Nokia Lumia 520 – Design
Like the Lumia 620 before it, the Nokia Lumia 520 has a charming, palm-friendly design. Unlike Nokia’s higher-end Lumia phones, it’s not a unibody handset – using a removable battery cover – but the rear is single piece of carefully-curved plastic that feels great in the hand.
It’s slightly larger than the Lumia 620 thanks to its 4-inch screen, but next to most phones we test, it’s immensely pocketable. All it really lacks is some of the high-end feel of Nokia’s top polycarbonate models.
Nokia Lumia 520 – Screen
Nokia has stamped its ClearBlack branding on all sorts of mobile screens, but it would be a stretch to apply it to the Nokia Lumia 520. The phone uses a 480 x 800 pixel LCD display, lacking the clarity and contrast of its bigger Lumia brothers.
It’s not a terrible screen, but this is one area that has clearly taken some of the brunt of the aggressive price-cutting required to sell a phone this cheap. The Nokia Lumia 520 doesn’t appear to use a particularly good oleophobic coating either. Fingerprints ahoy.
Nokia Lumia 520 – Software and Performance
Running Windows Phone 8, the Nokia Lumia 520’s OS is much like any other new Windows Phone. You have your Live Tiles, and you have your apps menu. Microsoft more-or-less dictates what any Windows Phone 8 device feels like. In a phone this affordable, this is a good thing. It feels slicker than just about any Android at the price.
With a dual-core 1GHz processor, it has a decent amount of power too. It has less RAM than some, with just 512MB, but this only markedly affects app loading and performance. Flicking around the UI is still quick.
On top of Windows Phone 8’s standard social network integration, you’ll be pleased to hear the Lumia 520 comes with the HERE suite – Nokia’s new name for its maps and GPS navigation apps. These let you download maps for offline use, and ditch your dedicated SatNav.
Nokia Lumia 520 – Camera
The Nokia Lumia 520 has a 5-megapixel camera. As a super-cheap phone, it’s good to see it use autofocus, rather than a dismal fixed focus system. However, there’s no flash on the rear so it’s only suitable for the least demanding situations. There’s also no user-facing camera, which the Nokia Lumia 620 does have. Don’t expect much from the Nokia Lumia 520’s photo skills.
Nokia Lumia 520 Impressions
Although the Nokia Lumia 520 misses out on a few bells and whistles, such as the secondary camera and NFC, getting a great-performing phone for under £150 alone sounds like a fair deal to us. Nokia says the phone will go on sale in the UK in Q2 2013, and will sell for around 139 Euro in Europe. Expect the same figure in pounds to apply here. Its only real problem is that by then, the Nokia Lumia 620 will probably be widely available at a similar price. And it is an unmistakeably superior phone.