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Layman's take on technology | Doesn't need to have a super brain | Just do your bit

Layman’s Take on Nokia Lumia 520–Most Affordable Windows Phone?

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It took a little longer but there been too many requests to be ignored and here I am back with Layman’s Take on another Nokia Lumia. Its been some time since Nokia Lumia 520 been into the market enjoying the cheapest Windows Phone tag and it’s the time when I would be looking that how does it fare against its price. We have already talked about Windows Phone 8 in the last post on Nokia Lumia 820, so here I would be jumping to unboxing part straight away.

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Nokia Lumia 520 – The Unboxing

Having seen similar blue Lumia boxes, I was not expecting anything surprising or extra with Nokia Lumia 520 but a different charger than rest of the lineup was sure a point to notice.

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Let’s take a quick look over the contents of the box:

  • Nokia Lumia 520
  • Nokia AC-20N MicroUSB High Efficiency Charger
  • Battery BP-5J 1320 mAh
  • Nokia Charging and Data Cable CA-189D
  • Nokia Headset WH-108
  • Product user guide

Let’s take some close look over the box content via pictures

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The first yellow phone I ever would have reviewed.

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The new AC-20N Fast Charger that I was talking about. Other models been utilizing the data cable itself for the charger.

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WH-108 Stereo Headsets (no Ear Buds though) with no on-headset controls.

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So small cable? Huh …

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BL-5J 1430 mAh battery and Windows Phone 8 based battery improvements sure promises off a good battery life.


Nokia Lumia 520 – The Exteriors

When I took the device in hands for the first time, it reminded me of Nokia 510 due to its shape. Also I won’t hide the fact that Yellow wasn’t exactly my color.

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The shape and build kind of reminds me of Lumia 510 and Lumia 820 mix. Flat surface, curvy back and the uni-body looking build quality. The screen even though not a Gorilla Glass but provides excellent luminance with 600 NITS. TFT screen made of 24 bits RGB stripes (480×800, 233 ppi) is not CBD either but shares the same super sensitive characteristics with Lumia lineup and could be used even with the gloves on. I bet no other phone in this price point would be able to do it anytime soon.

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Quite large borders around the screen and familiar Windows Phone buttons at the bottom.

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The top of the device doesn’t contain a front facing camera but that doesn’t surprises me being the device placed at bottom of the Lumia Series.

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A 5MP Auto-Focus Camera on the back with no LED-Flash supplied.

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Unibody backcover hosts a Camera hole without LED Flash, speaker gill and Power\Volume and Camera buttons on the right side of the device. The buttons are all plastic and would be prone to scratches as I felt in short period with it but still they are manufactured in a way to retain the colors even in those cases.

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The bottom of the device hosts MicroUSB port. Due to the curves around the device, reviewers wont be able to do those standing poses of the device but same fits nicely in hands and not slippery at all due to the kind of material it is.

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The top of device houses 3.5mm Audio jack. No MicroSD or SIM slot as those are inside the body.

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Many might be writing off a 5MP camera just by looks when it comes without a LED flash, but the camera unit inside Nokia Lumia 520 worth taking a look for the price it comes in and the features it offers. It does Continuous Auto Focus 30 FPS videos without a sweat. When it comes to still photos then features are pretty basic considering it’s a f/2.4 sensor.

Check it out that how easily it handles Continuous Auto Focus.

No secondary camera in front means this wont be utilizing the remarkable distinction of Windows Phone platform that is Skype but being a low price segment handset, one can’t complain much. Lumia 620 is there if one ready to pay little bit higher.

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In the above picture, I compared Nokia Lumia 520 with LG Nexus 4. 4” size might be outdated nowadays, but point to note is Lumia 520 has a larger screen than Lumia 620 (3.8”).

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On opening the back cover (which is not that tough as was Lumia 820 but not easy either, perils of uni-body looking build), you find MicroSIM and MicroSD card slots inside.

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Also a bigger battery at 1430 mAh (than 1200 mAh in Lumia 800) should help in bigger battery life, which also get many benefits from Windows Phone 8 related improvements.

So, overall, we got a very decent phone when it comes to looks and durability. Next is inside specs.


Nokia Lumia 520 – The Interiors

I remember the days, when I longed for a bigger RAM in the worthy Nokia N82. But that’s the way Technology and pricings proceed, just 3 years back I bought a 12MP camera in 19k INR and now 16MP shooters are around in half the price with way better features.

A dual core 1 GHz processor device with 512 MB RAM and HSDPA Cat14 21 Mbps\HSUPA Cat6 5.76 Mbps speeds at a price of under 10k INR would have a dream not much years back, but yes Nokia Lumia 520 is just that.

Its just not about the pricing and high specs, but its about how this mid range phone covers most of the demands from the target market. Let’s visit the specs:

- Dimensions 119.9 x 64 x 9.9mm (slimmer than 12.1mm of Lumia 800), 75.7cc, 124g (20g +Lumia 800)
- 4” TFT screen with a
WVGA resolution of 800×480 pixels, RGB Stripe Display (No PenTile Matrix)
- Super Sensitive Touch aided by increased SNR in Capacitive Touch, allows usages with hand gloves
- 1 GHz Dual Core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 MSM8227,
Adreno 305 GPU (Same as Lumia 620/720)
- 512 MB LPDDR2, 8 GB Mass Memory (Plus 7GB SkyDrive), MIcroSD Card support up to 64 GB
- HSDPA Cat14 21 Mbps, HSUPA Cat6 5.76 Mbps (Same as Lumia 620/720)
- Quad band connectivity rather than Pentaband connectivity. No LTE obviously
- 3D Accelerometer, Ambient Light Sensor,Proximity Sensor (No Compass or Gyroscope)
- 5.0 Megapixels AF camera with an aperture  f/2.4. No LED Flash
- 1280 x 720 pixels video recording resolution with 30fps
- No Second camera
- Windows Phone 8 likely to get upgraded to 8.1 which will bring FM Radio
- 2 High Dynamic Range Microphones, one serving purpose of uplink noise cancellation
- Micro SIM Support only, No NFC Support, No Wireless Charging
- Bluetooth 3.0 with a capability transferring Data though still no Dial Up Networking support
- BL-5J 3.7V 1430 mAh removable battery

Quite a lighter device when we compare the dimensions and weight with those likes of Nokia Lumia 800. Lately we been seeing multiple devices from Nokia having removable batteries and yet achieving under 10mm thickness. A resolution of WVGA might be awkward to talk about for high end device, it fairs pretty well when the price is under 10k.

Also it would be surprising know for many that all Lumia line up with Windows Phone 8 comes with Super Sensitive Touch which is available with high end devices only when it comes with other manufacturers.

Good to see that Nokia still setting standards same way as it did with Internet on mobile devices for the first time or with Internal Antenna for first time, Camera as integral part of Mobiles for the first, Free Lifetime voice navigation on Mobiles for the first time, Over the air updates on mobiles for the first time, Noise-free stereo recordings for the first time and now the next level of touch screen sensitive enough to accommodate all weather conditions. Expect it to be mainstream very soon.

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Yes! it hurts to see FM Radio still missing from the list considering the fact that at least Indian Users in Metros are too much used of the same and despite of its amazing features, Nokia Music doesn’t really catches up with masses right now due to Data costs from providers in this developing nation. But with upcoming Windows Phone 8.1 update, which should be here by Q3, 2013, this issue should be resolved as well.


In my last review of Nokia Lumia 820, I did talked about features offered by Windows Phone 8, so not much left to talk about that again. So, I will utilize the space in talking about pros and cons of the device.

First let’s see what Nokia Lumia 520 offers which distinguishes it from other and makes it a keeper for the particular price bracket we are talking about:

10 features which definitely make Nokia Lumia 520 stands ahead of its competition

1. Premium specs and build at least cost: Not sure if there is any other phone in market which offers you unibody looking build at this price point along with 4” large screen that is as sensitive as Nokia Lumia 520 that one can use it even when gloves on. Soft Matte finish only adds up in its premium feel.

2. Trendy Colors: I wont tick it as some big reason for purchase as I been Black/White kind of person when it comes to phones but I definitely know a number of persons who feel pissed off that why don’t Samsung and Apple likes make phones colorful like Nokia Lumia range. If you are not thinking in terms of priorities for the user base sticking to sub 10k range, then you are not judging this market right. Did I tell you that you can change the back covers too after buying some spare shells?

3. Nokia known for its connectivity: Not very long back, even having a 3G phone near 10k was considered to be tough (I remember when I bought Nokia N70). Later on things changed, but one thing didn’t change: The way people in India trust on Nokia Signal qualities and Nokia putting best efforts in Connectivity department, which explains HSDPA Cat14 21 Mbps, HSUPA Cat6 5.76 Mbps connectivity in the phone placed at price point of sub 10k.

4. Here Drive: If for nothing else, then any car driver like me would buy Nokia Lumia 520 in a jiffy. Trust me, I have tried Google Maps and navigation much more than most of you people might have done and I did learned hard way that Google Maps still have to do a lot catching up when it comes to real time voice navigation with added bonus features like Offline Data and least battery consumption. Nokia maps still beats rest all bare handed and Nokia Lumia 520 is no exception.

5. Nokia Camera Extras and Cinemagraph: May be serious types user don’t care much about the fancy colors of phone or software gimmicks like Nokia Camera Extras\ Cinemagraph, but you have no idea that how much crazy it makes to average users when they have something really cool to show off features which even high end phones don’t have. Trust me, sub 10k is a bracket where almost every gimmick pays off well and manages to get its loyal following.

6. Data saving built in: Fury of social apps have made people attracted towards them so that people don’t think them outdated but at the same time checking out number of apps raises the data consumption which also a prime source of worry for people buying sub 10k phones. It does help when you know that all Social updates find you at one place (people hub) without taking much of the data and then even browser has built in Data Compressions to save off your data. Makes it perfect for anyone who just wanna enter into Smartphone game and still worried about data prices that comes with it. Did I tell you that it even comes with some attractive offers in the same reference?

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7. The perfect Email experience: If there is something apart of Here Maps which I miss on Android\iOS both the platforms, then it would be Windows Phone Emails. Simple, fluid and yet so efficient. Getting something like that on a low\mid end phone with so many other features should be a bonus for anyone.

8. The unique people centric Swipe oriented UI which never lags: The very thing with low\ mid end phones is, they always manage to embarrass you when you want to show off something. The very place where Windows Phone can score big time. The lagless, swipe oriented UI always delivers what one might be asking for. Not that one can’t pull it down at occasions with heavy load but I never seen an instance when I would have been stuck for seconds after firing something, which been a usual case with Galaxy Ace likes and sometimes even with Galaxy Grand likes.

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Apart from that Windows Phone have really earned some genuine praises for its unique set of UI which is so unified and simple to handle that makes transition to touch phones really easy for anyone either be tech savvy or n00b. Only issue with UI was monotonousness across apps, which some didn’t like with Windows Phone 7.5, but with Windows Phone 8, things have changed and we have apps like Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare breaking the boundaries of Metro UI. Serves right for old complaints, no?

9. Nokia Music & Mix Radio: It sometimes saddens me that how some big steps that Nokia been taking recently get buried under the thunderstorm named Android. Apart from a number of above distinguished features, Nokia Music been a similar feature. Downloading latest Music legally for free just after few days of its release been never a reality for India before Nokia Music happened. It doesn’t only provides you latest tracks but saves on data side as well. Mix Radio etc also adds up to make it a convenient entertainment powerhouse.

10. Cloud Integration built in: It wasn’t a big point earlier on mobile when cloud services first came in but since Windows 8 also sneaking into desktop market, things get changed and put Windows Phone at a distinct advantage. Sky Drive integration in your phone not only helps you to restore all the messages across devices but the pictures and other files too. This all happens without you knowing it as its always at your disposal in Gallery or in Office App

Disadvantages with Nokia Lumia 520

This is not the case that Nokia Lumia 520 doesn’t come with disadvantages but that’s part-n-parcel with any low/mid range phone. For the same reasons, I won’t judge Nokia Lumia 520 in harsh manner considering the price point but I sure can point out a few things which might irk users.

1. Reflective screen & washed out colors: Though its nothing like a surprise, but yes Reflective screen and washed out colors sour the taste a bit when you take out the phone in direct sunlight. But price has to take toll from somewhere.

2. Heat up issues after constant 3G usages: Its not been a big deal that I should make a heading, but as it was hard to come up with too many issues, I thought to add it. Yes! it does heat after constant 3G usages for an hour but its not like some egg boiling or can’t take in hand like hot.

3. Lack of front camera and LED Flash in main camera: Though its not surprising that Nokia Lumia 520 doesn’t offer a front camera because most of phones in similar price range don’t do that but considering Skype integration deep within the ecosystem lately, I wished Nokia could have pulled it off as well. Same about LED Flash.


So this was all I wanted to tell you all about Nokia Lumia 520. Did I missed anything? Do you wanted to know anything else? You can always tell me via comments or at twitter @nkumar_. I would be waiting.

At the end, check it out my 5 mins and 20 seconds with Nokia Lumia 520

Written by Nitish Kumar

May 29, 2013 at 7:21 am

4 Responses

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  1. hat’s off bro!
    Awesome, neat and simple way of review which clears every aspect of the phone and new windows os for like me.

    Bipin Bihari @BipinBihari_

    June 4, 2013 at 10:36 am

  2. Nice review! It could have been better if net speed, call quality, speaker db levels are also mentioned.

    Few things surprising with Nokia – while it gives FM with 510, it ommited in 520! same way, it is not like asking for moon when LED flash in 520/510 is missing. Also, I must say dual sim would have been an added thing in Indian context.

    But then, Nokia is Nokia! I trust brands.

    AntonyM

    June 6, 2013 at 1:39 pm

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  4. You’ve written two battery mah power of same nokia Lumia 520 in your post.
    btw nice post.

    Bipin Bihari @BipinBihari_

    November 15, 2013 at 11:17 am


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