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Nokia Lumia 520 review

The 520 has new software, but is even cheaper

Our Verdict

The Lumia 520 looks good, it's got a decent screen, it rarely stutters or slows down, it's great for calls and messaging and might it just be the best entry level Windows Phone handset you can buy.

Product features

  • Built-in Memory : 8 GB
  • Rear Camera Resolution : 5 Megapixel
  • Battery Talk Time : 14.80 Hour
  • Screen Resolution : 800 x 480
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

View full specification

For

  • Super cheap
  • Large, expansive screen
  • Loads of innovation

Against

  • No front-facing camera
  • Average battery
  • No NFC or compass

Like all Windows Phones, the soft touch Back, Start and Search buttons are all fairly self-explanatory in their main uses, but two of them have additional uses if you long-press them.

The back button will display an overview of recent apps and screens if you long-press it, allowing you to tap on one to return to it, while the start button will bring up a voice search box when long-pressed.

It can be used to launch apps, send texts, search the web and more, and generally it can tell what you're trying to say as long as you speak clearly.

Nokia Lumia 520 review

Getting to the business of actually calling people, your contacts are listed in the 'Phone' app.

When you open it you'll find yourself on the history screen, which is simply a list of any calls that you've made and received, along with the date and time of the call.

You can tap on any of these to call the person back, but we don't imagine it's a screen that will get much use, so it seems strange that the app defaults to this one whenever you open it.

Never mind though – you can easily get to the other screens via icons at the bottom. One calls your voicemail, one takes you to your phonebook in the people app, one lets you search for a contact and one takes you to the dialler.

The dial pad itself is a bit of a letdown as it doesn't support smart dialling – so you're really only likely to use it for people that aren't already in your address book.

Call

Things are a lot more positive when you're actually on a call, as call quality is pretty good – perhaps not the best I've come across but certainly above average – and I never had a problem hearing anyone or experienced any dropped calls.

This shouldn't come as much of a surprise from Nokia as the company has been making phones for quite some time.

There's the usual assortment of information onscreen during the call – the contact's name and number and the call duration, plus options to mute the call, put the call on hold, turn the loudspeaker on, or add someone else to the call.

At 124g, you'll have no problem holding the phone for long periods of time and this goes for both making calls, taking pictures or playing on apps.

Speaking of which, the selection of apps is nowhere close to what you'd find on Google Play or Apple's App Store, but it's not bad either, with a selection of games, social media apps, productivity tools and more.

All the main apps, like eBay, Wikipedia, Angry Birds or Whatsapp can be found without much trouble in the Windows Store.

Nokia Lumia 520 review

The games are worth highlighting in particular, as Microsoft have secured some unique offerings that aren't available on Android or Apple devices and you can also access your Xbox Live account if you have one.

Text – either from an email, SMS or instant message is easy to read on the 4-inch screen. Composing new messages is similarly straightforward, because the onscreen keyboard doesn't make things any harder than they need to be.

There's no lag when inputting text and it takes a decent stab at autocorrecting typos. It's generally quite accurate too.

However, it is a little cramped, especially in portrait mode, so if you've got particularly big hands you may struggle with it.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
TouchscreenYes
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported64 GB
Built-in Memory8 GB
Built-in FlashNo
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA
SAR Value1.09 W/kg
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationNo
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilyLumia
Cellular Generation3G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 2100
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution5 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraNo
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleBar
ColourBlack
Operating SystemWindows Mobile
Brand NameNokia
Battery Talk Time14.80 Hour
Product Model520
Screen Size10.2 cm (4")
Screen Resolution800 x 480
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)124 g
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityChina RoHS, EU RoHS, REACH, WEEE
Maximum Video Resolution1280 x 720
Processor ManufacturerQualcomm
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11b/g/n
Operating System VersionWindows Phone 8
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
RealtoneYes
Call FeaturesCall Log, Call Waiting, Call Forwarding, Conference Call
Pixel Density235 ppi
Height119.9 mm
Width64 mm
Depth9.9 mm
Radio TunerNo
ManufacturerNokia
Product NameLumia 520 Smartphone
Processor Speed1 GHz
Processor TypeSnapdragon S4
Product LineLumia
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeAccelerometer, Proximity Sensor, Orientation Sensor, Ambient Light Sensor
Manufacturer Part NumberA00010451
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.nokia.co.uk
Marketing InformationPowered by Windows Phone 8, the Nokia Lumia 520 comes with exclusive digital lenses, a 1GHz dual core processor, and a touchscreen that even works with long finger nails or gloves.

Add magic to your photos.
The Nokia Lumia 520 comes with digital lenses built in - exclusive to Nokia and guaranteed to wow your friends. Add motion to your images with Cinemagraph. Take multiple photos with a single click using Smart Shoot, and edit effortlessly to make the perfect shot.

Super senstive screen - keep your gloves on.
The 4-inch touchscreen on the Nokia Lumia 520 is so sensitive that you can even use it when wearing gloves or with your fingernails. So typing, chatting and surfing are easier and more convenient than ever.

Nokia mix radio.
Nokia Mix Radio fills your day with free music. Choose from over 150 mixes or generate your own playlists. Take your favourite mixes offline and listen when you're not connected. Share them with friends through your social networks, email or via SMS. (Data transfer charges may apply. Check with your provider)

Free HERE Maps. Destinations uncovered.
Type in a destination and HERE Maps will get you there quickly. If you're driving, HERE Drive gives you turn-by-turn directions. And if you need to get across town on public transport, HERE Transit plots the quickest route, including departure times and walking distances. (HERE Drive on the Lumia 520 offers free drive navigation for a single country or region. Additional service upgrade to be introduced later.)

Windows Phone 8. See your world at a glance.
Stay on top of things with Live Tiles which update in real time on your start screen. Get 7GB of storage on Microsoft SkyDrive, so you can sync your phone and computer. And pre-installed Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint mean you can work on the go, hassle-free.
Package Contents
  • Lumia 520 Smartphone
  • High Efficiency Charger
  • Battery
  • Charging and Data Cable
  • Stereo Headset
  • Quick Guide
Limited Warranty2 Year