The mid range budget segment for smartphones is still wide open and there are only few smartphones but none of them are popular enough to dominate the price range of ~10,000 INR. Lumia 520 is a great device from Nokia using the Windows Phone 8 platform and targeted at users of mid budget range of ~10K (~180$). Even though the device is priced at MRP of Rs 11,289, it is available at much lesser price of ~9K+ on various online stores like Amazon India.
Unboxing and brief hands on
Lumia 520 is powered by 1 GHz Qualcomm Krait Dual Core processor with Windows Phone 8 as the operating System along with 512 MB RAM. The Amount of RAM though may restrict the device from running some of the games and even apps on the device as more than 512 MB Ram is needed to play some of the high end games on Mobile Platforms like Windows Phone or Android. Apart from this, the absence of a dedicated GPU engine in the device poses some restrictions too.
The device comes with an inbuilt 8 GB memory along with the SD Card support up to 64 GB.
The device ran smooth during our review period and we didn’t notice any lag during the period we tested the device (for almost 10 days of full use).
The device comes with 4 Inches IPS Display with a WVGA resolution of 800 x 480 Pixels.
The display is highly touch responsive and works even if you are wearing gloves in your hand. But sometimes this highly touch responsive display creates problems. Like often while using the apps or browsing on the device, even though you havn’t touched something it opens up as if you have touched it creating some annoyance.
Design and Looks
Nokia Lumia devices are great in terms of the design quality and colours as they give a new feel compared to almost similar devices on Android platform whether its Samsung or any other manufacturer barring few exceptions.
The back cover of the device made from polycarbonate can be pulled off to open it and you can change the battery or access microSIM (yes, you need a MicroSim to use this device) & microSD memory cards. The Back covers can even be changed letting you change the color as per your mood and giving you a new phone just by changing the removable back cover.
It comes with 5 mega pixel rear camera with 4x digital zoom and auto focus capability. There is no front camera or any secondary cam on the device.
THe quality of the images taken using the 5 MP Lumia 520 are good if there is even low light. But as the device doesn’t come with a flash, the images taken in too low light or dark surroundings are not good. But that you already know keeping in view the affordable price of the device which is well below 10,000 INR.
Checkout some of the samples of pictures taken by Lumia 520. The pics below were taken in the evening with low light available.
In terms of Video recording it can record HD videos at 30 frames per second. The videos recorded were good enough provided you are shooting them in good enough light.
The device comes with all the connectivity options like GPRS, EDGE, 3G and Wi-Fi along with the option of sharing your internet connection using a hotspot (which can be enabled inside settings). While using the WiFi on the review unit though we faces some issues.
The WiFi connectivity wasn’t smooth and it often asked me to enter the WiFi password. I am not sure if its a random issue that occurred with our review unit or its common? The connectivity improved a bit after I reset the device twice. Still often, the WiFi need to enabled / disabled to make WiFi working when you connect to hotspot after sometime.
Apart from the connectivity options mentioned above, you can use the microUSB connector to transfer files or other data to and from the device. You can even use the Bluetooth for sharing or transferring files to other devices.
The device comes with 1430 mAh battery which may seem small to many users considering most mid range devices comes with more than 1500 mAh battery. But it seems the device is well optimised and even with heavy usage, Lumia 520 was able to last for full day and still some battery was left.
We would have still loved to have a bit more of battery power, but perhaps optimisations like these help Nokia to build devices at this affordable price.
Apps and Software
The device is powered by Windows Phone 8 from Microsoft. If you are coming from an Android device, it may take a while before you get accustomed to the Tile layout with some of them being dynamic tiles which keep updating in real time.
One of the best features or app that comes with Windows Phone is the contact App which updates in real time bringing you all the updates from all your contacts from different social networks and web services.
One of the best apps that usually come with Windows Phone devices like Lumia is the Microsoft Office suite which comes with Lumia 520 to help you create and edit Word, Power point and Excel documents.
Even though the Office suite has limited set of features , but considering that its a smartphone with just 4 inch display they are good enough. Microsoft office suite is still the most sought after App by users on other platforms like Android and iOS.
Even though the Windows Marketplace or the Appstore is expanding with more apps being added each day, there is still loads of popular apps which are missing. Even if you talk about existing apps, the quality is still far behind if you compare the same app on other platforms like Android or iOS. Microsoft needs to give a big push to get quality apps fast on the Windows Phone platform otherwise, it is bound to lose customers.
Even the basic popular apps like Twitter and Facebook are far behind their counterparts on Android and iOS. Even the apps name are often confusing and often different apps have the same name and the user is even unable to distinguish the official app from the unofficial ones.
Even there are loads of issues with Windows Store and often you get random errors while downloading and installing apps.
Another annoyance is , you cannot leave the download screen unless the app starts downloading. If you switch to something else, the App wont get downloaded.
- No Front or Secondary Camera
- 512 MB RAM
- NO Flash with the Camera
- 1430 mAh Battery
Nokia has done a wonderful job with Lumia 520 considering the fact that you are getting a dual core 1 GHz Qualcomm processor with 512 MB ROm and 4 inch display within below 10,000 INR (i.e less than $170). It is a great affordable device with loads of feature. The only issue with the device has nothing to do with Nokia though. Its the Windows Phone 8 and the appstore that needs to improve a lot both in terms of the quality and quantity of the apps.