Windows Phone has never looked so good. Microsoft's new mobile operating system update, known as Update 3 , has added support for 1080p displays, large screens, and the latest processors.
And now these updates are visible on the example of the device. The first device with all conceivable bells and whistles is Nokia Lumia 1520 . The six-inch flagship has collected all the functions that we have been waiting for all these three years.
Since advanced Windows phones were limited to features that Windows supports, Nokia's flagship smartphones were very different from the cheaper Lumia . So it was until this moment, Lumia 1520 is the first top-end Windows Phone, which has incorporated all the best that is available at the moment. So, how does WP8 behave on this powerful hardware?
The design of Nokia Lumia has not changed much since the release of the first model - the Lumia 800, which was released two years ago. 1520 is assembled on the same principle as the rest of the flagships from the Lumia line (except for 925), the phone is assembled from a single piece of polycarbonate plastic and looks great. Like its predecessors, the 1520 is durable, and this is a very important factor.
Why? Because it is a six-inch beast, and if you are not careful, there is a chance to drop it. With dimensions of 162.8 x 85.4 x 8.7mm, it is thinner than the HTC One Max , which makes the Lumia 1520 more comfortable to hold.
However, it is still wider and taller than the Galaxy Note 3 , not to mention the weight of 206g.
Thanks to the rounded sides, you can easily grab the smartphone with your fingers without fear of dropping it, but there is a small problem. While Lumia 1020 has rounded corners, 1520 have sharper corners, so it’s difficult to place your fingertips on them conveniently. This is especially noticeable when you try to take a stable shot, but cannot find a place to grab onto.
This is a white review for AT&T, but this phone is also available in black, yellow or red. With the exception of glossy red, all models are matte and structure similar to white Nexus 5. The plastic is very smooth and is not covered with any material or texture. There is nothing new for Lumia, but the plastic seems more slippery due to the lack of comfortable edges.
At the back you can see a 20 megapixel camera that looks exactly the same as on the Lumia 925 . There is also a dual LED module for flash and several microphones. The speaker grill is located below, and next to it are three holes that are useful for the optional wireless charger.
Before moving on, let's talk about a feature that has not received much publicity - several microphones located above the camera.
Nokia has supplied four microphones for directional stereo sound recording on the 1520. The idea is to get a better sound coming from things in front of your camera: people, animals, or the group playing right in front of you, they should all be clearly fenced off from noise coming from other directions. I will consider this feature in the allotted section.
On the left you will find a slot for microSD cards (supporting up to 64 GB), as well as a slot for nanoSIM. On the right is a standard trio of buttons consisting of volume, power and a two-stage camera shutter button, all of which are difficult to press due to the shape of the phone. Also on top there is a headphone jack and a USB port on the bottom.
Now let's look at the front part. The standard set of WP navigation keys is on the bottom and the notch for the ear and the front camera are on top. From far away, it seems that the glass is above the screen so that the phone is a single unit, but a detailed examination shows that there is a gap between the glass and the plastic.
In 1520, Gorilla Glass 2 , a version released last year, was used. However, on the same Lumia 1020 is Gorilla Glass 3 , which performs its duties to protect the screen much better. Although this is not a big problem, I noticed a few scratches at the corners of the screen, and this is only a couple of days of use.
At the time of writing, the Lumia 1520 was announced for only one US operator, but it is widely available for all operators around the globe. There are three models in total, all of them have GSM / EDGE (850/900/1800/1900) and at least four HSPA + (850/900/1900/2100). Only two of them support LTE: RM-937 (800/900/1800/2100/2600) and RM-938 (2, 4, 5, 7, 17).
The AT&T version is different in that it does not have a wireless charging module and the internal memory is limited to 16 GB.
High-resolution displays are not uncommon these days, but for Windows Phone this is uncharted territory. Previously, Nokia's flagships had ClearBlack screens with them, and the Lumia 1520 has a six-inch ClearBlack IPS LCD screen with a resolution of 1.920 x 1.080. This means that you are looking at a screen with a pixel density of 368 per inch.
I really liked the 1520. It gives rich colors and bright white tones, even whiter than the AMOLED display on the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, but blacks are not so deep.
The angles at which you can look at the screen are unbelievable, this is the best among mobile phones. In fact, even if I was not struck by the quality of the display, I was still amazed at how easy it is to read the text even in direct sunlight.
But if you have a different taste for colors? What if you prefer warmer shades, or vice versa, in awe of the cold picture and contrasting colors? For people like you, Lumia allows you to customize the color profile to your discretion by changing the saturation and temperature of the hue. This is a great feature. The touchscreen is sensitive enough for use with gloves, but this is already standard practice and you can’t say anything new about it.
With each new generation of Windows Phone, the OS is getting better and better. Developers are increasingly paying attention to WP8 and the ecosystem seems already quite developed. Companies that used to be afraid to invest in WP are now eagerly releasing OS support applications.
Pandora , Instagram , Vine , Path , Tumblr and other large networks already have applications in the Windows Phone Store or have already announced their imminent release.
In addition to supporting 1080p, large screens and Snapdragon 800 chipsets, the third Windows Phone 8 update also comes with software improvements.
The list of new products included a driving mode in which the phone will least of all distract you from the road.
The update also added the ability to block the orientation of the screen, as well as the ability to change the melody of text messages and other notifications.
What is unique about the new service pack? You can see the time even if the screen is off, a couple of new notifications, a pedometer, a calendar, as well as a red green and blue option for night mode, all the shades are, of course, muted, otherwise there would be no sense in this mode.
Added Refocus Lens , support for RAW and several new algorithms to reduce noise and improve overall picture quality.
But that's not all, now all devices from the Lumia series can use Nokia Camera , an application that combines Pro Cam and Smart Cam . Below is a more detailed description of this app.
Finally, the update brings us support for Bluetooth 4.0 LE, a feature that is becoming increasingly popular for working with fitness devices like the Nike FuelBand SE or Jawbone Up24 .
In addition, a new application called Nokia Beamer has appeared , which transfers files from your phone to a TV, computer or other smartphones.
Another new feature is the Storyteller , which was introduced for 1520 and 2520. In short, it’s a smart interface that allows you to link your photos with geotags to groups called “Stories”.
Optionally, you can separate them by location by date or event. Also, you can combine and break “stories” into separate photos.
This is an interesting feature, but it’s actually a fancy photo album that can confuse people who are used to a regular image viewer.
One big plus from using this phone is the ease of typing.
On a six-inch screen, typing is now even easier, and smart auto-correction allows you to print at a fairly high speed, unless of course you use both hands.
Using the phone, thanks to the large screen, has generally become easier, as well as large and convenient Live Tiles icons, which, almost always, are larger than Android icons, played a role here.
If you leave all the updates behind, then the 1520 feels the same way as the old WPs and the problems that plagued Windows Phone 8 will not magically disappear with the arrival of Update 3.
Nokia Lumia 1020 shook the market with its 41 megapixel camera, it introduced so many new technologies that even some digital cameras were left behind.
The camera in 1520 is worse. After all, Nokia needed to save some money to fit the other functions described above, and if the 20 megapixel camera is “worse”, then Nokia did everything as it should.
What makes the new PureView incarnation different?
As with 1020, you get a 19 megapixel photo and a 5 megapixel image more suitable for the Internet.
By the way, a large image can also be saved in RAW format, Nokia also boasts that it has improved photography algorithms.
The phone has a lens with a relative aperture of f / 2.4 and a sensor measuring 1 / 2.5 inches, which is quite a bit smaller than the 1020 sensor. Image stabilization is also present, and the maximum ISO reaches 4000.
Nokia Camera and Refocus Lens
Nokia Pro Camera is the best photo app I've ever used, but it lacked integration with another very good app, like Nokia Smart Camera .
But now Nokia has merged them together and the final product is called “Nokia Camera.” The interface remained almost the same as on 1020, but a number of icons on the top can now be replaced by a simple “auto” mode.
Nokia added a second lens to the phone and called it Refocus Lens , by and large, this is Lytro's answer. Now you can change the depth of field after you take the picture. Just press the shutter, wait a couple of seconds, and you can choose the point that you want to see in focus.
The difference is best seen when you have very close and distant objects in the frame. Refocus lens is a very interesting thing, and it is great for experimenting, but if you need to quickly remove something, then you should not use its functionality, because it even needs a separate application.
The main advantage of PureView phones is a large selection of manual settings: ISO, shutter speed, white balance and so on.
At your disposal are all the options that only come to your mind, and all of them can help to get exactly the result that you want.
Of course, you won’t get the same amount of detail as on the 38 megapixel camera, but the photos taken on the 1520 anyway surpass all other smartphones on the market. The colors are fairly accurate, but white balance often moves out in low light. Depending on the angle, photos taken against the sun look a little faded, but this is easily fixed by a couple of settings.
Performance in the dark is another point where PureView is ahead of other cameras. Of course, in the night mode, blurring is possible due to long shutter speeds, and there are plenty of noise, but this is the best we have, so the 1520 camera deserves praise and shows itself perfectly from all sides.
When recording video, you can choose between 1080p and 720p, as well they give you a choice between 24, 25 and 30 frames per second. Image stabilization reduces jerking to a minimum, and a directional microphone records a fairly clear sound.
Performance and battery
For a long time, Microsoft insisted that it did not need support for the fastest processors in order to make Windows Phone run smoothly, not to mention that fast processors had a bad effect on battery life.
From the point of view of everyday life, they are certainly right, but faster processors add features that weak chipsets simply cannot digest.
With the latest update, WP8 now supports fast chips such as the Snapdragon 800, and Nokia wasted no time setting it to 1520.
Silicon, also known as MSM8974, comes with four Krait 400 cores and runs at 2.2GHz and a quad-core Adreno 330 GPU. Nokia supplemented all this with two gigabytes of RAM and now the flagship Nokia is equipped with the latest technology.
Microsoft has done an excellent job of optimizing the OS so that it works equally well on flagship smartphones and on budget models.
New features, such as support for quad-core processors and high-resolution screens, are great news, but how will they affect battery life?
The battery on this smartphone is one of the largest in the class, so the operating time was quite long. For the first day of normal use, it was enough for 12 hours. On the second day after reducing the number of photo sessions, after 13 hours of use, 30% of the charge remained in the battery. And with the endurance test, 1520 showed a time of 3:30 minutes.
Price and competitors
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is a good alternative to the 1520, it is slightly smaller in every way, but you will have the opportunity to use its S Pen and multi-windows.
Galaxy is more convenient in terms of ergonomics. There is also a HTC One Max, with a fingerprint scanner and a screen of 5.9 inches and a bunch of pretty nice features.
If you want something more extreme, try the Sony Xperia Z Ultra or Huawei Ascend Mate , but one of them has a larger screen than the Lumia 1520.
So how did Nokia prove to be with its flagship smartphone, incorporating all the latest achievements of science and technology? Just wonderful.
The Lumia 1520 has a wonderful 1080p display, a fast Snapdragon 800 processor and one of the coolest cameras ever installed on a phone.
Of course there will be people who do not want such a large screen, fortunately for them, there is reason to believe that Nokia will soon put a 1080p display on a smaller screen.
This leads us to the conclusion that Nokia influenced Windows Phone, the infrastructure is growing, and developers can now develop for the best components on the market. Now we just have to wait and see how cool Windows Phone can be, with the right tools.
Attention! This is a translation of the review from Engadget .