Nokia’s Lumia 2520 Windows RT 8.1 tablet has been in our office for a few days now and we’ve used it enough to bring you some of our first impressions of the device. First, the hardware is super solid, but that shouldn’t be much of a surprise since Nokia built it, and the company makes some of the best smartphone hardware available on the market. I think my favorite part of the tablet is its design right now. It’s really thin and I love the glossy red color, though, like the Lumia 1520, it attracts fingerprints super easily.
Second, it runs Windows RT 8.1 and, while I hate to reserve judgement on any specific operating system too early, I can already tell you it still has plenty of weaknesses over a full version of Windows 8.1.
As a user of both, I’ve found the app selection on Windows RT 8.1 lacking greatly, which is also one of the main problems with Windows Phone. Sure, popular apps like Facebook are available, there are some solid news apps such as Flipboard, and even the pretty amazing Microsoft Office suite. I just think, even still, most consumers might still think that any “Windows” machine will run their x86 Windows apps, and that’s not the case with RT. Still, Windows RT 8.1 is satisfactory, particularly if you want to run two applications side-by-side.
From a pure usability standpoint, if you’re looking to surf the web, send off some emails and write up a document, the Lumia 2520 gets the job done, and it gets it done well. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor definitely feels a lot faster than the Tegra 3 chip in the original Surface. I also like that Nokia added its own suite of apps, such as Nokia HERE Maps, the Nokia Camera software, Nokia Video director for editing video clips, Nokia Storyteller for seeing photos you snapped in specific locations and more. Nokia also lets you connect to a Lumia Windows Phone through NFC for transferring files. This is a feature I’ve long wanted between Windows devices, and it’s a good start for now.
There’s also a cool Dreamworks Dragons Adventure game pre-installed that parents can give their kids for a long car ride. The game, which I played during an hour-long car ride, is actually pretty entertaining, and you travel with your dragon along a route that reflects the real-life roads. If it’s raining outside, it’s raining in the game. If you take a left in your car, your dragon takes a left in the game. It’s fun, and I think kids will enjoy it.
The camera is better than most I’ve used on a tablet, again thanks to Nokia’s hardware and camera prowess, though I don’t find myself wanting to snap a picture with my tablet most of the time. There’s also a front-facing camera for Skype calls, though that’s available on most tablets these days and isn’t really a stand-out feature.
I’m not quite fawning over the Lumia 2520 tablet just yet, because with apps comes a more powerful tablet, and the Lumia 2520 just doesn’t have near the selection that even a budget Android tablet would give you. Of course, with Nokia, you’re paying for great design and hardware, and you do indeed get that here. I’ll be playing with the Lumia 2520 a lot more over the course of a few more days and will return back soon with a full review.