ABU DHABI: TUESDAY was a huge day for Nokia. As well as unveiling its debut 'phablet', the Nokia Lumia 1520, the firm announced its entry into the tablet market with the Lumia 2520, which sees the firm challenging Apple's iPad lineup and Microsoft's Surface devices.
It's a brave move from a firm that has been famously struggling to find its footing in the crowded smartphone market, but what remains to be seen is whether it will pay off.
The Lumia 2520 tablet echoes the design of Nokia's Lumia smartphones, which in a market full of lookalike tablets and endless black rectangles could be the device's main selling point. The tablet will be available in four different colours at launch - black, blue, red and yellow - which, while they might not be to everybody's taste, will certainly stand out on shop shelves.
Unfortunately, the Lumia 2520 borrows the Lumia 920's glossy rear, rather than the matte polycarbonate backing found on the Lumia 1020 smartphone. This means the tablet, especially in Abu Dhabi's baking heat, can be difficult to grasp one-handed, and we also found that it allowed grease and fingerprints to show up quite easily.
That said, it is a good-sized tablet. The Lumia 2520 measures 267x168x8.9mm, making it skinnier than Apple's latest 10.1in tablet - although that could change later today.
The Lumia 2520 matches the iPad when it comes to screen size, featuring a 10.1 1080x1920 display, complete with Nokia's Clearblack and IPS technology. Nokia is making some pretty big claims about this screen, telling The INQUIRER that it is brighter than Apple's Retina display despite having a lower pixel density, which it told us was due to the limitations of working with Microsoft.
We sized up the Lumia 2520 next to an Apple iPad 4, and it looks like Nokia's big claims are true. While both tablets offer excellent image quality and vibrancy, Nokia's Windows 8.1 tablet seems to have the edge when it comes to brightness and viewing angles. With the brightness cranked up to full on both, colours looked sharper on the Lumia 2520, and when the tablets were viewed under bright sunlight, the iPad failed to match.
The Lumia 2520's display comes coated in Gorilla Glass for added protection too, which while will likely prevent from scratches, easily showed up fingerprints.
Operating system and performance
The Lumia 2520, despite the Finnish firm's clear business focus, comes running Microsoft's Windows 8.1 RT operating system, rather than Windows 8.1.
Despite this, Nokia was keen to boast that the tablet arrives equipped with the full version of Microsoft Office, and is also one of the first tablets to also feature a Microsoft Outlook application.
Thanks to Nokia's optional accessory, the Nokia Power Cover, the firm claims the tablet can transform into a mobile PC device, ideal for business users, which is again boosted by the tablet's support for 4G LTE. While this could see the firm getting one up on Microsoft's own Surface Pro 2 tablet, the device could struggle to win over business folk due to the lack of onboard enterprise features, with customers instead opting for a Surface Pro tablet running Microsoft's Windows 8.1 operating system.
It's not just aimed at business folk, though. Nokia was keen to point out that the tablet also comes with Xbox integration, and even includes an exclusive Dreamcast game called Dragon's Adventure.
Gaming will be aided by what the tablet has got under the bonnet, with the Lumia 2520 featuring a quad-core 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chip. During our hands-on time with the tablet, we noticed no performance issues with the tablet. Swiping through the Live Tile interface was slick, apps opened almost instateneously and the tablet appeared to handle multitasking well.
As a Nokia device, it will come as no surprise that the Lumia 2520 tablet arrives with a focus on imaging. There's a 6.7MP camera on the rear of the device, which while lacking Nokia's Pureview label, outperforms the competition when it comes to low-light performance. We put this to test alongside an iPad, and the images taken on the Lumia tablet were much more vibrant and offered more detail.
There's a 2MP camera on the front of the device too, which Nokia claims is perfect for video calling. We have yet to test this camera, but will be sure to do so in our full review.
While it might still struggle due to the limitations of Microsoft's Windows 8.1 RT operating system, Nokia has outdone rival manufacturers by stuffing the tablet full of its own features, be they its camera tools, quirky design or custom application lineup, including the firm's Here mapping service. µ
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