Τρίτη, 24 Σεπτεμβρίου 2013

--> Nokia Lumia 520 review !

<<Windows Phone 8 goes low end but not low rent>>

The Nokia Lumia 520 is Nokia's fifth Windows Phone 8 handset. It's a phone which slots into the very bottom end of the range, just below the Nokia Lumia 620. And we do mean
just below
- the specs of the 520 and 620 are remarkably similar, meaning that Nokia's main competition at the bottom end of the market is itself. Otherwise, its biggest rival is likely to be the recently launched Huawei Ascend W1 - a low-end handset that we're rather fond of.
Of course if you look beyond Windows Phone 8 then there's also a whole host of Android competitors such as the Huawei Ascend G330 and the Orange San Diego.

But here's something that may have a bearing on whether you buy the Lumia 520 - the phone is now the world's top selling Windows Phone 8 handset, thanks to its impressive specs and low-end price.

The Nokia Lumia 520 has a fairly generous 4-inch, 480 x 800 display and is powered by a 1 GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor and 512MB of RAM. That may not sound like much but the power matches the Lumia 620, and we had few qualms about the performance of that phone given its price. The screen is actually slightly bigger than that of the Nokia Lumia 620, which only has a 3.8-inch display.

The Nokia Lumia 520 starts at around £150 SIM free or from around £100 if you buy it locked (and the price has already plummeted to £70 in some stores), while the Lumia 620 retails from around £175 SIM free or £150 locked.

That means a decent saving for those who don't mind committing to a network. It's a little cheaper than the Huawei Ascend W1 too.

Update: The Nokia Lumia 520 will be undergoing a facelift soon when it gets the new Lumia Amber update, which will bring FM radio and an all new camera to the handset in Q3 2013 - we'll update the review when it appears. It seems to be imminent, as more phones have been spotted running the upgrade in the wild.

This facelift will even include the ability to use the phone with Bluetooth 4.0, a low energy form of the connection that will allow more sensors and less battery depletion of your phone when connected to external devices.

Like all recent Nokia handsets there's a lot of colour in the Nokia Lumia 520. It shares the look of other Lumia devices, with a single piece of smooth plastic covering the back and sides of the phone. That shell is available in black or white, but the bright shades of yellow, blue and red on offer will appeal if you like it loud.

If nothing else, it makes Nokia handsets stand out from the crowd. Regardless of the colour, it's quite a nice looking phone in other ways, with an angular rectangular design more in line with the higher end Nokia Lumia 920 than the curved edges of its closest relation - the Nokia Lumia 620.

It's certainly a more distinctive (and we'd argue classier) look than that of the Lumia 620 - which is odd for when the Lumia 520 is supposed to be the more basic option.

It's also slimmer and lighter than the Lumia 620, at a fairly sleek 9.9mm and 124g. At 119.9 x 64mm it is longer and wider than the Lumia 620, but that's understandable given that it's also got a slightly bigger screen.

From left to right: The Lumia 520, 620, 720 and 820

We like the feel of it too. The plastic casing seems almost warm, making it nice to hold, and it's not as slippery as it might look - so getting a firm grip on the handset is no problem. The almost jagged corners can dig into your hand a little when held in certain positions, but it's at worst slightly uncomfortable and easily avoided by adjusting your grip.

The front of the Nokia Lumia 520 is mostly screen as you'd expect and at 4-inches it's a decent size for a low-price handset. The pixel density of 233 pixels per inch also isn't bad at all for the money you're paying - sure it's dwarfed by the likes of the 469 ppi HTC One, but it's also many times cheaper.

A huge plus is the ability to use gloves with the screen too - being able to type in the cold weather is becoming a really common ability on phones, but we're impressed Nokia managed it on such a cheap handset.

Unlike some handsets, the screen here isn't edge-to-edge: there's a black border running the entire way around it. At the sides this border is fairly narrow, but it becomes quite wide at the top to make room for the earpiece and a Nokia logo. It's even wider at the bottom, because that's where you'll find the start, back and search softkeys.

The back of the handset is almost featureless, with just a small Nokia logo in the centre, the 5-megapixel camera lens near the top and a tiny loudspeaker near the bottom.

The right edge of the handset houses all of the phones physical buttons, with a volume rocker at the top, a power button near the middle and a camera button near the bottom. The layout works well, with the buttons spaced far enough to prevent confusion.

The left edge is devoid of any features, ports or buttons at all.

The top is home only to a 3.5mm headphone port on the left hand side.

The bottom edge has a micro USB port in the centre, which is used for charging or connecting the Nokia Lumia 520 to a computer.

The back cover is easy to remove - you simply use your nails to peel it away at each corner. The cover itself feels reasonably sturdy, so we don't see it snapping even if you take it on and off a lot.
Once that has been removed, you'll have access to the 1430 mAh battery (which interestingly is bigger than the 1300 mAh battery found in the Nokia Lumia 620).

Underneath the battery there are two slots - one for a micro SIM card and one for a microSD card. The Nokia Lumia 520 supports up to 64GB cards, which comes in very handy for bulking up the storage from the fairly limiting 8GB of onboard memory.

At first glance it's certainly an impressive handset for the price, easily competing with the similarly priced Huawei Ascend W1 and potentially rendering the Nokia Lumia 620 redundant. In fact, given that it has similar specs, a bigger screen and a better battery, you might be wondering why the Lumia 520 is considered lower-end than the 620.

Well, there are a few reasons. First off, the Nokia Lumia 520 doesn't have NFC. It also doesn't have camera flash or a front-facing camera, plus there's no compass built into it, and while the screen is slightly bigger it still has the same resolution - resulting in a marginally lower ppi.

But we don't consider any of them to be deal breakers, and depending on how you plan to use the phone they may well be things you can happily live with - especially for £70.


The camera on the Nokia Lumia 520 is pretty basic, you get a 5MP sensor on the back, but it doesn't have any flash and there's no front facing camera at all - so video chats and self portraits are out.

It also nixes the chance of Skype calling, which is a big feature of Windows Phone 8, and therefore could be seen as a big miss. But if you want a phone for video calling, the similar Lumia 620 is your friend.

There aren't many options on the Lumia 520; you can adjust the ISO, white balance, aspect ratio and exposure value, as well as choosing between several scene modes such as close-up, night or sports, but that's it.

Beyond that the camera is basically just point and shoot, though you can tap to focus on specific things and there is a 'smart shoot' option, which takes a handful of rapid-fire pictures and lets you pick which ones to keep. It's a handy feature, since the first photo you take might come out blurred or someone's eyes might be closed.

When the Lumia Amber update appears you'll be getting an all-new camera too, with Smart Camera features springing from the phone's ability to take 6 x 1MP photos in a row - stay tuned for that upgrade in a few months.

Being a Windows Phone handset there's also a dedicated camera button, which is a lot better for taking photos than trying to use an on-screen button. It also gives you quick access to your camera, as pressing it from any other screen will launch the camera app.

The camera isn't bad at all for a budget handset, though it unsurprisingly can't compete with the snappers on pricier phones like the Nokia Lumia 920 or the Sony Xperia Z and the lack of flash is a real shame.

The camera on the Nokia Lumia 520 can take some reasonable images, though they're not hugely detailed.

It struggles to focus during close-ups, particularly when there's too much of one colour.

Even with sports mode activated the camera struggles to keep fast moving objects in focus.

There's no flash on the camera, which means that indoor shots are quite dark and a little grainy.

Landscapes come out quite nicely with both the foreground and background in focus.

 Given that it doesn't have any flash the Nokia Lumia 520 does a surprisingly good job of brightening up dark scenes, though not enough for them to be worth bothering with.

- Video camera -

The video camera on the Nokia Lumia 520 is similarly basic. It shoots in 720p at 30fps (which is the same as the Nokia Lumia 620), and the performance is similar to that of its big brother too.

The options for the video camera are even more limited than when shooting stills. You can adjust the white balance, turn continuous focus on or off and adjust the quality, though you can only choose between 720p and WVGA. You can either press the shutter button or tap on the screen to start shooting then do the same to stop and that's all there is to it really.

Since there's no flash there's also no video lamp, so its performance isn't great in poorly lit places, but if you stick to daylight the performance isn't too bad for such a wallet friendly handset.

When staying fairly still the quality is reasonable. However it struggled a bit with the ripples in the water.

Close-ups aren't handled too badly either. If you move too close in or move too quickly then it will struggle to focus, but for static medium close-ups it produces useable footage.

Fast moving traffic comes out a little blurred. The camera also fails to bring out details in the background.

- Battery life and connectivity -

-Battery life-

The Nokia Lumia 520 has a 1430 mAh battery to keep it going. That's a slight boost over the 1300 mAh battery found in the Nokia Lumia 620, but some way short of the 1950 mAh battery packed into the Huawei Ascend W1.

The slight bump in battery size equated to a slight bump in performance over the Nokia Lumia 620, but it's an important improvement as while the Lumia 620 would sometimes struggle to make it through a day the Lumia 520 generally seemed fine - though you'd still normally need to charge it overnight.

In our patented battery test - running a 90 minute video from a fully charged handset with Wi-Fi on, social networks and emails set to push notifications and the screen turned up to full brightness, we saw the battery drop to 66% by the end of the test.

That's not brilliant performance, but when used in other ways - for example phone calls, playing music, sending texts etc the Nokia Lumia 520 performed a lot better and unless you're watching a lot of videos you should easily get a day's use out of it.

Nokia rates the Lumia 520 for up to 360 hours of standby time over 3G, 14.8 hours of talk time over 3G, 9.6 hours of talk time over 2G or 61 hours of music playback, which sounds fair, though it notably doesn't post figures on video time.

If the battery doesn't live up to your expectations there is a battery saver, which prevents apps from syncing in the background, plus you can also invest in a spare battery, since it's easily removable if you just pop the back off the phone.

However if you'd rather not do that then the Huawei Ascend W1 might be a better bet, as that is one of the few Windows Phone 8 handsets to actually sport good battery life.

The Nokia Lumia 520 has a handful of different connectivity options, including dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, HSDPA at 21.1 Mbps and HSUPA at 5.76 Mbps. It has also got Bluetooth 3.0 and GPS, but it lacks NFC or a compass - both of which are included in the slightly pricier Nokia Lumia 620.

Configuring these connections or turning them on and off is pretty straightforward, as there are clearly labelled menus in the settings screen to sort them all out. Unfortunately digging into the settings screen is the only way to manage them, which is a bit of an annoyance as a shortcut would really come in handy.

Getting content on and off the Nokia Lumia 520 is totally painless, you just plug it into a computer using the included micro USB to USB cable, wait a few seconds for your computer to pick it up, then you can look through the handset's folders and simply drag and drop things on and off it.

There's also a micro SD card slot hidden beneath the back cover, which is all but essential for bulking up the storage from the 8GB that it ships with. Using a micro SD card additionally gives you an extra way to get content on and off the phone, as you can load it up with things before putting it in. 
Source: techradar.com

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