Nokia’s high-end Lumia range, which consists of the 920 and the 820, don’t appear to be selling as well as the company hoped. Despite the deep-rooted heritage Nokia has in India, the average joe wants more from their high-end phone other than just a brand name. When it comes to handsets above Rs 25,000, the performance across OS platforms is more or less the same but it’s only when you start climbing down the price range, can you start to tell the difference. Android can be quite a painful experience in the sub-Rs.10,000 price bracket but Windows Phone 8 does not suffer the same fate. The user experience is more or less consistent throughout the price range, a feat no one has achieved till date. Nokia is leveraging that power of WP8 through the newly-launched Lumia 520, targeted at the youth.
Design and Build
Available in a variety of colours, the Lumia 520 looks modern and fresh thanks to a soft, matte-finish for the entire chassis. The glossy front attracts fingerprints but it’s not as bad as some of the other phones in this range. Compared to the Lumia 620, which is a few thousand rupees more, the handset is slimmer and lighter and oddly, feels a lot more premium. The curved back fits snugly in your hand and all the buttons line up with your fingers. The back cover is interchangeable and is a lot simpler to snap on and off as compared to the Lumia 820. There won’t be any option for a wireless charging cover and Nokia wouldn’t comment on the pricing of the covers either.
Ergonomic form factor
The microSIM and microSD card slots are placed beside each other and are hot-swappable. You get a dedicated camera shutter button along with the usual set of buttons. In order to keep the price low, Nokia has had to do away with the LED flash, the front camera and the compass.
The removable back panel
The Lumia 520 sports a larger 4-inch IPS display compared to its slightly more expensive cousin. It doesn't use the ClearBlack technology but uses the Super-sensitive touch instead, which allows you to operate it even with gloves on. The display is bright and viewing angles are good but the colours aren’t very vivid or punchy. This is very noticeable when you place the 520 and 620 side by side, the Lumia 620’s display has a much better colour reproduction.
You can't tell from this pic but the Lumia 620's (left) display is better in terms of colours
The Lumia 520 packs in the same features we’ve seen in other Lumia devices across the price range. You get the full version of Microsoft Office suite along with all the other Lumia-specific lenses and apps like HERE Maps, Nokia Music, etc. Nokia is also throwing in some exclusive offers with the Lumia 520 like the ability to stream unlimited movies from BIGFLIX for the first three months for free. Reliance customers will get 1GB of free 3G for two months. Along with that, WhatsApp and Facebook have been whitelisted during that period, which means all data sent and received from these two apps won’t be counted in your 1GB quota.
A well-sculpted back
The City Lens app is not available for the Lumia 520 since the phone lacks a compass. All the other apps and features are available.
We had a chance to try out the camera and it’s not too bad for indoor shots with low ambient light. Getting it to do macros is a little tricky as it constantly loses focus. We’ll need to test it more but overall, it’s not too shabby. Video recording maxes out at 720p, which is sufficient. There’s 8GB of internal memory which is expandable up to 64GB.
Decent indoor shots
Nokia might be on to something with the Lumia 520. Leaving aside apps for the moment, the handset is shaping up to be one of the best buys in this price range. It has a large display, there’s expandable memory, dual-core CPU, it's lightweight and slim and comes with some pretty interesting offers. Also, this being WP8, the UI and functioning of the device is very smooth, something that’s tough to find in budget Android phones.
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