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MWC: Nokia Lumia 520 hands-on review

We take a look at the Finnish phone firm's cheapest Windows Phone 8 handset
Tue Feb 26 2013, 15:05

BARCELONA: FINNISH PHONE FIRM Nokia's Lumia 520 is the cheapest Windows Phone 8 handset yet, Nokia boasted at MWC on Monday as it unveiled the successor to the Lumia 620.

Following Nokia's announcement we dashed to get our hands on the Lumia 520, which feels much more expensive than its €180 price tag suggests.

In terms of design, the Nokia Lumia 520 feels more luxurious in the hand than the Lumia 620 handset, which is quite a feat given that it's expected to reach the UK market with a cheaper SIM-free price tag. That's thanks to the handset's hardened plastic back and angular shape, which make it feel more high-end than the curved, slightly cheap-feeling Lumia 620.

The Nokia Lumia 520 features interchangeable back covers

Like its similarly specified sibling the Nokia Lumia 520 has an interchangeable backplate, and while we got our hands on the white model, this could be switched for a pink, white, black or yellow cover. This is part of Nokia's plan to attract buyers who are after a fashionable looking handset, and while this plan might work, we're a bit disappointed that the case doesn't support wireless charging.

Within the Lumia 520's colourful casing is a 4in WVGA IPS screen. The screen was bright and vibrant during our time with the phone and also had great viewing angles, a feature that's often missing from affordable smartphones.

The Nokia Lumia 520 runs Windows Phone 8

Nokia also boasts that this screen is 'super sensitive' which means you can operate it while using gloves. However, given the weather here in Barcelona, we didn't have any gloves on hand to test this feature.

A dual-core 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor provides the power behind the Nokia Lumia 520, and the device proved smooth and nippy with no noticeable lag.

This processor comes paired with Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 operating system, which offers all of the features you'd expect to find on a WP8 device. However, unlike Nokia's rival phone makers, the Finnish phone maker has added some of its own features to the Lumia 520, including its nifty GIF-making Cinemagraph app and its Here mapping service. These are definite marks in favour of the Lumia 520 and certainly set it apart from competing devices.

Another of the handset's standout features is its 5MP rear-facing camera. While this doesn't sound too impressive on paper, it manages to outdo the cameras found on its similarly priced rivals thanks to Nokia's focus on its camera technology.

The Nokia Lumia 520 features a 5MP rear-facing camera

We had a play with the camera and it managed to deliver crisp, natural looking images, but we'll be sure to test it fully in our full review.

While we didn't have any gripes with the Nokia Lumia 520, we can't help but think it is too similar to the firm's previous devices - in particular the Lumia 620. Nokia's obvious plan to saturate the mobile market with different smartphones at various price points might work in the company's favour, but we're not 100 percent convinced yet.

Check back soon for our full Nokia Lumia 520 review. µ

 

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