design of this phone. Looks smart, fits nicely in hands for a good and firm grip, no awkward curves. Unlike the other phones in Windows Phone family, this one doesn’t have a screen that would give it a unibody-feel but for this level, it’s perfect. Even the back cover snaps onto it nicely, reassuring the solid build of Nokia.

Nokia Lumia 520

The device we got is a yellow Lumia and the yellow back of this phone adds a nice contrast with the black front of the phone. A very well placed camera and charging port and like other Lumias, all the hardware buttons placed on the right of the phone: Volume rocker, Lock/Unlock/Power and Camera buttons respectively. Even the speaker has been seamlessly dragged onto the top-edge for a neat look. In my opinion, even the audio jack could have been pushed onto the center for balance but the present position works as well.

So while holding this phone in public, it does get some heads turning. And at this price range, it turns more heads than any other device might.

Hardware:

The part everyone skips onto. This device offers a classic mid-range specification.

  • Windows Phone 8
  • 4.0″ LCD display, super sensitive, WVGA resolution (800×480)
  • 1 GHz dual core Snapdragon S4 processor  (MSM8227 and Adreno 305)
  • 5 MP main camera, 720p aka HD recording at 30 FPS
  • 512 MB RAM, 8 GB internal memory, expandable with a microSD card up to 64 GB
  • Bluetooth, Wi-Fi b/g/n
  • 1430 mAh battery

The dimensions of the phone are 119.9 x 64 x 9.9mm and it weighs approximately 124g. At this price range it offers a powerful and durable Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Processor at 1 Ghz with a not-so-happy RAM of 512MB. Also, you get  8 GB of internal storage along with a Micro SD card slot which is expandable up to 64 GB where you can store all your media.

Nokia Lumia 520

On the camera front, there’s some cost-cutting visible – no front-facing camera and 5 MP shooter on the back with no flash included might make the owner sad once in a while. But it’s okay looking at the overall package.

Nokia Lumia 520

The Lumia 520 comes with a 4″ IPS LCD screen with a pixel density of 233 PPI and a screen resolution of 800 x 480 pixels. So, at least the screen won’t disappoint you even though the blacks aren’t at their ‘blackest’, seeing it’s an LCD panel. One good feature here is Super Sensitivity – use the phone with your hand gloves on. Also good to use with gloves on. But at one point it starts acting way too sensitive and you might actually be able to scroll by just hovering the object over the screen. Nah, I’m kidding. Disabling it could help in saving some battery juice, in case you don’t need this feature.

Camera Samples:

Nokia Lumia 520 camera sample

The Lumia 520 doesn’t come with a really good camera – it’s something that should get you by in normal situations, and let’s be fair, it’s pretty good for the price. At this price range, everything boils down to this one bit – price.

Have a looksee at the samples below. In my opinion, it fares pretty okay.

Experience:

As I’ve mentioned before, this phone has a perfect grip in hands, you can see the pictures for a better proof. Perfectly easy to use. Here’s another video I had made before. That should give you a good idea of the user experience.

Nokia Lumia 520

Apart from the fact that user experience gets similar on all Windows Phones, it’s a nice and smooth experience for the asking price of 10,000 INR.

Final Verdict:

At 10,000 INR, this phone has a lot to offer. Windows Phone not being a power-hungry operating system, this phone can do a lot that other smartphones do 4 times its price range. If regular photography or gaming isn’t your thing, all you need is quick emails, calls, etc. this is a perfect phone for you. Its a perfect work phone which can also double up to be fun in parties. I would definitely recommend this one to my parents, or yours.