Our Lumia 1520 review unit for AT&T recently arrived and I’ve already been using the phone for a couple of days. First things first: it’s huge. The 6-inch display makes it feel more like a tablet than a phablet, but I’m cool with that. The 1080p resolution is fantastic, and the added pixels and screen real-estate enables Microsoft to add an entire new row of icons in Windows Phone 8.
I’m reluctant to give up using some form of Android device, whether it’s a tablet or a smartphone, because I love Google Now. It’s contextually aware and is constantly providing me with information that I need. Windows Phone isn’t there yet, but the added row of live tiles makes it feel more alive than ever before. The higher resolution, too, means it’s easier to see and read text at a glance. So far, I don’t think I’ll ever go back to a Windows Phone device without a third row of tiles; it just seems to change the game so much.
The build design is amazing. I love what Nokia’s been doing with its flagships. Sure, it’s polycarbonate plastic, but there isn’t a flimsy bone in this phone’s body. It’s rock solid, and I love the cherry red gloss finish, though fingerprints are a problem (as they usually are on any phone). The phone is nice and thin, which makes it a bit easier to hold than some other phablets, but I still feel like it could drop at any moment while using it with one hand. There’s an optional cover that protects the device, though it’s also supposed to serve as a stand and it fails at that task. Also, and I absolutely love this, the Lumia 1520 supports microSD cards. It accepted my 64GB card without requiring a format and recognized all of the media on board within just a few minutes.
I’ve always found Windows Phone to be fast anyway, but the Lumia 1520 definitely seems to blaze around. I’m curious why it has the added Snapdragon 800 firepower right now. My guess, and it’s entirely a guess, is that this phone is built with the hardware to support whatever features Windows Phone 8.1 delivers. I hope there’s landscape mode in that release, too, because it’s a shame that I can’t interact with the homescreen when I hold the phone sideways.
The camera seems to be pretty solid so far. I’m going to snap a few more photos, but I’ve found the flash is nice and bright and photos look good. Obviously we’re not going to get the same results as the Lumia 1020 here, but the resolution is higher than what almost all competitors offer, it has similar PureView technology under the hood. Nokia’s top-notch camera software is also on board, in case you want to take time and really focus your shot, though there seems to be a delay between when I push the shutter button and when the picture saves. That hardware obviously comes at the price of speed.
So far this is my favorite Windows Phone device yet. I’m a huge fan of what Nokia’s been doing across the board, and I love that it created a big-screen flagship. We’ll be bringing you our full review in the coming days, so stay tuned for our full rundown.