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Nokia Lumia 520 Review
By Steve Rhys 27.07.2013
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Nokia Lumia 520 Review

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  • No front facing camera
  • No NFC
  • Average battery

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Nokia Lumia 520 Review

The Nokia Lumia 520 is too good to be true – a mid-range phone for a budget price? Surely not!

…………………………………………………………………………….

Overview 

The Lumia 520 is Nokia’s bottom-line Windows Phone 8 – and you can get your hands on a pay as you go for as little as £60. You don´t get good mobiles much cheaper than the 520 – which makes you wonder what’s wrong with it! But in all honesty, there´s nothing wrong with it at all for this price. In fact, it´s actually a decent little phone!

Of course there are some drawbacks. There is no front-facing camera and you’ll have to do without some advanced features like NFC, but all in all Nokia has done a sterling job of cutting costs, but still producing a quite remarkable handset. Let´s take a closer look.

The Nokia Lumia 520 gets off to a good start with a strong first impression. The large screen has shades of high-end Nokias and Sony Xperias, but the 520 holds its own and wouldn´t go out in the first round of a beauty contest.

The chassis is slimmer and lighter than its expensive brethren, weighing in at a respectable 124g and measuring up at 9.9mm thick.  Although a bigger display means it’s taller and wider it’s a welcome exchange for the extra landscape on the screen. 

Build quality feels sturdy enough as well. The plastic shell is a cheap alternative to the unibody design of high-end Lumias.  But with a clever bit of design, the 520 looks like a unibody handset and a matte finish saves it from that glossy budget look.

Ergonomics are another victory for the 520.  The plastic case grips perfectly between your fingers and the trio of controls along the right are spot on. A nice detail too, in jet black contrast to the coloured case – available in a range of typically punchy Nokia colours.

True to its slate design the Lumia 520 is almost all-screen – and 4-inches of it at that. We’re talking about a lot of glass for a budget phone and the quality isn’t bad either. At 233pixels per inch the 520 is no competition for high-def displays you find on premium phones, but it smashes everything in its price bracket and puts on a pretty sharp display for this kind of money.

 

nokia-lumia-520

 

That’s not to say Nokia has gone all charity on us by offering mid-range screens at budget prices. There are plenty of reminders that this is a cheap phone with an average display. Colour accuracy is wonting and the screen itself lacks any notable anti-glare layer or protection against scratches. In fact the reflective screen makes a better mirror when exposed to broad daylight. And it’s got a thing for fingerprints too.

Take a look at the hardware and we find a familiar story – a dual-core 1GHz Qualcomm CPU and 512MB of RAM puts the 520 in the same hardware department as the Lumia 720 – a £250 phone – which makes the Lumia 520 something of a performer in the budget category. It fares well compared to other Windows phones in general – and much better than a low-end Android.

 

nokia-lumia-520

 

It’s only when you throw mobile gaming at the 520 that its price starts to show. You’ll notice a touch of lag and the graphics are not so sharp. If you are familiar with gaming on high-end models, the 520 is not going to make a satisfactory alternative.

That’s not really Nokia’s fault though – nor the 520’s. The real game killer is a serious lack of gaming options on Windows Phone 8. App selection is another Windows Phone let down compared to iOS and Android.

Otherwise, the 520 and Windows Phone 8 are a great match-up.  This doesn’t operate like a cheap phone at all. And swiping between screens is responsively smooth – thanks to some solid hardware and strong performance.

Combined with a large display and surprising specs, the 520 is a pleasure to operate.  And if you fancy a change from the same old iOS or Android experience the 520 makes a great demo for Windows Phone 8.

nokia-lumia-520

 

To keep costs down, there’s no front-facing camera on the 520 – which rules out video chat and practising your best grin on camera.  This could be Nokia’s biggest compromise with the 520 as mobile video chat – and vein people – are constantly on the increase.

The rear-facing camera isn’t anything exciting either. A pretty standard and unflexible 5MP snapper is nothing more than a simple point and shoot. Clearly, a good camera wasn’t on Nokia’s 520 agenda – unlike the snap-happy Lumia 920 – one of the best camera phones on the market. But at this price, nobody’s moaning.

To power your Lumia 520 you’ll be relying on a 1430 mAh battery that should keep you going all day – just about.  Of course that depends on how you use your 520 and if you’re a fiend for video files you can expect much worse results.

Less intense use – like music and web surfing – is handled much better by the 520 battery. But even more restrained users will probably say goodnight by plugging in for a recharge.

  

Final thought

It’s hard not to fall for the Lumia 520. With its modest asking price reinforced by some bold features and impressive performance, this has got to be the number one best buy for 2013. If you’re after a budget phone you definitely want to take a look at the 520. Despite the low price, it does not look, feel or operate like a low-end handset. 

That said, the 520 isn’t for the mobile gamers and photographers out there. And if an average battery life simply isn’t enough then you might want to look elsewhere too – like the Huawei Ascend W1 for exaample.

Otherwise, unless you’re too fashion conscious to carry a phone without an Apple or Samsung logo, the Nokia Lumia 520 is an absolute charmer – and a cheap date as well.

 

 

Nokia Lumia 520 Review

The Nokia Lumia 520 is too good to be true – a mid-range phone for a budget price? Surely not!

…………………………………………………………………………….

Overview 

The Lumia 520 is Nokia’s bottom-line Windows Phone 8 – and you can get your hands on a pay as you go for as little as £60. You don´t get good mobiles much cheaper than the 520 – which makes you wonder what’s wrong with it! But in all honesty, there´s nothing wrong with it at all for this price. In fact, it´s actually a decent little phone!

Of course there are some drawbacks. There is no front-facing camera and you’ll have to do without some advanced features like NFC, but all in all Nokia has done a sterling job of cutting costs, but still producing a quite remarkable handset. Let´s take a closer look.

The Nokia Lumia 520 gets off to a good start with a strong first impression. The large screen has shades of high-end Nokias and Sony Xperias, but the 520 holds its own and wouldn´t go out in the first round of a beauty contest.

The chassis is slimmer and lighter than its expensive brethren, weighing in at a respectable 124g and measuring up at 9.9mm thick.  Although a bigger display means it’s taller and wider it’s a welcome exchange for the extra landscape on the screen. 

Build quality feels sturdy enough as well. The plastic shell is a cheap alternative to the unibody design of high-end Lumias.  But with a clever bit of design, the 520 looks like a unibody handset and a matte finish saves it from that glossy budget look.

Ergonomics are another victory for the 520.  The plastic case grips perfectly between your fingers and the trio of controls along the right are spot on. A nice detail too, in jet black contrast to the coloured case – available in a range of typically punchy Nokia colours.

True to its slate design the Lumia 520 is almost all-screen – and 4-inches of it at that. We’re talking about a lot of glass for a budget phone and the quality isn’t bad either. At 233pixels per inch the 520 is no competition for high-def displays you find on premium phones, but it smashes everything in its price bracket and puts on a pretty sharp display for this kind of money.

 

nokia-lumia-520

 

That’s not to say Nokia has gone all charity on us by offering mid-range screens at budget prices. There are plenty of reminders that this is a cheap phone with an average display. Colour accuracy is wonting and the screen itself lacks any notable anti-glare layer or protection against scratches. In fact the reflective screen makes a better mirror when exposed to broad daylight. And it’s got a thing for fingerprints too.

Take a look at the hardware and we find a familiar story – a dual-core 1GHz Qualcomm CPU and 512MB of RAM puts the 520 in the same hardware department as the Lumia 720 – a £250 phone – which makes the Lumia 520 something of a performer in the budget category. It fares well compared to other Windows phones in general – and much better than a low-end Android.

 

nokia-lumia-520

 

It’s only when you throw mobile gaming at the 520 that its price starts to show. You’ll notice a touch of lag and the graphics are not so sharp. If you are familiar with gaming on high-end models, the 520 is not going to make a satisfactory alternative.

That’s not really Nokia’s fault though – nor the 520’s. The real game killer is a serious lack of gaming options on Windows Phone 8. App selection is another Windows Phone let down compared to iOS and Android.

Otherwise, the 520 and Windows Phone 8 are a great match-up.  This doesn’t operate like a cheap phone at all. And swiping between screens is responsively smooth – thanks to some solid hardware and strong performance.

Combined with a large display and surprising specs, the 520 is a pleasure to operate.  And if you fancy a change from the same old iOS or Android experience the 520 makes a great demo for Windows Phone 8.

nokia-lumia-520

 

To keep costs down, there’s no front-facing camera on the 520 – which rules out video chat and practising your best grin on camera.  This could be Nokia’s biggest compromise with the 520 as mobile video chat – and vein people – are constantly on the increase.

The rear-facing camera isn’t anything exciting either. A pretty standard and unflexible 5MP snapper is nothing more than a simple point and shoot. Clearly, a good camera wasn’t on Nokia’s 520 agenda – unlike the snap-happy Lumia 920 – one of the best camera phones on the market. But at this price, nobody’s moaning.

To power your Lumia 520 you’ll be relying on a 1430 mAh battery that should keep you going all day – just about.  Of course that depends on how you use your 520 and if you’re a fiend for video files you can expect much worse results.

Less intense use – like music and web surfing – is handled much better by the 520 battery. But even more restrained users will probably say goodnight by plugging in for a recharge.

  

Final thought

It’s hard not to fall for the Lumia 520. With its modest asking price reinforced by some bold features and impressive performance, this has got to be the number one best buy for 2013. If you’re after a budget phone you definitely want to take a look at the 520. Despite the low price, it does not look, feel or operate like a low-end handset. 

That said, the 520 isn’t for the mobile gamers and photographers out there. And if an average battery life simply isn’t enough then you might want to look elsewhere too – like the Huawei Ascend W1 for exaample.

Otherwise, unless you’re too fashion conscious to carry a phone without an Apple or Samsung logo, the Nokia Lumia 520 is an absolute charmer – and a cheap date as well.

 

 

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