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Nokia Lumia 520 review

Nokia's latest affordable Windows Phone lures us with its £150 price tag
Mon Apr 22 2013, 14:53

Product Nokia Lumia 520
Website http://www.nokia.com/global/products/phone/lumia520/
Specifications 4in 480x800 LCD touchscreen, dual-core 1GHz processor, 5MP rear-facing camera, 3G and 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi connectivity, 512MB RAM, 8GB internal storage with microSD card expansion up to 64GB, 3.5mm headphone jack, microUSB port, 1430mAh battery, Windows Phone 8 mobile operating system, 120x64x9.9mm, 124g
Price £150 SIM-free


FINNISH PHONE MAKER Nokia's Lumia 520 smartphone is essentially a downsized cut-price version of the Nokia Lumia 720, which struggled to impress us given its modest specifications and £300 price tag.

However, at just £150, we had higher hopes for the Lumia 520, and rightly so. While Nokia might have cut a few corners to keep the price of its latest smartphone cheap, it could be a viable option for those looking for a handset on a budget.

Design
The Nokia Lumia 520 is evidentally a member of Nokia's vivid Lumia range, although we managed to get our hands on a subtle white model. For those after a more head turning mobile, it's also available in red and yellow.

Nokia Lumia 520 in White

The design of the Lumia 520 is arguably what the Nokia Lumia 920 should have been. Unlike Nokia's flagship Windows Phone 8 handset, the Nokia Lumia 520 fits neatly in the hand at just 119.9x64x9.9mm, and its matte polycarbonate casing offers much more grip.

Another good thing about this matte polycarbonate casing is its ability to withstand drops and scratches. We had a few run ins with the Nokia Lumia 520, namely us accidentally dropping it, and every time the phone came out unscathed.

Our only real gripe with the design of the Lumia 520 is its ability to pick up dirt. This might be because we got our hands on the white model, clearly the most susceptible to picking up grime.

Screen
For a phone that costs £150, a 4in 480x800 IPS LCD touchscreen display doesn't sound too bad on paper. However, much like the screen on the Lumia 720, it failed to impress us.

Nokia Lumia 520 screen

While the screen size is ideal for one-handed use, we found the 4in display lacking in quality despite its WVGA resolution. Microsoft's Live Tiles look fuzzy around the edges on the Lumia 520, and we often found text - particularly black on a white background - unpleasant to read. Given that the Lumia 520 features a higher pixel density than the Lumia 720, this fuzziness and lack of clarity is odd, but it might be due to the lack of Clearblack technology in the budget handset.

Our only solution was to crank the phone's brightness to full at all times, which makes text and images look a lot more legible - although it's not too kind to our poor eyesight.

We also think it's worth pointing out that the Nokia Lumia 620, which features a 3.8in 480x800 Clearblack screen, offers much more impressive image quality for an almost identical price.

Next: Performance, Operating system.

 

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