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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

The Nokia Lumia 520, much like its big brother the Lumia 620, is a jack of all trades and a master of none – although it manages to make a good fist of nearly all it tries, for the price.

We liked

The incredibly low price is a huge selling point for the Nokia Lumia 520. It also looks like a more expensive handset than it is, with a decent-sized 4-inch screen and a stylish body which could almost lead someone to confuse it for the much more expensive Nokia Lumia 920.

It has also got a respectable amount of power hidden away inside, with a 1GHz dual-core processor ensuring that performance is generally pretty smooth.

The 5MP camera is good for the price and while it doesn't have much built-in storage it has a microSD card slot to make up for it.

It also gets decent phone signal and as with all Windows Phone 8 handsets the way contacts are integrated with social networks is excellent.

We disliked

The lack of a front-facing camera or for that matter a flash on the rear camera is a shame, somewhat muting its otherwise respectable photographic performance.

The screen tends to attract fingerprints and smudges more than most phones, which can leave it looking blurred and dirty after only a small amount of use.

I also found the battery life to be pretty average (though still slightly better than the Nokia Lumia 620) and the web browser was a little slow, particularly when browsing over 3G.

Verdict

The Lumia 520 looks good, it's got a decent screen both in terms of size and resolution, it rarely stutters or slows down, it's great for calls and messaging, reasonable for media and okay for photos.

To achieve a lower price point than the Lumia 620 it has had to strip away a few things – there's no NFC, compass, camera flash or front facing camera here.

But on the other hand it's also got a bigger screen, a larger battery, a sleeker, slimmer, lighter build and the same processor and RAM as the Nokia Lumia 620, so in many ways it's actually better.

There's also an extra level of functionality that has arrived with Nokia's Lumia Black update. While it's true that there's nothing revolutionary included in the update, some of the features – like adding tiles together in a folder – are very useful.

Combine that with a lower price tag and we reckon that this just might be the best entry level Windows Phone 8 handset that you can buy and certainly the best value.

First reviewed: April 2013

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